Copyrighted Stamp*Join Nellie Akalp at NMX Monday, April 13th speaking on IP Protection for content creators! This post is a preview of her session!*

You’ve worked hard to write a fantabulous blog post or create an animation. Then you see someone else trying to pass it off as their own elsewhere on the web! There’s nothing more frustrating. You can send a cease and desist letter to ask them to take down the plagiarized content, but that’s a big ole pain in the you-know-what.

Instead, take precautionary measures to prevent that situation in the first place. Did you realize there are measures you can take to secure your content, be it typed, drawn, or recorded? Here we’ll look at three types of Intellectual Property protection.

Copyright for Your Writing

You can copyright anything you create, whether that’s a blog post, photo, podcast, or web copy. Doing so ensures that no one else tries to use your creation; if they do, there are serious legal penalties. Simply by creating your content, you have the right to claim copyright over it. But going one step further can provide an additional layer of protection.

While you don’t have to formally register your copyrighted content, it’s still a good idea to do so, because it makes proving your ownership of the content easier. It also provides public record of your ownership.

Patent for Your Invention

If you’re the kind of genius that’s always coming up with new inventions, consider patenting those ideas, even if you haven’t actually built products from them yet. If you’ve got a super-special technique you use for animating your cartoons, or some other process you use in your content creation, applying for a patent will ensure that no one uses your idea.

Keep in mind: a patent is good for a certain number of years, so you’ll have to renew it if you want to continue to protect it beyond that period.

Trademark for Your Creativity

Trademarks are versatile, in that you can trademark any type of word, slogan, or design so that no one else uses them. You can even trademark your social media profile name or domain name so that no one else can use them. Doing so can prevent some of the headaches that spring up when people take your brand’s Twitter name.

It can take a while to process your trademark application, so start by doing a trademark search to see if the slogan or word you want to use is already trademarked.

How to Trademark, Copyright, or Patent Your Content

If you’re a DIY kind of person, you can file for a copyright, trademark, or patent with the U.S. Copyright Office. Some of these applications are more complicated than others, so be prepared for some filling out some serious paperwork. Some take longer than others: patents can take as long as six years to get approved, so it can be helpful to employ the help of an attorney, patent agent, or licensing firm that has the experience and can help you file your paperwork correctly the first time.