' Natalie Vicchio | MTTLR

HOW TO USE MEDIA TO SUPPORT YOUR MEDIA (AKA HOW NOT TO GET REPORTED)

Social media influencers need to stay abreast of intellectual property laws so their content does not violate them. This post explores the relevant U.S. legal issues implicated by every video or post creation.     Trademarks A trademark is “a word, phrase, symbol, and/or design that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.” Think Coca-Cola for drink products, Kate Spade for mid-luxury bags and jewelry, or Victoria Secret for declining lingerie and apparel. Apple even has trade dress protections in the layout of its stores. Service marks designate the source of a service, like Google, United Airlines and Amazon.   Does someone else have the legal trademark rights to your social media handle or channel name? A relatively quick and painless search on the USPTO website can tell you if a mark, design, trade dress or slogan has been registered and therefore unavailable to you. The USPTO’s Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) allows you to search for registered live marks, pending marks, and dead marks. Access TESS here.   Using other brand’s marks Trademark protection finds its grounding in preventing consumer confusion. To preserve the strength of their mark, brands pay attention to the unauthorized uses of their marks. Luckily, First Amendment freedom of expression interests are strong enough to allow some use of owned marks.   Review without paid promotion from a company of a product Are you reviewing a particular product that you purchased yourself? Perhaps using it in a makeup tutorial, a book review, or a how-to video. Because of the first amendment’s strength and the desire for...