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Should You Register Your Blog with the U.S. Copyright Office

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In most of the world, including the United States, a work enjoys copyright protection the moment it is fixed into a tangible medium of expression. In short, once the doodle is on the napkin, the photo on the SD card or the blog post saved on the server, it is considered copyrighted.

However, in the United States, enforcing those rights can be a bit trickier. If you want to sue for copyright infringement, you have to first register the work in question with the U.S. Copyright Office (USCO). The U.S. is the only major country with such mandatory copyright registration and it is a major headache for content creators, especially in the digital age.

So should you take the time to register your site with the USCO? There is no definitive answer but you should at least be aware of what is required of you and what you may sacrifice if you don’t.

Benefits of Registration

Circular 1 from the USCO (PDF) lays down the benefits of registration pretty thoroughly. They include the following:

  1. Registration establishes a public record of the copyright claim.
  2. Before an infringement suit may be filed in court, registration is necessary for works of U. S. origin.
  3. If made before or within five years of publication, registration will establish prima facie evidence in court of the validity of the copyright and of the facts stated in the certificate.
  4. If registration is made within three months after publication of the work or prior to an infringement of the work, statutory damages and attorney’s fees will be available to the copyright owner in court actions. Otherwise, only an award of actual damages and profits is available to the copyright owner.
  5. Registration allows the owner of the copyright to record the registration with the U. S. Customs Service for protection against the importation of infringing copies.

For bloggers, it is elements 2 and 4 that are the most important. Though it’s nice to have a public record of the prima facie (meaning “on first appearance“) evidence of ownership, a registration is required if you are going to sue for copyright infringement in the U.S. and you are only eligible for statutory damages, which can be as high as $150,000 per infringement, and attorney’s fees if you have have filed the registration before the infringement takes place or within three months of publication.6t5r4

The latter is equally important as, in most cases, the actual damages, what one would be left with without statutory damages, is nothing. Actual damages are defined as the greater of what the infringer gained or the infringed party lost, something that is almost impossible to prove or rarely has any significant value.

In short, suing for copyright infringement is almost never practical without statutory damages and attorney’s fees.

If you are outside of the U.S., you can actually sue within the country without a registration. However, you still can not claim statutory damages. As such, the same as with U.S. citizens, suing is often impractical.

Still, the question remains, should you register your site with the USCO? The answer is really up to you.

To Register, or Not To Register

Registering your site or your content with the USCO doesn’t take that long and is fairly straightforward. It can be done online and, for a basic registration, takes less than 30 minutes. All you’ll need to do is zip up the contents of your site or place it in a text file that can be uploaded.

However, there is a financial cost to it. Each registration costs $35 though you can register multiple works at once, including your entire site if you wish. However, bear in mind that if you do that, you can only claim statutory damages once per registration.

Any attorney you talk to will insist upon you registering your site every three months at least. Though it is unclear how the USCO’s definition of “published” fits with the Web, meaning that may not provide perfect protection, it is certainly more practical than trying to register each post individually as they are uploaded.

That being said though, the real test is whether or not you plan to sue for copyright infringement. If you have no plans to do so, no matter what, registration is a waste of time and money. If you think you might want to some day, it’s probably best to make the effort to register your work.

In the end, only you can decide if your work has enough financial and/or personal value to warrant registration, but even if it has only a small amount, it may well be worth taking the time to protect it correctly.

Bottom Line

You don’t need to register your work to send cease and desist letters, DMCA takedown notices and take other action to protect your copyright, however, if you want to sue in the U.S., you will need it at some point, preferably before the infringement.

The decision about whether or not to register hinges almost completely on that element, to sue or not.

To that end, the vast majority of copyright holders never file any kind of suit, even when they are infringed upon. Most cases are resolved through other means, such as removal of the work or payment of a licensing fee. Only a fraction of a percent of all infringement cases make it to a lawsuit at all.

As such, for most it will likely be a waste of time and money but, for those who think they might want that option at some point, even if they never use it, having the registrations in order could be a valuable insurance policy against infringement, especially egregious cases.

The choice is yours but, either way, it is important to be aware of the consequences of the decision.

