Wilson Murphy Law discusses the legalities of your small business including trademarks and copyright registration , as well as contracts.
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When you work with a client, the last step in most service-based business is the almighty testimonial. In this blog post, I discuss the testimonial guidelines you […] The post Testimonial Guidelines: How your testimonials are costing you appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
When you work with a client, the last step in most service-based business is the almighty testimonial. In this blog post, I discuss the testimonial guidelines you should follow. Even so, this testimonial could cause a client to sue you. A person usually writes a testimonial as a recommendation, and in turn other people want to hire you. However, there are legal steps you need to take before putting testimonials on your website or on social media.
Most people never think of these steps because no one talks about it, so you have no idea. Luckily, you have me to tell you what you need. These 2 testimonial guidelines cover you if:
1. Someone says they didn’t give you permission to use their testimonial or
2. That they didn’t get the results that were in one of your testimonials.
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If you are gathering reviews or testimonials from clients, you need one thing in your contract to cover your assets. Stay tuned to find out what it is.
Hey everyone, my name is Michelle Murphy, the owner of Wilson Murphy Law where I partner with creative entrepreneurs to protect their businesses through trademarks, contracts, copyrights and forming their business entity.
So as business owners we want social proof on our websites. But in your contract you need to include a release. In my contracts, I name them a “Release to Create Marketing Materials.” If this is not in your contract and you use your clients face, likeness, photo, or name without their permission, Florida can fine you up to $1000. This is due to the fact that we all have the right to privacy. Every states fine is different, but the majority of states have a right to publicity statute so google it to see how much your testimonial can be costing you.
And since we’re on the subject of contracts, make sure you join the waitlist for the free 7 day contract course where you will learn how to create a legally valid contract and what to put in your contract to protect yourself and find more hints that can change your contract drastically.
A disclaimer is a statement that usually denies responsibility. A testimonial disclaimer tells your visitors that he or she may not get the same results as a testimonial that is on your website. This is a way to cover your assets, so that a visitor can’t say you guaranteed the same results as the testimonial. A testimonial disclaimer that I write in the terms and conditions/disclaimers for my clients looks something like this:
The testimonials, statements, and opinions presented on ________________________ (website address) are applicable to the individuals who wrote it. Results vary and may not be representative of the experience of others. The testimonials are voluntarily provided and are not paid, nor were they provided with free _____________ (products or services (choose one or both)), or any benefits in exchange for their statements. The testimonials are representative of ____________ (customer or client (choose one)) experiences but the exact results will be unique and individual to each ____________ (customer or client (choose one)).
By using these testimonial guidelines, you are protecting yourself from others blaming you because they did not get the results as your other client.
If you are interested in a DIY contract template that is half the cost of hiring an attorney, visit the WM Law Shop.
The post Testimonial Guidelines: How your testimonials are costing you appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law, P.A..
Online courses are huge right now, but creators have to deal with their online course being stolen. It is one of the most common questions from my […] The post How to Prevent Your Online Course From Being Stolen appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
Online courses are huge right now, but creators have to deal with their online course being stolen. It is one of the most common questions from my clients. If you’re putting the course out there, there is no sure-fire way that it won’t get taken. But in this post, I am going to share with you the inside scoop to prevent it from happening and even if it does, there are consequences.
To prevent someone from trying to steal your content, which may include your course, make sure you include information on how content on your site should be used. A good example is from Buzzfeed’s Terms of Service:
“The Services may contain Content specifically provided by us, our partners or our users and such Content is protected by copyrights, trademarks, service marks, patents, trade secrets or other proprietary rights and laws. You shall abide by all copyright notices, information, and restrictions contained in any Content accessed through the Services. The trademarks, logos, trade names and service marks, whether registered or unregistered (collectively the “Trademarks”) displayed on the Site are Trademarks of BuzzFeed and its third-party partners.”
This is only part of the intellectual property section of Buzzfeed’s term of use, but you get the idea. Buzzfeed’s terms also include a use license, which gives users permission to use their content in a specific manner.
“By purchasing your template or any product from The AW Shop™, you are granted one revocable, worldwide, non-exclusive license to the product(s) You have purchased. If you violate this license by giving or selling a copy of Our template(s)/product(s) to anyone other, or if you imply that anyone who gets access to our template/product(s) has the right to use it for his/her/its commercial purposes, We reserve the right to invoice you for the licenses you have gifted to others and revoke your access to our template(s)/product(s) permanently.”
