Month: March 2013

Don’t Be A Fool-Protect Your IP April 1st!

Tomorrow, it’s both April Fools Day and “Don’t Be a Fool!” Day. While everyone else is horsing around playing pranks on each other, we are going to tend to business. Are you ready?
Don't Be A Fool Day-Sweet Eventide Creative IP Day of Action
Right click to save your Don’t Be A Fool badge designed by Abigail Page

Step 1: Register at least one copyright with the U.S. Copyright Office.

If you did not have time to prep for a batch registration, hopefully you know what your best-selling or most popular work is without even thinking. If you have not previously registered that work, this is the one to tackle today. Put on some music, open up a Firefox tab (the recommended browser for this task) and launch the tutorial.

It will cost $35 for one registration and it should take 1-2 hours, max. Let’s do this!

If you do nothing else today, you are already ahead of 99% of professional photographers in the U.S., according to the American Society of Media Photographers. (pg. 3,

Step 2: Prepare a template for a cease and desist letter.

First, review Lela’s post about how and when to use a cease and desist letter. 

Remember, there is no one size fits all template. Here is one from Tech Republic that you can start with but the point of a template is to customize it as much as you can.

The point of this action item today is to have a document ready to go with your business information edited while leaving room for the specific infringement details if and when you need to use the letter. Draft it on your letterhead, and if you don’t have letterhead yet, make it today. (I just rebranded so I will be doing this step today myself).

3. Create or update the copyright policies on your website.

Place your policies as a notice in a visible place on your website. Most people put it in their sidebar. Beware of the risks of relying only on Creative Commons licenses. 

Here are three levels of achievement for this step.

Good: If you don’t have a copyright notice on your website and/or shop, today is the day. If nothing else, start with an All Rights Reserved notice with the current year.

Better: Add on what permissions/restrictions you give people regarding blogging and pinning your work. State how you want to be credited if that is a requirement for your work.

Best: Kim Niles has one of the most comprehensive legal sections I have ever seen on an artist’s website because it clarifies the difference between purchasing her work and purchasing the rights to USE her work anywhere.

Whether you do one, two or three steps today, tomorrow, this week (or when you can carve out the time), you can sleep better knowing you have incorporated sound business practices to protect the beautiful things you work so hard to create all year.

Did the work? Then grab the badge because you are not a fool!

Don't Be A Fool Day-Sweet Eventide Creative IP Day of Action
Right click to save your I’m Not A Fool badge designed by Abigail Page
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Editor’s note: Inspired by the response to her recent OMHG post Jessica created this campaign to help us all protect our IP-thank you for watching our backs! If you have information on how creatives who live outside the US can take part & the steps required to register a copyright in your country please share with us in the comments below!

Deanne Fitzpatrick: 22 Years of Authenticity & Creating Beauty Everyday

Deanne Fitzpatrick, Create Beauty Everyday

Editor’s note: This is a sponsored post from OMHG advertiser Deanne Fitzpatrick of I just wanted to preface this post with a big applause for Deanne’s honesty and heartfelt integrity. Instead of sharing an advertorial for her sponsored post she gifted us with her wise words on staying true to your art for our ethics theme-this is the most authentic kind of advertising there is. Thank you for honouring us with your story Deanne! 

When I thought about the theme of this month here on Oh My! it really got me thinking about authenticity. I think our authenticity is what we as craftspeople really have going for us in a world that is filled with fast and flash. Each of us knows the value of stillness in creativity and that often shines through in our work. When people come to my studio they are inspired by the joy of colour and wool. We have created a warm beautiful environment and we fill it with the handmade and unique. I cannot count the number of times people have said, “it is so real.” Over the years this response has made me realize real is a hot commodity because of the laws of supply and demand. People want it but it is hard to find.

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Taming The Infringement Beast (without straightjackets or spendy lawyers)

Copyright & Infringement, Lela Barker Let's Get Ethical graphic by Lauren Hardage

Let’s Get Ethical image designed by Lauren Hardage for OMHG

Ever felt as though you wouldn’t actually need your business if you only had a dollar for every time someone swiped a product picture or borrowed your web copy? You’re not alone. If you’ve been in business for more than a hot minute, you’ve probably come face-to-face with the Infringement Beast. He’s a nasty creature: disheveled and slovenly, inconsiderate and demotivating on an epic scale. And yet he lurks in the shadows of creativity, almost impossible to vanquish, rearing his ugly head at the most inopportune occasions.

At the helm of my beauty company over the course of a decade, I’ve stared down more cases of picture pilfering, copyright swiping and trade dress lifting than I ever care to recount. The refrain I often hear from others is: “Well, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” Please allow me a brief moment on the soapbox. *ahem*

That’s utter bull^*!@. The sincerest form of flattery is telling me that you think my work is awesome. It’s purchasing something I’ve poured by blood, sweat and tears into to help me feed my kids and get them to college. It’s thinking enough of my work to share it with your friends and family while telling them where it actually originates. That’s flattery. Imitation is just another energy-sucking nuisance that creative entrepreneurs have to wade through. Can I get an “amen?”

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