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What Bosch Products and Dishwashers Can Teach Us About Business

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Business is what makes the world go round. It’s not just about the money that is generated from a business, it’s the service provided and also learning how to better cater to the needs of your audience, while also evolving over time.

Whether you have an offline retail or service business, a website or blog, or even working as a freelancer to start making some money on the side and doing your own thing — they are all unique in their own ways, and also providing you with a journey that you learn from day after day.

Bosch, one of the most popular electronics and service businesses in the world today has created some of the more important products in millions of households around the world, while also building quite the reputation for themselves.

With this in mind, I thought it would be interesting to take a look at their latest Bosch 800 Series Dishwashing Machines, and comparing it’s features to that of an online business, or to the life of an entrepreneur.

After all, these products are all created for the ideal usage from their customers, which is the same way your blog, brand, or business should be built as well.

What Every Entrepreneur Can Learn from a Dishwasher

When you think of a dishwashing machine, you probably just think about how you have to load dirty dishes into and then click a button.

Much like a business or a marketing strategy, there are many different components to a dishwasher to make sure it’s always working, cleaning as much as possible, and also worth the monetary investment that someone has to make to acquire one.

With all of this in mind, lets take a look at some of the more important features, settings, and factors in place that make Bosch’s line of dishwashing machines not only top of the line, but also for comparing a business to a dish washing machine as well.

Bosch 800 Series Dishwasher Highlights and Features:

• CrystalDry™ (only available in 800 Series) | The ultimate clean. The ultimate dry, including plastics. The new Bosch 800 Series dishwasher delivers a sparkling clean and dry with advanced PrecisionWash technology and patented CrystalDry technology. Patented CrystalDry technology transforms moisture into heat up to 176F for the ultimate dry, even for plastics
– Not all dishwashing machines are the same, nor are the millions of businesses in the world today. With Bosch, they put a ton of work and effort into making sure their machine provide the ultimate cleaning experience, while also having implement advance trying methods and the ability to place plastics for wash in the machine as well. In short, if you are looking for a dishwasher, it’s a name that is going to be associated with top rated products. Now in reference to your business, this is something that one should be striving for as well — not just to provide the best service possible, but to be able to boast about it, and deliver every time.
• With PrecisionWash, intelligent sensors continually scan and check the progress of dishes throughout the cycle, and powerful spray arms target every item of every load, for the ultimate clean.
– If you were to look at the history of washing machines over the past several decades, it would be quite amazing. From just having a bucket and soap to manaually washing your dishes, or using any of the first generation washing machines, it’s been quite a journey. Now through the power of great advancements in technology, dishwashing machines are even better and more computerized than ever before. Just like how Bosch is creating dishwashing machines that use intelligent sensors to scan the progress of it’s washings, businesses also need to rely on advanced artificial intelligence, the internet of data, and automation to get more done. If you are, then your business or brand might quickly find itself lost in the mix.
• Extremely quiet operation (42 dBA)- incorporates 18 unique sound-reducing technologies such as multiple insulation layers, grindless food filtration, and a sound absorbing base. Large interior provides the loading flexibility to easily accommodate 16 place settings, and Bosch’s largest 3rd rack- the MyWay rack provides additional loading space for cereal bowls and large utensils. Every Bosch dishwasher is ENERGY STAR qualified and meets or exceeds federal guidelines, for year-round energy savings.
– Look at any of the top dishwashing and home appliance brands today, and you will find some common ground with all of them (in the eyes of the customer). We all want them to be quite, energy efficient, and also to work for many years to come. This is nothing new, but it is something that might be hard to find when comparing so many different products and solutions out there. Bosch makes this process easier by highlighting these features and letting the end customer know exactly what their products have to offer. As a business owner or entrepreneur, this is something one should do with their own services or products as well. Remember, it’s not just about getting a new client, it’s about also making sure they completely understand everything they are getting and what they are paying.
As you can imagine, these are just a few of the many features and highlights that are available from Bosch’s extensive line of products, but just a handful that we wanted to highlight today in this entreprenuer and business comparison guide.

Building Your Business Like a High-Quality Dishwashing Machine

Sure, the idea of business your business off the same elements of a dishwashing machine might seem a little off the wall or crazy, but it actually isn’t.