This addresses how many people can use her product, and what happens to you if you violate her license agreement.
If you are conducting webinars, make sure you pop your head in the videos. This shows that you are the person who is instructing the course. Additionally, by adding a watermark to your webinar videos, your followers can recognize your videos and alert you if someone else is selling them.
Last but not least, use the copyright symbol on all of your courses, e-books, freebies, and anything you give or sell to your clients/customers. This puts everyone on notice that you are the creator of the material. The copyright notice format is:
© 2019 John Doe All Rights Reserved
Will this stop everyone from trying to steal your course? No, because some people just don’t have a moral compass and think they can get away with any and everything. But every Regina George is hit by the bus at some point, and they will eventually see their day in court. After you read this, go to your website and content that you have created, and implement these strategies.
Trademarking the name of your course will not protect the online course content from being stolen. BUT when someone comes to you saying that your course name has been stolen, you can send a cease and desist letter. Then, the course creator will have to stop selling that course. Trademarking is insurance for your company name because consumers associate it with your brand.
Want some examples of business owners who have trademarked their course?
Want to make sure that you have the legal “stuff” in place for your online course? Fill out the form below and I’ll see how I can help.
The post How to Prevent Your Online Course From Being Stolen appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law, P.A..
I troll Facebook groups HARD. I usually find that contracts for creative businesses are a huge topic. Usually these creative business owners can’t get their clients to […] The post 3 Contracts Necessary For Creative Businesses appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
I troll Facebook groups HARD. I usually find that contracts for creative businesses are a huge topic. Usually these creative business owners can’t get their clients to pay or they don’t know how to handle a client or independent contractor they no longer want to work with. The first thought that crosses my lawyerly mind is: “Do you have a contract in place?”. The second thought is: “Does your contract address these issues?”. Most creative entrepreneurs only care about the creative part of the business, and throw the legal “junk” on the bottom of the to-do list. All businesses need signed contracts. Although, verbal agreements can be legally binding, they are extremely hard to enforce in court. Today, we’ll be discussing contracts for creative businesses that you need in writing to make sure that your business is protected.
If you are always booked and busy with clients, your client agreement needs to be airtight. Client agreements protect you and your business from clients who don’t want to pay, unruly clients, your intellectual property, and so much more. Although there are many generic contracts out there, everyone’s business isn’t the same so make sure that you are making the appropriate changes to protect yourself. And when you make changes in any client services, make sure that you update your agreement to reflect the changes.
Eventually your business is going to grow and you are going to need to outsource tasks. Once your business gets to this level, you’ll need an independent contractor agreement. Some terms that should be in your agreement?
These are just some of the terms. By the way, each state has different laws about the difference between an employee and an independent contractor. Having someone sign an independent contractor agreement doesn’t necessarily mean they are an independent contractor. But hey, that’s a different post for a different day.
If you need a contract for your creative business, check out WM Law Shop for various types of contracts.
If you want a custom contract for your business, fill out the form below to work with Wilson Murphy Law.
Raise your hand if this has happened to you. You’ve written this fabulous blog post. I mean you’ve done hours of research, took an hour or two […] The post 3 Effective Strategies to Protect Your Blog Content appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
Raise your hand if this has happened to you.
You’ve written this fabulous blog post. I mean you’ve done hours of research, took an hour or two to write it, and took a half hour to create the perfect pin for Pinterest. You hit publish and load it to your blog. Then, a week later, your subscribers and followers start emailing you that the exact same blog post you wrote is on someone else’s website. Wait, what!? You never thought this would happen to you. You know your blog is terrific, but you didn’t realize it was THAT GREAT. Well, you’re in luck because today I’m going to tell you how to prevent this from happening and you can continue blogging with a peace of mind.
Firstly, a copyright is a form of intellectual property law, that protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.
As soon as you write and publish your blog post, you have created copyright content. Next step is to register your blog post with the Copyright Office. By registering your blog post for a copyright, you are setting yourself for the ultimate content protection.
Advantages of copyrighting your blog post?
This last one is important because if you don’t register a copyright for your blog and someone steals it, you can’t even file suit until your mark is registered. Furthermore, registration can take 6 months or longer.
Even if you decide not to register for copyright protection, at least put a copyright notice on your page.
Example: © 2019 Wilson Murphy Law, P.A. All rights reserved.
