You and the Law – Protecting Your Words and Ideas


Disclaimer: I do not have a law degree; I am not an expert in anything. I’m just trying not to step in it as I go.

If you weren’t scared already, this ought to do it. Having said that, grab that fear by the balls and have at ‘er. But remember, ignorance is never an excuse and could possibly get you booted out of blog land forever.

One of Girlie’s bestest proliferated clichés, “everything in moderation, including moderation.” (Oscar Wilde was the bomb. If you haven’t read him, please do! The Importance of Being Earnest is hilarious.)

And then I wrote, don’t veer too much from your original path (I kill myself – anyway) – or you will definitely lose your way. A blog just full of other people’s links and words ain’t gonna be much of a blog either …

*****

So great, I’ve started this amazing blog, I’m on fire, I’m awesome! So can just anybody yoink my words willy-nilly and use them? What’s the deal? Do I have any rights?

There’s a ton of stuff concerning copywriting, e-book writers, etc. (When I get that wicked book contract or screenplay deal I will totally look into this but for now we want to concentrate on the blog aspect. Okay focus!)

(Slightly off-topic but noteworthy (well that focussing thing really worked out well for me) … self-plagiarism who knew?)

Okay, I’m back – aha! What this guy said! (Claps hands, I just love adding links and apparently that’s key in this battle 🙂 *Curtseys to blogbloke*.)

“It’s the “idea” or “concept” that matters, not just the words. That’s why they call it “intellectual property”.”

(I will write in-depth on intellectual property later, she’s a hairy-backed beast with many teeth and hidden claws I tell ya.) Passing-off is a huge issue in IP (Intellectual Property) arena and makes a lot of lawyers where I work a lot of money arguing the finer points of this aspect of IP.

Quite simply, we all know that knock-offs are illegal. If I buy a pair of knock-off Nike’s I’m aware I’m doing something illegal. Well it’s the same kind of thing with your writing. If you are not sitting at the keyboard tapping away but cutting and pasting from other people’s writing without giving them credit, you’re plagiarizing. Same deal as when you were in school, if you didn’t cite your work properly you failed. In college and university you can get booted on the spot for this type of activity. Just because you’re sitting at a keyboard feeling anonymous makes it no less heinous and don’t think for a second that the long arm of the law isn’t far-reaching when it comes to this type of thing. Don’t forget, you buy those shoes, you don’t get caught, you’re good. You write something, it’s on your blog; presumably you’re trying to attract an audience so it’s for all to see. So are you writing in good conscience? If an IP lawyer skimmed through your blog would there be any red flags?

Not everyone can blog, if you’re having a hard time coming up with an original idea, perhaps it’s time to consider another aspect of the world-wide web for your endeavours but don’t break the law and knowingly plagiarise, it’ll just come back and bite you in the ass I can assure you.

And hey, don’t forget, it’s the “world-wide” web. Don’t think because you’re sitting at your computer in Bulgaria it’s different there … (a topic to expound upon another time).

Want more information, I found plagiarism today awesome and very informative.

Please note, this site is also NOT written by a lawyer (obviously, I did not fall off my chair from boredom while reading through it).

And as to the “there is no such thing as an original idea” adage, yeah you people keep thinking that and I’ll keep writing!

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