Think about all of the moving cogs and components that make up some of the most important electronics and appliances in your house today. Now think about your business and how many different moving parts are built into that as well.

The more efficient and optimized your business is, like that of a quality dishwashing machine, then the more likely you are to find success with your overall business.

The next time you are loading up your dishes and about to turn the dishwashing machine, why not think about how each peice is similar to that of your business as well?

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Do You See Yourself as a Struggling Blogger?

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Yeah. Good luck succeeding if you see yourself as a struggling blogger. You cannot outrun your self-image. You cannot outmaneuver your energy. How you see yourself is how the world sees you. If you emit a struggling blogger vibe then people will see you as a struggling blogger and choose to stay away.

In essence, you wave a big red flag that tells people to avoid you because nobody wants to get advice from a struggling blogger. What does a struggling blogger know how to do? Struggle. Why would bloggers want to learn how to struggle? We want to learn how to succeed. We follow successful bloggers. But in the same regard, do not brag about yourself all day long as the most successful bloggers put their attention on their readers most of the time and allow their community to spread their successful word for them. People who brag about themselves all day long just do not believe in themselves. This is low self-esteem at play.

Bizarre bloggers carry some weird idea that bragging about their struggles makes them proud, or attractive, or someone to follow, for other people who struggle. This is a stupid idea. Guess what happens? You and hundreds of other struggling bloggers all get together and complain, whine and moan about your struggles as you struggle forever because nobody is teaching each other How To Succeed. Does that sound like a fun blogging career? I do not think so. I sometimes see these groups on Twitter and Facebook. Struggling bloggers crying in each other’s beer. Who cares? I have compassion for struggling bloggers but I have enough respect for them that I see them in an empowered light. The problem is they are a little bit lost. As a matter of fact, it is because I have compassion for these bloggers that I see them in an empowered, not struggling, light.

Ultimately, nobody cares that you struggle because people want to win. Nobody cares that you struggle because people want to succeed. People will simply exit your blog and follow a winning, successful blogger to learn how to succeed and how to live your dreams. Sure you can share some of your struggle but don’t build your entire freaking brand on being a struggling, broke blogger or you will get to be a struggling, broke blogger for your entire career because where your attention and energy goes, grows. You create your blogging struggles and you create your blogging success depending on where you put your attention and energy. A hundred percent of the time you are the source of your blogging struggles and you are the source of your blogging success. What would you rather do? Struggle or succeed? Any sane human being would rather succeed and live their dreams and live a fun, freeing life over struggling.

Watch as I explain how I retired to paradise from beautiful Bali.

Lose the struggling image. Adopt a new, fun, freeing, successful image. Focus on abundance. Count your blessings. Release the starving artist image and you will also release fellow struggling bloggers who only hold you back, in your comfort zone. These are not true friends. These are fear filled folks who say they mean well but only hold you back because they are not teaching you how to succeed, but how to struggle like them. Let them go. Allow them to find their own way. Your job is to be an empowered, abundant, grateful, generous servant who creates and connects their way to the top of your blogging niche. Why? You get to help other struggling bloggers in increasing numbers leave their struggles behind so they can live their dreams.

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Do you want to enjoy a colorful read that will help increase your blogging success?

Buy my eBook:

8 Blogging Lessons I Learned from a 23 Hour Flight Around the World

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The Blogger’s Guide to Launching an eBook

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eBook marketing is a powerful way to build your personal brand, optin list and even some income (if you do your job right!)

Therefore many bloggers write eBooks in an effort to come up with alternative and self-serving blog monetization method.

However writing an eBook is only first part of the task, arguably the easiest one.

What happens next?

It is time to start preparing your ebook launch… yay! Is there anything more exciting or nerve wracking? The excitement of what could be on the horizon for you. Will the book sell well? Will people like it? Could this be the beginning of something incredible for you?

All of these questions are probably filling your head, and you have every reason to be giddy by the prospect.

But don’t let that giddiness stop you from taking advantage of the moment. There is a lot to consider when preparing for a book to launch. You can improve your visibility, which is turn will improve sales and hype, weeks before your book hits shelves (or ebook databases).