By disabling the ability to copy and paste, you are making it 100x harder for someone to copy your post. If someone is willing to rewrite your whole post..well that’s a weird and miserable existence for that thief. You can disable the copy and paste by inserting CSS code, which is hard and annoying. Or you can use a plug-in on WordPress. The WordPress plug-in I found is called “WP Content Copy Protection & No Right Click.” Best of all, it’s free! I’m all about free.99.
Not all of us love writing our own blog posts. *Spoiler Alert* It pains me to write my posts, and takes all of my energy to sit down and put my thoughts on paper. If you are like me, you have likely hired an independent contractor, copywriter, or virtual assistant to take over that task. When you outsource your blog posts, the person writing it for you is the author of the blog post, unless it is an employee. However, you can protect yourself and content by having a work-for-hire agreement or clause in the service agreement. The work-for-hire agreement or term ensures that the contractor does not keep rights over the work created. Below is an example of a work-for-hire clause you can include in your agreement:
“ Any work performed by [Independent Contractor] while working with [Company Name] shall be considered a “Work Made for Hire” as defined in the U.S. Copyright laws, and shall be owned by and for the express benefit of [Company Name]. In the event it should be established that such work does not qualify as a Work Made for Hire, [Independent Contractor] agrees to and assigns to [Company Name] all of [Independent Contractor]’s right, title, and interest in such work product including, but not limited to, all copyrights and other proprietary rights.”
Now that you know how to protect your blog posts, find out how you can protect your Instagram posts.
Need to talk? Fill out this form and see if Wilson Murphy Law can help you out.
The post 3 Effective Strategies to Protect Your Blog Content appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law, P.A..
It was only a matter of time before Cardi would try to trademark her signature slogan “Okurrr”. Cardi decided to file an application to register her trademark […] The post Cardi B Filed a Trademark: Why you should be doing the same appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
It was only a matter of time before Cardi would try to trademark her signature slogan “Okurrr”. Cardi decided to file an application to register her trademark in association with paper cups, posters, and clothing, according to Page Six. We all know Cardi is about making money, as she has told fans to Google ways to become a millionaire.
Have you ever walked into a boutique or a nail spa, and you knew they meant business? Yea, I know we all know the saying, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. But there are just some things that make you look professional and like you are running s*it. That’s what the ® symbol looks like to your customers and competitors. They see it like you have taken your brand to the next level by registering it with the United States federal government. This in turn may shy away a person or company who wants to use your name or logo or any other trademark within your business to get customers.
There’s so much thievery nowadays, even by big brands who think that because they have the money they can get away with anything. *Ahem, I’m looking at you Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, the Kardashians, and a ton of the big luxury fashion brands*. But if you have a registered trademark, there’s a better chance that a person or company would not want to fight in court. And this is a great way to segway into point #2.
The only way you can sue in Federal Court is if you register your trademark. There is some common law trademark protections but honestly, it doesn’t do much if someone in Texas tries to infringe on your trademark. That’s because common law trademark only covers you in your immediate geographic location. If you file and register your trademark, the court presumes that you are the owner of the trademark from the outset. You may also be granted actual costs from having to file a lawsuit, attorney’s fees, and statutory damages up to $200,000.00.
By filing a trademark and using the ® symbol, there is a level of professionalism that people see, like I said above. People think that if you have registered your trademark, that your trademark carries value. And that you are a brand that will continually grow in size and money.
If you file a trademark registration application, you will be able to send a cease and desist letter. The letter may have more impact, because they are likely to take it more serious. And you may be able to get them to stop their behavior without resorting to filing a lawsuit because they know you are the one that owns that trademark.
Lastly, if you sell products and you registered your trademark, the products with your trademark will be stopped by US Custom and Border Protection. The products will be seized and destroyed if someone is infringing on your trademark.
These are all really good reasons to think about filing a trademark application. If you want to learn more about the trademark process at Wilson Murphy Law, you can find the information here.
Want to talk about your trademark? Fill out the information below and see if Wilson Murphy Law can help.
The post Cardi B Filed a Trademark: Why you should be doing the same appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law, P.A..
Do you have some cool branded components to your business and wonder “Can I trademark that?”. Most people are under the impression that everything can be trademarked. […] The post “What Can I Trademark?” -The Ultimate Guide (the last one is surprising!) appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law,...
The post “What Can I Trademark?” -The Ultimate Guide (the last one is surprising!) appeared first on Wilson Murphy Law, P.A..
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