A Blogger’s Guide to Copyright

Our NYC and Miami Entertainment Law Firm advises and represents clients in all legal matters related to music, sports, television/film, visual and literary works, modeling, online matters, and intellectual property.

While blogging may seem like an easy feat, there’s more to it than just writing posts and self-publishing content on the Web. To strengthen your content, you may need to use an image, video, or other piece of value-adding materials owned by another resource. You would also need to find ways to protect your content from being plagiarized or used without your permission.

From this article, you’ll learn more about how to incorporate other media into your blog in the right and legal way.  You’ll also get a few tips on how you can protect the content you create. 

What is a Copyright?

Simply put, a copyright is a legal right that’s automatically endowed to a creator. It’s put in place to protect their work or their intellectual property, and it gives them the exclusive authority to use, reproduce, or distribute it. A copyright will prevent other people from using, claiming, or making money off the creator’s work. 

Can You Use Copyrighted Material?

If you want to use other people’s work, you need to have blogging permissions from the copyright holder first. Also known as a license, blogging permissions let you use, copy, or make changes to a work that’s already been copyrighted. It may be difficult to get blogging permissions from the creators themselves, but there are alternatives that you can look into, such as a Creative Commons license.

You can use work that has a Creative Commons license without blogging permissions or fees, but your usage of the material may be limited to certain circumstances, following the parameters that the creator sets. For instance, the material owner may require you to be credited them for the work.

To know if a work is under the Creative Commons license, look for the Creative Commons symbol and its related symbol.

When Can You Use Another Creator’s Material?

You can use copyrighted material under “fair use”. This lets a blogger use a piece of creative work solely for the following, limited purposes:

  •       Criticism
  •       Commentary
  •       News reporting
  •       Teaching or research

You may also look for content that’s in the public domain. Materials under the public domain can be used freely, even without blogging permissions. These are assets that are not protected by any intellectual property law. They may have expired copyrights or have been deliberately shared by their owners for public use. To be sure that what you’re using falls under the public domain, it’s best to do your research.

Do You Need to Register Your Blog for Copyright?

When you publish content, your work is automatically protected under the Copyright Act. As a creator, you’re not required to register your blogging copyright, but registering it comes with several benefits, like being able to file for copyright infringement and other lawsuits pertaining to copyright violations.

There are two ways for creators to register for a blogging copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office. You can do it by going to the U.S. Copyright Office website and logging into the Electronic Copyright Office (eCO) Registration System. You can also go about it manually and download and fill out the necessary forms, which can be found on the U.S. Copyright Office’s website.

How to Protect Your Work Without Copyright Registration

There are ways to protect your work even if you haven’t yet registered for a blogging copyright.

·        Using a watermark

One of the simplest things you can do is to add a watermark to your images. A watermark helps identify you as the creator, and it’s a great way to dissuade anyone who’s looking to use your work.

·        Try a signing up for a Creative Commons License

If you want to share your work with other bloggers or creators and allow them to copy or distribute it, you can sign up for a Creative Commons License.

·        Create a reposting policy

Clearly state your reposting policies on your website. Even if you’ve already registered for a blogging copyright, it’s helpful to still have a reposting policy statement to inform users of your limitations on how your content is supposed to be used.

·        Make use of Google Alerts

Set up Google Alerts for your individual posts. If your text shows up somewhere on the Web, you’ll be notified via email.

A blog is a manifestation of your creativity. It’s a product of your time, passion, and hard work, and it’s an extension of yourself. Know your rights to be able to better protect your creative work.

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When you’re ready to take the next step in your career, our Miami entertainment lawyers are ready to help you. We are passionate about helping creatives with all of their legal needs, and you won’t find a team more dedicated to your success in all of Miami. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!