Here are some tips for your pre-launch, which are just as important as the launch itself.

Be prepared for disappointment

It is sad but true: first time authors are rarely given a leg up. Sure, you hear about these writers who publish a novel and explode onto the scene. But they were writing well before that point and already had a foot in the door. Their publishers, whom they had gained before hand, took care of a lot of the work in the PR category.

Besides, the landscape of publishing has changed a lot, thanks to the Internet. If you are publishing digitally, don’t expect a sudden rush of fame and recognition. That has to be worked diligently towards.

Set realistic goals

This goes along with the above tip. When you are preparing to launch, you should have a clear set of goals in mind.

What do you want to accomplish? What are you hoping for, in terms of readership? Profits? Eventual payoff in the long term?

Keep your goals manageable and small (especially if this is your first ebook), and then build on those successes later.

This will keep you from getting discouraged and will motivate you to keep moving forward.

After all, the Internet has given everyone an ability to become a published author, so it is not easy to stand out. It will take a lot of time, work and possibly investments.

Create a powerful landing page

This is crucial. Everything else you do to market your eBook needs to start and end here. You need an ultimate resource talking about you, your book and which problems it solves.

The page needs to be compelling enough for your future readers to optin to receive a free chapter (or to buy/download the book right away).

It is a good idea to get the page ranked in Google for it to become a traffic sources of its own. For that, you will need to identify keywords and optimize its copy.

Use Text Optimizer to build your landing page copy. Text Optimizer is the semantic analysis and search intent optimization tool helping you write content that matches Google (or Bing) users’ expectations. It’s also a great way to optimize your content for it to rank higher in Google:

textoptimizer

Get hype started early

The earlier buzz begins to build for your book, the better. Whether you are a blogger launching an ebook, or an author publishing a novel, you want people talking about it.

A couple of months is a good starting point, but a couple of weeks can make a lot of difference, as well. Use social media platforms.

  • Share with Facebook followers little excerpts.
  • Brand a hashtag. Hold a tweetchat.
  • Have giveaways so a few people can get free, advanced copies of the book.
  • Share a free chapter.
  • Set up an email newsletter to build a community of your loyal readers
  • Ask for people to share your updates, and remind them regularly about the coming book.

Get your readers excited.

Tweetchat

Remember that gaining readers is more important than profits

This is especially true for first time writers. If your book is good, it will sell. But in the beginning, it is a lot more important to get your work out there and build an audience first.

For example, 1000vultures was a Reddit user who began a long term story on the subreddit NoSleep. He gained a large following and buzz continued to build about his story.

One day, he announced that he would be selling a more complete version in novel format on Amazon, under the name Dan Auberbach. His novel, Penpal, has become quite popular and exists in a physical format.

reddit author

But he gained his readers before he ever made a profit. That is why so many Amazon ebook writers will allow their works to be lended out as part of the Prime library, or sell for $0.99

Focus on building community and your optin list (while keeping GDPR regulations in mind) rather than getting rich overnight.

Take advantage of connections

Do you know some other bloggers or social media influencers? Start cashing in those favors, because they are going to be important to getting the word out about your work.

Ask bloggers to read and review the book ahead of its release. Offer to write blog posts and include information about the book in your byline. Ask pages to promote it on Facebook, Twitter and other social networks.

Even better, if you have the skills or resources to create sharable content, you will see even better results.

A perfect example of this can be seen in this Guide to Google Analytics, which is presented in a unique infographic form.

Look at the type of industry you are in, and then compile a ton of stats and create a unique infographic of your own.

Do something quirky

When Random House was promoting the book Zone One by Colson Whitehead, they began to post Twitter updates featuring the hashtag #RHZombies that had to do with the undead.

This quirky little bit of promotion was popular, and led to thousands of favorites and retweets.

Likewise, don’t try to get published. You can start selling your ebook without ever publishing it. There’s no need to follow a traditional route. You can come up with your own!

Think outside the box, and you will be more memorable, and successful.

Have you ever tried to write an (e)book? Do you have you got a tip or two for an ebook pre-launch? Let us know in the comments!

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