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Ask the Attorneys: Intellectual Property & The Web, Part 2

You have a script, a video camera, and a great performance to launch your web series. You've also read Part 1 of this article, and now understand the basics of your intellectual property (IP) rights. Follow these steps to ensure that your new creation is properly protected.

Protecting your IP rights:

  • You are not required to register your video creations with the U.S. Copyright Office, but there are multiple benefits for doing so.  Among other benefits, copyright registration provides evidence of your copyright ownership.

  • Uploading your video content for your web series onto social media websites such as and does not mean that you are relinquishing your copyright ownership. Instead, you are granting these websites a license to use, display and store that content in connection with the services that they provide.

  • Always be sure to review a website's Terms of Service before uploading your content, since deleting your content from your account usually does not terminate all of the website service's rights to your content.

  • Familiarize yourself with takedown procedures of various sites such as in case another user uploads your video without your permission.

  • Include a prominent copyright notice in the first few seconds of the video itself, and also on the website, profile page or video description section where you plan to upload your video content for your web series. This notice also can specify your terms of use for what actions (e.g., downloading) are allowed by viewers. You can also provide your contact information in case a viewer is interested in using your video.

  • A proper copyright notice is as follows (but remove the square brackets):
    ©  [Year of first publication] [Owner name].  All rights reserved.

  • Use written contracts when working with other people. Before the filming begins, all contributors should reach a written agreement that clarifies who will own copyright to which components of the completed video creation. In short, decide who owns what and get it in writing.

Remember these key takeaways as a content author:

1.         Protect your own rights

2.         Respect others' rights

3.         Have a written agreement in advance with everyone who contributes to your work

Joshua R. Bressler is an intellectual property attorney at Bressler Law PLLC.

Shanece Taylor is a student intern at the entertainment law firm of Hrbek Law LLC.

This blog post provides general information about the law for the benefit of Fractured Atlas members. The information contained in this post is not legal advice. Please consult with a lawyer to obtain advice about how the law impacts your particular situation.