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How to Protect a new Blog Show Idea

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Beau BrothertonHow to Protect a new Blog Show Idea
by on Mar 7, 2009 at 6:20:08 pm

Hello to all,

My wife and I run an Wedding Videography company that is now finally becoming successful and we have an idea that will throw us into a level that is non existent in our area.

We have a new idea for an online video show that will air on our blog. My question is what should I do to protect ourselves? This is in regards to:

-Name of Show (and blog)

-Release forms for who and what we are shooting

-Can you protect an idea? This is an idea that is very easy and simple, but no event company in our area is doing. Is there a way to protect us from them from doing the same thing?

Thanks in advance for any advise, the COW ROCKS!!!

All the Best,

Beau Brotherton
Macbook Pro 2.4GHz, Intel Core 2Duo, 4GB

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Rich RubaschRe: How to Protect a new Blog Show Idea
by on Mar 8, 2009 at 4:06:40 pm

I would suggest that you roll it out and get out in front. for every idea there are copycats. Can you say import cars?

But if you can get a small storehouse of video in the can and ready to roll, initiate the show online, get it out everywhere on the web, do local press releases, contact the people you want to attract to the site, get all your family and friends to log on and keep the traffic moving and get that head start.

After that keep delivering on your idea, keep impressing the audience and hope that the idea you had is as appealing to your audience as you think it is.

But honestly, if someone takes the idea and makes it better in some way, there isn't much you can do about it. Just do the best you can and go forward confidently.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media

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Beau BrothertonRe: How to Protect a new Blog Show Idea
by on Mar 8, 2009 at 4:23:02 pm

Thanks Rich,

So by that are you meaning that I shouldn't even bother about copy righting or protecting myself? Not even the name?

If so, cool I guess, less work. But just wanted to clarify. Thanks. :)

Beau Brotherton
Macbook Pro 2.4GHz, Intel Core 2Duo, 4GB

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Richard HerdRe: How to Protect a new Blog Show Idea
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 1:59:56 am

I'm not a lawyer, but I paid one.

Copyright is not a verb. It is a noun. It is something you hold, not something you do. In other words, you can register your copyright at

(Some sobering news: You cannot hold a copyright for an idea. Ideas must take a fixed form, like writing it down. But even that is no guarantee that someone won't take the essential quality and reproduce it. The underlying legal dilemma is "substantive equivalence." And then the petitioner of a copyright violation bears the burden of proof. So much detail is involved that it's really quite difficult to win, and even more difficult to assess damages.)

Some folks let this stop them from making a project, other folks don't.

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Richard HerdRe: How to Protect a new Blog Show Idea
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 2:02:50 am

Forgot to mention: Non-disclosure agreements.

While I have signed them in the past, I personally think they're silly because guys like me can use all the free publicity and advertising possible.

However, they are an option.

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Rob JacksonRe: How to Protect a new Blog Show Idea
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 12:05:36 pm

I'm not a lawyer, nor do I play one on tv, and I have never stayed at a Holiday Inn Express. However, I have spoken with my attorney about these things and here's a quick run down of the conversation we had.

You can register the name, as long as no one else is using it. The idea can't be registered as a copyright because it's just an idea. There needs to be a tangible "product", so to speak. Is anyone else in the country doing this sort of thing? Your copyright can't just be local.

As for getting a copyright or trademark on your name: Do your research. If someone else is using that name for a similar product, anywhere, and decides to move to your town and their company has been around longer, YOU have to change your name. For example, in my town there's a small mom and pop hotel called the Holliday Inn (Holliday is spelled correctly). The national Holiday Inn came to town and told them to change their name claiming they had been in business longer and hence held the rights to that name. Turns out the local Inn has been in existence longer than the entire national chain so the national chain had to name it's local hotel something different.

ALWAYS get release forms from people you film. If they're recognizable on camera and you don't get their permission, you can face legal problems. Certain journalistic rules apply here and I don't know how your specific product is formatted.

Get a lawyer, every business should have one. You don't have to pay for them to be on retainer, but they can guide you through the copyright processes, be specific about what you can and cannot register, and if it's potentially a big money maker, the investment in legal services before you do anything is well worth it.

Cynical note: As far as stopping other people from doing what you're going to do, protecting your idea so to speak...were you the first wedding videographer in your area? That was originally someone's idea "Hey, this town doesn't have anybody filming weddings, I'm going to do it and hope no one else does!" If you do it better than anyone else, the who cares if they do it too?

Good luck!

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Mark SuszkoRe: How to Protect a new Blog Show Idea
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 4:57:42 pm

We have a similar story in Illinois that is actually case law taught in law schools nationwide. A family in a small Illinois town (Mattoon, I think it is) created a restaurant they called Burger King, way before the national chain existed. They did trademark the name first, and had history of using the name first. Then the chain wanted to set up in and around that town, and got in a conflict with the mom and pop place. The chain sent their big time corporate lawyers to try and muscle them out. Went all the way up to the suptreme court I believe. The corporation lost. I think to this day, they have to stay out of Mattoon as long as that family still runs their Burger King.

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Mike CohenRe: How to Protect a new Blog Show Idea
by on Mar 9, 2009 at 9:17:10 pm

sounds like the plot of "Coming to America!"

These days, the first thing to do when coming up with a business name is check that the domain name you want is available. Then buy every incarnation.

The others are correct - get your show out there and make it awesome. Protect yourself as you go, rather than worrying about it to the point of self-defeat.

And certainly post a link here for us all to see!

Good luck.

Mike Cohen

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