Can we protect the information on a blog?

Can you protect the information or materials you place on a blog? Well yes, is this the answer.

If some of our older readers are not sure what a blog is, it is a discussion or informational website or webpage, which includes text entries or posts which are often informal. Anyone can start their own blog as it’s the new way of raising ones opinion about something in a quick easy to read article which can be published on the internet.

So how we do protect a blog ? Firstly, we can protect the name of the blog by means of a trade mark. Some examples of blogs protected by means of trade marks include LOVEFOOD! BLOG, THE PRETTY BLOG, FRESHLY BLOGGED and STELLENBLOG.

The second form of protection comes in the form of copyright law. Copyright law isn’t like a trade mark, patent or design whereby you register it on a government database. Copyright would normally automatically subsist and provides the creator of an original work with exclusive legal rights. An exception to this rule is cinematograph films which can be registered.

Copyright covers literary works (anything written down/text), musical works (songs), artistic works (drawings, paintings), films, sound recordings, broadcasts, programme-carrying signals, published editions and computer programs.

The internet has undoubtedly changed the way people treat copyrighted material. Yet the mere fact that it has become common for people to uplift material from the internet does not make it legal.
Recent examples of copyright infringement in South Africa includes Moneyweb v Media24 case. The issue was whether Media24, owner of the online financial news aggregator, Fin24, infringed Moneyweb’s copyright in seven articles? Each of these articles had been written by journalists for Moneyweb, and in each case Fin24 had used a part of the article in its publication.

The judge held that, of the seven articles, only three actually enjoyed copyright because they failed to show that the creation of the article involved its own skill or labour. The judge held that copyright in only one article had been infringed as there had almost been word-for-word copying.
A blog may possibly be made up of a written piece, a video and/or a painting or drawing by the blogger. The Copyright Act will cover all of these “works” automatically as long as they are original and created by the owner.

I always recommend that an owner of copyright mark his material/work with the copyright symbol. An example can be Copyright © 2017 Tyrone Walker of Moore Attorneys Inc.

The next time you create your own blog or even a business presentation, please don’t forget the © symbol.