My online business mentor, Amy Porterfield, just released a podcast episode this week with US Attorney, Ashley Kirkwood, talking about protecting your online content. I highly recommend that you listen to that episode here.
As a reminder, copyright laws protect your content. Trademark laws protect your brand.
One of the recommendations, which I completely agree with, is to do a trademark search BEFORE you launch a new online course or digital product to make sure you are not infringing on anyone's trademarks.
I have already gotten questions from two business owners who listened to this episode about how to do a Trademark Search for Canada.
To do a trademark search, you will find the Canadian Trademarks Database on the Government of Canada website. The link is here.
If you click on "Additional Search Options" you can narrow your search in "Category" to Trademarks and under "Type" to Work Marks. This will help to give you more relevant search results.
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a "template" as:
- a gauge, pattern, or mold used as a guide to the form of a piece being made
- something that establishes or serves as a pattern
One of the ways that I strive to help Canadians doing business online is through the creation of made-in-Canada legal templates.
A good template serves as a guide - not just an example of a type of document. The difference is you will know what parts may need to be customized and what parts are a key part of the structure.
And all legal templates should be specific to your home country - using UK or US legal documents for Canadian businesses means the template will not be the best fit.
You also need to understand when to use which template. A good template will give you some context for its use and let you know when it may not be appropriate to use.
Many businesses in Canada are becoming more aware that they have privacy obligations, but are still confused about which laws apply to them.
This post will break down the various pieces of privacy legislation and when they may apply to your business.
PIPEDA (The Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act) - this is Canadian federal legislation. It applies to businesses who collect "personal information" in the course of their commercial activities. "Personal information" includes any information that is linked to an identifiable individual. This applies to all businesses in most of Canada (see below).
Province Specific Privacy Laws - Some provinces in Canada have made their own privacy laws that apply either in place of PIPEDA (Quebec, Alberta, BC) or in addition to PIPEDA (i.e. for health-related information - Ontario, NB, NL and NS). To read further on these provincial laws - click here. For some organizations, the...
Here are five things that you need to know about the legal stuff when you are using social media for your business:
1. You are a Tenant (not an Owner) when you use social media platforms. If you don't follow the rules, the Landlord might kick you out.
2. Make sure you have the right to share the content you are sharing. Don't take other's content without their permission or a license and get a release if you are creating content using other people's likeness.
3. Have a social media policy for your business. This will get everyone on the same page and protect against risks of privacy breaches, defamation or damage to your brand.
4. Copyright laws protect the original content that you create and publish. You can enforce your rights to it.
5. Know the CASL (anti-spam) rules for Canada. These rules cover all commercial electronic messages (i.e. DMs, texts) not just email. Know how you can add people to your email list within the rules.
I have been talking a lot recently about the importance of protecting your business online. An important piece of this is to understand how to use copyright and trademark laws to your benefit.
It is easy to get confused about the differences between copyright protection and trademarks.
The best way that I can boil it down is that Copyright protects your content. Trademarks protect your brand.
Copyright laws (in Canada and internationally through treaties) protect the original content that you create and publish. Online courses, blog posts, photos, podcasts, ebooks, songs can all be copyrighted works.
Copyright protection is automatic upon publication of an original work. Registration is possible (and easy!) but not required.
Using the © symbol along with a copyright notice is a good preventative measure. i.e. © Legal Essentials Inc. 2020. All Rights Reserved.
Trademarks protect elements of your brand which can include business names, product names, slogans,...
When you are asking people to contribute to the creation of content of your business, you should get them to sign a release form .
This will give your business the right to use the content, including in its original form and repurposing the content.
You may be taking pictures or videos at events, recording a podcast or using client testimonials in your promotions.
Using content created by other people for commercial purposes without their written permission could involve risks for your business including damage to your reputation.
In this video, I am talking about how I use Affiliates to promote my digital programs.
As with any legal relationships, it is good to get all of the expectations in writing so that you are both on the same page.
This video gives you an overview of how your content is protected by copyright law and where to put your copyright notices.
For more information about copyright (as well as trademarks and trade secrets), you can check out this free download - Download Here.
And a reminder that this content is protected by copyright law :)
(c) Legal Essentials Inc. 2020. All Rights Reserved
This video addresses three different ways that you can get a contract signed digitally.
These include the following:
(1) Sign on paper and scan (or take a picture)
(2) Use an e-signature program
(3) Use a checkbox to get someone to agree to terms
It is important for your business to create processes that work for you and your clients.