Blog Law: Copyright, Plagiarism & Trademark for the Savvy Blogger

BlogHer Original Post
Skills 3: The Business of You
About You
Sara Hawkins

I've been online longer than I've been a lawyer, and I've been a lawyer for 15 years. (Shhh!) I practice business law and what has come to be known as 'internet law'. Copyright and Trademark advisement and registration has been part of my practice for over a decade.  In the 4 years I took off from blogging, the world of blogging changed and technology has made it much easier to gain access to works that are protected by copyright and trademark. 

As a lawyer who protects client's copyright and trademark interests, I've been the bearer of bad news to many who my clients feel have infringed their rights. Now I'm here to help set the record straight and bring honest, helpful and actionable information to my fellow bloggers.

In an effort to maintain a high level of professionalism, attract brands, as well as protect their rights in images, words, and other works, bloggers rely on the protections granted by copyright and trademark laws. I'd like to create a roundtable discussion on what these legal terms really mean, how they impact bloggers and what the savvy blogger can do to stay clear of trouble as well as protect her (or his) rights.

This is an opportunity to talk about specifics and not throw around legal terms. Often the legal aspect of blogging is misunderstood, misinterpreted by lay people or ignored because it seems scary. I believe the law shoud be approachable and understandable. I love the law and fell that there are ways to make legal information fun and accessible.

Why you'd want to go to this session:

  • Know what on your blog is and is not protected by copyright or trademark
  • Learn how to protect your copyrighted words or images
  • Learn what may be protected by trademark on your blog
  • Get real world information about what to do if you suspect your work is stolen
  • Figure out how to throw around fancy legal words to scare people who mess with you
  • OK, maybe not the prior one, then again .... maybe.

Why you'd pass on this session:

  • You are a lawyer or married to one or have one in your family
  • Learning about the law could make you want to apply to law school
  • Listening to a lawyer for an hour might cause medical problems
  • You've heard I had people singing and dancing at Blissdom

Why all the cool kids are coming:

  • People keep stealing stuff and they're tired of it being their stuff
  • Singing, Dancing & the Law could be the next reality show

Who is this Sara person and does she really know what she's talking about? 

Sara Hawkins is a blogger, lawyer, homeschooler, and all around jane of many trades. She began blogging while in law school back when dial-up was all the rage. Sara has been a lawyer for 15 years and has worked in a large law firm, as in-house counsel, and is now a solo practitioner. Sara provides legal guidance to businesses of all sizes regarding a variety of topics including social media, digital rights, internet law, corporate formation, contracts, terms of service and ethics. Sara is passionate about the law and making it understandable, accessible and fun. Sara blogs about her life and fulfilling all her hope and dreams at Saving For Someday. She's not very good at sudoku but is awesome at haiku. Sara also has a series of posts about Digital Rights and Blog Law 101 where she discusses blogging and the law. She tweets from @Saving4Someday.

Blog Law Haiku

Savvy bloggers know
How to protect their hard work
Don't steal my stuff, man.