Intellectual Property @ BlogHer ’10


Beth and I, along with our pal Crissy Herron from Indie Biz Chicks, had the chance to attend BlogHer ’10 this year. You might remember I’ve mentioned it on our blog here before, but if you’re unfamiliar with BlogHer, it’s an annual conference to discuss all things bloggy, social media, and well, ladies! We spent the weekend in New York City learning about photo editing tips, designing your blog, how to promote your hard work and, my favorite, intellectual property online.

As crafters, makers, artists, DIY-ers, we work hard at what we do and take incredible pride in our work. Posting our work to the Internet is what we do – it’s how we share it with friends, fellow crafters, tell stories, and sell our goods. But we need to be careful about our work and what do if we find that our rights have been violated.

Here are a few interesting topics that were brought up from the audience about what can happen to your content online and how you interact with the Internet.

“Hat Tip vs. Via”
Many sites will post a link or reblog a story from another blog. Not bad, right? That’s how you share a favorite story or project. “Hat tip” is a way to thank a reader or blogger for some info they sent your way. “Via” is a repost from another source. If you find something you’d like to share on your blog, it’s always courteous to ask the blogger if it’s ok. It’s also a great way to make a new connection. Or, get to know the community you’d like to post from – make sure what you’re about to do is appropriate.

Tweet Archive
Yes, the Library of Congress is archiving our tweets (I’m still asking, “Why?”). Remember that what you put onto to that site is now being archived. It’s public record and up for grabs. It’s time to be careful…

Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Take some time to learn about this. You can read about the Act here.

What Happens as a Blog Contributor?
Say you’ve been asked to contribute a post (or several!) for another site. Woohoo. Make sure you know what you’re in for. If you’re going to be paid or sign up for a significant number of posts, make sure that’s clear between you and the site. Even better, a contract isn’t a bad idea. Every situation is a little different and the site will most likely have policies on who owns the content once it goes up on their site.

Get to Know Where You Are Online
The Internet is huge. Massive. Gigantic. However, setting up Google alerts is a small, quick way to let you know what’s being said about you. Regularly do Google searches and search for file names, blog post titles, etc. You never know where your content might show up without your permission.

Is a Recipe Copyright Protected?
Sadly, no. But if you put in some fun descriptions or addition wording, that can be protected.

Overall, it’s important to be tough when it come to online activity. A good way to get started is to familiarize yourself with Creative Commons if you haven’t already.