You have a logo you like and you don’t want a random dude (or non-dude) to steal it. Learn the process of copyrighting your logo.Sign Up to Watch
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-What's going on, guys. My name is Daniel McKenna. I am the executive producer here at Thrive15, the online resource for time management, marketing and pr training. Today we have Clay Clark speaking with the Wes Carter, and we're talking about getting up, getting started with your company, and do you need to copyright your logo? If you're just starting out, there are some legal actions you definitely need to take, and there's legal actions you maybe don't need to take quite so far yet. And we're going to find out, is copyrighting your logo one of those legal actions? I don't know. Wes Carter knows though. You should watch this episode.
This episode could be a huge time saver for you. If you're just starting out, maybe there's some things you don't need to be doing legally when you should be focusing on selling your stuff. Like other legal episodes, this could save you a lot of money. When it comes to legal action when you're just starting out, you want to save time, you want to save money, and today's episode could possibly do both of those things for you.
Here at Thrive15 we totally believe that knowledge without application is meaningless. Unless you take the time to actually learn something from what you're watching today, this lesson is going to be more meaningless than love notes via fax. Everyone knows unless it's in a message in a bottle or carried by a pigeon, does not count.
-Wes Carter, how are you my friend?
-I'm well. How are you doing?
-I am doing well. And before we get into this topic about how to copyright a logo, the Thrivers at large want to know-- and just be honest with us here. Just be-- I mean, as an attorney, I realize you are professional always honest, but on a personal level, I'm just asking here. Are you related to the former major league baseball player, Joe Carter?
-I don't believe so.
-OK. Now, Wes, we're here today to talk about all the legal actions that go into, really, copyrighting your logo. But before we can really get into the idea of copyrighting a logo, I think I want to bring some clarity as to what the word of actually copyrighting means. So here's the definition of the word copyright. The exclusive legal right to reproduce, publish, sell, or distribute the matter and form of something as a literary, musical or artistic work. Wes, in common language for the folks that who are watching like me, what is a copyright?
-A copyright is an exclusive right you have to use and sell something you design.
-So, why would anyone want to copyright their logo? Why not just have a logo, we just run with it?
-Well you want to copyright the logo to protect other people-- and it's probably a trademark issue as well, to be honest.
-Because what happens is you copyright it. Let's say we're going to start selling framed pictures of our logo. Or we're going to stick our logo on bumper stickers and all that. You might copyright it for the actual artistic design of the logo. If your logo is an H or a letter with a circle around it, copyright doesn't become as important because there's not as much artistic impression.
-About four years back I copyrighted the letter H. I just went around town angry with people who were using it.
-That can happen.
-OK. So what are the risks that I'm facing, though honestly, if I decide not to copyright my logo or trademark these things? What's the risk I face?
-Well, I think throwing trademark in there real quick. You know, you trademark it to protect your branding.
-So if you do not trademark it, what happens is another company knocks your logo off, or changes something very small, starts selling the same kind of product you're selling.
-Yes. And now you have consumers confused about, well I really loved Clays products. Now I'm getting this crud from this other guy that looks a whole lot like Clay. And if you don't trademark it, that fight becomes much more difficult.
-I guess a famous example that we can all know of-- in our local communities there's a lot of companies called Rooter. Like a Roto-Rooter, something Rooter. They're all plumbing companies usually.
-And it's funny how they're marketing is very similar and they're kind of-- and I know a lot of people think they're hiring one company and then they get the other Rooter or vice versa. You know that had to have some litigation going on there.
-It does, and that's whats happened. Once you trademark it, you kind of save your place in line, and say, hey, I was here at least this early. Without trademarking it, you get into a whole bunch of fighting about who was using it first, where were you using it? What states? I was in this state. You were that state. And a federal trademark, not a state one but a federal one helps eliminate a lot of those issues. Same with a copyright. You know, filing the copyright-- a lot of times the argument comes down to, I created it first versus you created it first. And by filing a copyright you put the public on notice that I had it here on this date, no questions asked.
-That's what you're doing, is you're place-holding it. You're saying, I had it here first.
-Now, what we're going to do now, and I know that law is not a game. But you always make law, honestly-- that's why I like you as an attorney is you always make things kind of fun, or at least when you're dealing with something you don't want to deal with, you at least make it where you kind of take the edge off.
-And I think you're like a therapist slash attorney. I mean, honestly, it's like when I call you about a tough situation, I love that you can approach it with candor and honesty and you're telling the truth, but you're also making or lightening the mood a little bit. So we're going to go ahead and play a little game here of fact versus fiction.
