Do I need to trademark, copyright or LLC my small ventures?

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Do I need to trademark, copyright or LLC my small ventures?

I have plans to make content on Youtube. Mainly animated content. Also, I want to start an online shop

selling wholesale items. I’m also starting to sell as an independent contractor for a company marketing their products and recruiting as well. I also have a few monetized blogs. Is there any reason I should have anything copyrighted or trademarked or LLC? I am thinking up a name for myself to connect everything. Also, would I need a business account for these ventures or can I use a regular bank account?

Asked on January 22, 2017 under Business Law, Wisconsin

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) LLC: a limited liabilty company does not protect your content, but does protect *you*--that is, your personal assets, money, property, etc.--from most business related liability, such as if your content-based business violated or infringed someone else's intellectual property, defamed someone, breached a contract, or failed to pay a debt. Conducting any business through an LLC is a good idea.
2) If you do have an LLC, have a separate bank account: you need to keep LLC and personal finances separate to get the protection of the LLC form or struture. 
3) If you develope a slogan, a mark, an image, a name, etc. for your endeavor which is unique to you and you think valuable, then yes--trademark it to protect it.  A unique mark which identifies your endeavor to viewers/customers can have value and can be protected.
4) Any *original* content you create is copyrighted by you automatically, though it's still a good idea to "assert" copyright (e.g. with a notice on your channel that all content is copyright whatever name you choose for your business).
There are some wrinkles to both trademark and copyright, about how to protect it, when and how to register it, things to *not* do so as to not lose your rights, etc. Since you are going to be in a content-based business, you should consult in detail with an intellectual property attorney about these issues.


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