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Great New Habit: Policing Your Creative Content

Here’s a fun idea: make like a bodyguard (cough, product name drop, cough) and keep an eye out for infringement on your creative content.

No, this doesn’t mean you have to get out your aviators and be on patrol (I mean you can if you want), it just means that you’re actively making sure people don’t steal your content.

Lucky for us it’s the Millennium and there are tools to help protect your brand and keep the bad guys away. Copyscape is a service that searches the web, looking for pages that have copied your content. You can use it randomly, or have it monitor the web regularly, like daily or weekly. If someone out there is stealing your words, you will know who, when, and where.

Similarly, there are lots of trademark monitoring tools available online. These services will let you know if anyone is using your brand name or product name, and they can do simple searches that check the Federal trademark register frequently, or more extensive searches that check domain names, state business filings, and websites. If someone tries to register a domain name that conflicts with your mark, or applies for a trademark similar to yours, it’ll let you know so you can handle it.

The reason all of this is important is because your IP is worth money, so you should protect it. If you let nasty infringers use it, that money is going to them instead of you. And if everyone can freely take your content, that reduces your IP’s value in the market.

Furthermore, if you fail to protect your trademark, you can lose your exclusive right to it. In other words, if you let other people use it, you lose it. You don’t have to be a jerk about it either. Most of the time, if you politely let someone know they’re using your IP without your permission, and you want them to stop, they will. Occasionally, however, you have to take the next step. For today, though, focus on setting up some technology or schedule for keeping an eye out for infringers. It’s easy and important!

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