-On the aspects of copyright law. And I'm excited. The folks at home are excited. The audience-- the crowd noise in here right now is amazing. There's at least, like 13 people who have gathered here to cheer for this magic moment. We have two young children who have also come here to cheer for this. So here we go. Fact versus fiction, statement number one. You tell me, fact versus fiction. And here we go. Copyright protection is present at the creation. Fact or fiction, why?
-Fact. Once you create it, you automatically have some of what they call common law copyright protection just by creating it.
-The problem is you have to prove you created it later on down the road. So not nearly as strong as actually filing for a copyright.
-I don't know what state you're in, if gambling is legal in your state you're right now, but you count that up as one point for you. I did not guess that one right. I'm going to guess this next one, and I'm not going to tell you what I'm guessing because I don't want to tip my hand here. If you're watching this and you want to bet online, make sure you're in a state that's legally allowed.
-But we're going on to the next one here. So here we go. Fact versus fiction statement number two-- to protect the copyright the owner should register. Now before you tell us, fact versus fiction, to protect a copyright the owner should register. Fact or fiction and why?
-Oh, I'm wrong. OK.
-You should always file with the copyright office if it's important enough to copyright it. Don't stamp an envelope and mail it to yourself or some of the other things I've seen done out there. It's a $35 filing fee online, folks. So spend the $35 or have an attorney help you do it just for a couple hundred bucks and well worth the
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-Here we go. Fact versus fiction. Statement number 3 from our home office off the coast of Oklahoma. Protection is for more than a lifetime. Fact or fiction? And why?
-Usually copyrights are for a term of a certain amount of years after the author passes on.
-All right. Question number 4. The kids at home, the folks at home, the Thrive nation, wants to know this one. Fact versus fiction. Statement number 4.
All facts and ideas are in the public domain. Fact or fiction? And why?
-Fact. You cannot stop someone else from using a fact or protect an idea through copyright. So you can protect the expression of an idea, but never facts, never the idea itself.
-One thing I want to encourage all the Thrivers-- and I know we have legal disclaimers up there-- but if you are kind of watching this, and you're getting like befuddled of all the different rules, that's why you need an attorney. You need an attorney.
Just a secret tip. You want to hire an attorney. It's very important that you do that, because I'm telling you, these are the kinds of things that you can call an attorney, say, hey, could you help me on this trademarking issue? And bam! He'll knock it out.
-I agree. There's lots of rules, but there's even more exceptions to the rules. So don't think you can go it alone.
-OK. All right. Here we go. Fact versus fiction statement number 5. Email is copyrighted as soon as it is sent or saved. Fact or fiction? And why?
-Well, an email-- I mean, if you emailed a book to someone, you're just typing up the book as you go, and send it. I mean, when it's created, it's protected.
But sending something in an email, most emails aren't even of the type of content that you would be able to copyright.
-I'm losing all these here. All right. Final question. This is our lightning round. This is the one where we go a little bit faster than we've ever gone before. Who wants to go faster? Everybody does.
So here we go. Fact or fiction statement number 6. Here we go.
I can copyright my face. Fact or fiction? And why?
-Fact. You can copyright your face if you have an artistic expression of it.
-Like this? I get like that?
-You could do that. I could take a picture of your face, copyright the picture.
-Bam! Can someone else copyright your face? Like, can somebody have the copyright to your face, so that I have the copyright-- I, Clay Clark, have the copyright to Wes Carter's face? And then you can't even use your face.
-It's possible. I just might not be able to sell it without your permission.
-Really? So you couldn't even sell your own face.
-I could sell my own face, but not sell your face.
-Wait a minute. So if I took a picture of your face--
-You would own the copyright to the picture.
-And I could sell the heck out of the picture of your face?
-Well, you'd probably need my permission to actually profit from it.
-Oh. OK. OK. But if I had permission, I could sell your face?
-You could make a ton.
-Well, I would. If every time I looked at you, and thought about how often I could take a picture of your face and copyright it and sell it, I'd get a dollar, I'd have a lot of dollars.
-You'd make hundreds of dollars a year.
-So Wes, how much is it going to set me back right now if I want to copyright, get the trademark on my logo?
-Copyright-- few hundred dollars. Trademark-- maybe $1,000, $1,500.
-What's the difference between trademark and copyright again, for the folks at home?
-Sure. Copyright, artistic expression. Think of it that way. It's your expression of an idea.
Trademark is branding. I mean, you can't use this name or this face to sell products similar to what I sell.
-Wes, I appreciate you coming on, talking about the fact and fiction of the legal copyrighting issues that we all have, and the entrepreneurs are wondering about. And as always, I look forward to suing you.
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