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Q&A with Michael Tucak

SMPerth // 10th January 2014

We were privileged to have Michael Tucak speak to our group at the #SMPerth November event. His comments on IP and protecting your content resonated with the audience as we all work hard to produce original pieces.

Did you miss #SMPerth November? Here’s a quick recap:

A brand or blogger can invest a lot of time into building their social media profiles. What can be done to protect these profiles from being brand jacked?

There are three key things – first, “buy real estate” (like Monopoly!) by acquiring as many domains, URLs, usernames or @names as you can, to prevent others getting them and using them (including those similar to but slightly different from yours, if they can still cause confusion). Second, you can think about registering a trademark for your ‘brand name’ (which could be your @name, profile name, other title or slogan or a domain), which is not as expensive as you might think ($500 in government fees, if you DIY) and gives you very solid protection for 10 years, which will be worthwhile if your brand really is what you are investing in (something like The Sartorialist, for example). Thirdly, ensure you use your “brand” as consistently as you can (whether that be the right spelling, or avoiding abbreviations) so that you build up your reputation consistently over time.
Do you have advice on the best practice of disclosure of commercial agreements a blogger may have with a brand?

This is a developing area of law, but the current ‘best practice’ is the ACCC statement released in light of the Kangaroo Island tweeting ‘scandal’, which sums it up neatly, where the message is “disclosure” to ensure your audience is not misled as to why you might have a certain view about a product or service you are writing about:

“Endorsement of certain products, services and industries by eminent people is a common advertising method. However, consumers may be led to believe that such endorsements have been provided based on that person’s own analysis of the product or service, rather than under a commercial agreement. This is particularly important where the presenter’s position, representation or status suggests that they can be relied on to have special knowledge about the products or services. As with infomercials, advertisers should take care to ensure that consumers are aware of the fact that a commercial message is being presented.”

Michael Tucakwww.creativelegal.com.au
Michael Tucak is a creative industries lawyer with over 15 years experience in copyright, trademarks and legal contracting, advising clients in the arts, writing, music, film/TV and digital spaces.

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