If you’re a boxing fan, the name Michael Buffer will definitely be familiar and why won’t it? He’s the guy who reminds you that it’s time for the main event. He’s the guy who belts out what could probably be the most popular five words in professional boxing. He’s the guy who cries:
“LET’S GET READY TO RUMBLEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!”
Once you hear these words, it’s time for the main event. Boxing aside, these five words have made Michael Buffer earn millions of dollars because he made the smart move of trademarking these words.
According to his brother and manager Bruce, Michael has been involved in maybe over a hundred legal battles over the phrase and each and every time, he always won.
Copyright infringement is one of the most common legal issues small businesses face and more often than not, it results in HUGE losses and worst, the company folding up.
It doesn’t have to go that way though so below are some of the steps you can take as a startup owner to avoid being sued for copyright infringement.
Research, Research, Research
Logos, taglines, product names. No matter how brilliant and ingenious your ideas may be, if someone has already used it ahead of you, it will all be useless. To get around this problem, do your due diligence and conduct a thorough research so as not to step on someone else’s toes and get sued in the process. If you have the means, it will be best to hire an attorney to help you.
If you came across a really good picture or music that exemplifies your brand’s message, be more cautious and ask permission from the copyright owner before using them. An additional word of caution. Crediting the owner isn’t good enough in most cases so don’t be lazy, reach out, and be responsible.
Look for Copyright Notices
When it comes to copyright issues, the basic rule of thumb is that “if you’re not sure, don’t use it”. There’s so much content both in the real world and on the internet that we can’t really know for sure if a certain material is copyright protected. If you’ve done everything you can and reached out to right people but still can’t determine if it’s copyright protected or not, just be safe than sorry and not use the said material at all.
Insurance Coverage for Advertising Injury
This can help you pay for legal expenses in the event that the inevitable happens and you get sued for trademark issues. It’s always better to be armed and ready because sometimes, no matter how careful you are, the law may have loopholes that other people are ready to exploit.
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