Immediate Next Steps When Your Video Goes Viral

Welcome to another episode of Launched & Legal with Dayna Thomas, Esq., entrepreneurship attorney and law firm coach. Launched & Legal is an Atlanta Small Business Network original series dedicated to bringing entrepreneurs and business owners the best practices and tips for strategizing, legalizing, and monetizing their ventures. Today, Dayna shares her best practices and tips to take your business and brand to the next level.

Transcription: 

Dayna Thomas:
Let’s talk about immediate next steps when your video goes viral. Now, it’s happened to a few of my clients, where they post something on social media, it might be a picture or a photo, and all of a sudden, boom, the whole world is seeing it. Now they come to me and they ask, “Oh my gosh, Dayna, what should I do? This video is viral. How do I protect it? How do I monetize it?”

Dayna Thomas:
And although when your video goes viral, it’s a very exciting time, it can also be a little bit scary because you don’t want to get cut out of any potential way to monetize it. And of course, you want to be able to use it to your advantage. So today, we’re going to talk about immediate next steps, if your photo or video goes viral.

Dayna Thomas:
Now, the first thing that you want to do is talk to an IP lawyer. IP means Intellectual Property lawyer, right? A lawyer can help you to determine what rights you actually have in this creative property. Now, those may be copyright rights, trademarks, different things that may be involved with this work being now exploited to the world. You want to ask about what rights you may potentially have, but not only your rights whoever else may have been involved in that video. There may be certain circumstances of joint ownership. So an IP lawyer, specifically a copyright lawyer, can help you to determine if you own it 100% on your own.

Dayna Thomas:
Do you own it with the person sitting next to you? Do you own it with the person behind the camera? Do you own it with the person who is dancing with you in the video? Who owns this video and what rights do each of you have? Not only that, but sometimes in a viral photo or video, there may be other copyrighted work. So what are some ways that you can actually get permission to use that copyrighted work? Is permission necessary? How can you go about doing that? So your IP lawyer will certainly be able to help you answer those questions. Not only that, but it’s important to start building a relationship with a lawyer because there may be some licensing deals coming your way as it relates to this photo or video for other people that want to actually use this video in their business or brand.

Dayna Thomas:
So start building relationships with a really good IP attorney so that you can be on your way. All right, once your video is viral, the next thing you should do is form your LLC. Now it’s awesome that your video or your photo went viral, but of course, we want to make some money from this. Not only that, if anything, at most, you want to build your brand. So one thing that you certainly have to do is treat it like a business. If you want to monetize this or help this to be something that builds your brand, you have to treat it like a business. And every business should start with one of the solid legal foundation steps, which is forming your LLC, treat it like a business. Even though you didn’t expect for this video or this photo to go viral, it may have just been something fun that you did that went crazy. But now, you want to be able to monetize it and expose your brand in a very strategic way. So treat it like a business and form your business.

Dayna Thomas:
The third thing that I want you to do is trademark any words, catchy phrases, symbols, taglines, anything that seems catchy in that video, you want to trademark it because I’m telling you, there’s going to be a race to the trademark office, meaning, other people are going to see that catchy phrase or that catchy word or that popular tagline that made that video go viral and they’re going to want to sell some t-shirts. So at least you want to make sure that you are the one that has the trademark rights to that, and I would certainly recommend protecting it for Class 25, which is for t-shirts and clothing, because that’s the first thing that people try to do when a video goes viral, such as catchy phrases, like Cardi B’s, “[inaudible 00:04:52]” or Yolo, or other things that we see in awesome videos.

Dayna Thomas:
They put them on t-shirts. So it will be a race to the trademark office, so anything that is catchy in that video, a word, a phrase, a tagline, a symbol. Even if you don’t know if you’re going to use it yet, file an intent to use application for your trademark because other folks are watching and they will try to file before you. So make sure you use that in order to monetize it and to secure your trademark rights.

Dayna Thomas:
Number four, I want you to secure domain names for those catchy words, taglines, phrases, whatever pops out in that video. Again, once the video goes viral, other people are going to want to try to monetize it in some way. And I want to teach you the steps so that that money can go to you as much as possible, or even the brand exposure can go to you. So securing domain names can be relatively cheap, if you secure it before it becomes too popular. Once it becomes very popular, you can imagine, how many people may be trying to secure those domain names before you. So make sure that the next thing that you do is secure domain names for anything that might be catchy, so that you are the one that can actually exploit it.

Dayna Thomas:
Fifth. I want you to register the copyright for that photo or video. Now, there is going to be so much information out there about who can use it, who can’t use the video. Do they need a license? Is it fair use? Your IP attorney, once they have all the facts and information about your video or your photo will be able to determine that for you. But in the meantime, make sure that you register the copyright for that photo or that video.

Dayna Thomas:
You are not able to sue anyone for infringement, meaning using your video without your permission, unless your copyright is registered. So make sure that you go to copyright.gov to register the copyright and if it’s not something that you can manage on your own, have that IP attorney that you built a relationship with assist you with that.

Dayna Thomas:
And last, but certainly not least, make sure that it’s easy for potential licensees, meaning people who want to get your permission to use your video or your photo to find you. You don’t want them looking for you so that they can give you money, secure a license, a contract for some type of amazing deal and they’re looking online and they cannot find any way to contact you because more often than not, they’re probably going to use it anyway, if they can’t find out who owns it. So make sure that again, you treat it like a business, your contact information is on your social media. You create a website as it relates to this and your contact information, whether that’s a phone number, email address, whatever it may be, is clear. So that when someone is looking to find you in order to get permission to use the work, or maybe they want to work with you on a new campaign, as it relates to this viral video or photo, you want to make sure they can find you.

Dayna Thomas:
So those are some amazing tips and immediate next steps if your video goes viral. You never know when that might happen for you and let’s operate as if our videos will go viral. So make sure to think about your legal protection and strategize because you never know when that moment might hit. Well I hope today’s show helped educate and inspire you as you pursue your business goals. Be sure to share today’s show with someone who can benefit and visit myasbn.com and subscribe. If you have any questions or comments about today’s show, I’d love to hear from you. Send me a message or comment on Instagram at @daynathomaslaw and remember to tune in next week and every week to make sure your business is Launched & Legal.


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