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3 Key Legal Things About Passive Income feat. Paige Griffith

Have you implemented passive income into your business? Generating passive revenue is an amazing opportunity for business owners, but you need to ensure it’s legit. Paige Griffith, owner of The Legal Paige, explains how you can set yourself up to be protecting your business, your products, and your intellectual property!

The Branded by Bernel Podcast is brought to you by Bernel Westbrook, lead designer and founder of Branded by Bernel, a design studio dedicated to building strong brands and Showit websites for creative entrepreneurs.

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Paige Griffith is the founder and lead attorney behind The Legal Paige, a virtual law firm that helps small businesses get legally legit. She is a certified Juris Doctor barred in the state of Montana, and holds a double BA in economics and political science. After working as a federal law clerk Paige traded in the traditional law life for a virtual one, and opened the doors to The Legal Paige in 2018. She helps small business owners run legal and protected businesses and counsels them on issues related to contracts, intellectual property, privacy and business law. Her mission is to create an online space where the law isn’t so scary, and entrepreneurs can get legally legit in no time. Law aside, Paige is really just a small town on Montana mom who loves her family, travel, her dog Sugar, and a good glass of red wine.

Legally Legit in Your Small Business

While it can be intimidating to consider all of the legal things that need to be in place inside your business, Paige is guiding us through a few things you can implement immediately, specifically if you’ve incorporated passive income streams into your business to get you started.

Adding People to Your Email List the Legal Way

As popular as growing your email list has become in the creative space, there are rules we have to follow to legal go about growing that list. First and foremost, you have to have permission from the person who owns the email address to add them to your list. You can’t simply add people to your list just because you have their email address.

A great approach to this would be through an opt-in form or a free download that they have to enter their information into. Within that form, it has to explicitly say that by signing up, they agree to receive XYZ from you and they agree to the privacy policy on your website. This is also relevant for online shops as well.

Depending on your privacy policy, specifically for conferences and summits, you can include that email addresses will be shared with speakers and sponsors—but it has to be specified.

Have the Correct Contracts in Place

I addition to legally collecting email addresses, you need to also have the correct contracts in place to cover you. The main ones we’ll be covering today are Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy. While these are two different things, they go hand in hand with adding people to your email list. You’ll typically find these in the footer of a website. Additionally, we’ll be covering a few additional contract that those who are earning passive revenue through digital shop products will need to incorporate.

Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions comes into play specifically when someone is scrolling and potentially purchasing something on your website. It briefly explains your business’s refund policy on digital products, disclaimers regarding your products, advertisements or sponsorships, discounts on products and when they’re available, and intellectual property on your website.

This type of contract is so important for anyone who sells passive income, like products, digital downloads, courses, memberships, etc.

Privacy Policy

Anyone who has a website needs a privacy policy in place—it doesn’t really matter if you’re collecting email addresses or not, because you’re likely doing some type of analytics tracking. This could be through Google Analytics, Facebook ads and pixels, or cookie tracking. All of that means you have to have a privacy policy.

When you are adding people to an email list you are automatically knocked into the category of you are legally required to get a privacy policy on your website.

Digital Product Purchase and Use Agreement

When you have a digital product shop, you need to have a digital product purchase and use agreement on your website, which is what they will agree to at checkout. This typically lives right next to your Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy in the footer of your website; additionally, inside your checkout form, you’ll have customers agree to this.

If you’re buying email templates or any digital product, you are agreeing to acquiring that product and usually there’s not going to be a refund. This is essentially what a digital product purchase and use agreement covers.

Membership Program Agreement

If you’re offering an online membership, you need to legally set the expectations of this program’s cancellation, refund policy, and more. A Membership Program Agreement will cover things such as your member fees, the first month is due at purchase, your cancellation procedure for future months, when can they cancel and they won’t be charged again, and the terms of your membership. Additionally, you can include limitations on bonuses and when they’re offered, communication expectations, and waiver of liability that you don’t guarantee results if they don’t put in the work.

Online Course Agreement

Similar to a membership program, an online course agreement essentially is an agreement that they agree to the terms and conditions of the online course. This also protects you with confidentiality and copyright ownership, chargebacks, and refunds.

Intellectual Property Protection

In order to protect your intellectual property, you need to have trademarks or copyrights in place. Trademarks protect brand names, business names, slogans, while copyrights protect original works fixed in a tangible medium. while they both protect your IP, they are different things.

Trademarks

Federal trademarks are handled through the United States Patent and Trademark Office cost between $300 to $2000 depending on if you do it yourself or through an attorney.

Copyright

The copyright process is through the US Copyright Office for around $45 per work and will protect your tangible mediums like courses, digital products, designs, presentation slides, etc.

Grab Paige’s Free Guide

Paige has put together this incredible free guide, How to Set Up Your Biz for a Profitable and Legal Passive Income Stream! If you’re ready to get your new income stream legally legit, make sure you grab this guide for free today!

Connect with Paige

thelegalpaige.com

instagram.com/thelegalpaige

Youtube

facebook.com/thelegalpaige

Connect with Bernel

brandedbybernel.com

instagram.com/brandedbybernel

Review the Transcript:

Bernel
Today on the show, I am so excited to be joined by Paige Paige is the founder and lead attorney behind the legal page, a virtual law firm that helps small businesses get legally legit. She is a certified Juris Doctor barred in the state of Montana, and holds a double BA in economics and political science. After working as a federal law clerk Paige traded in the traditional law life for a virtual one, and opened the doors to the legal page in 2018. She helps small business owners run legal and protected businesses and counsels them on issues related to contracts, intellectual property, privacy and business law. Her mission is to create an online space where the law isn’t so scary, and entrepreneurs can get legally legit in no time. Law aside, Paige is really just a small town on Montana mom who loves her family travel her dog sugar and a good glass of red wine. Oh my goodness, Paige, thank you so much for being here today. Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m excited. Yes, indeed. Oh, my goodness. This is such a topic that people ask about frequently, as a web designer, people are constantly asking me, what what legal things do I need on my website? How do I make sure people don’t steal my content? How do I make sure that what I’m saying is legally legit. So this episode is gonna be great. I’m excited to dive in. Yes. So we mentioned in the intro that you’ve been in business for about four years, but what purpose does your business really serve? What do you say is really kind of fueling your passion?

Paige Griffith
Yeah, okay. Well, I think I need to take a step back here and explain a little bit more about my journey, because that really helps answer your question on what fuels my passion. So I obviously am the owner and lead attorney behind the legal page. But I myself and my team of incredible women that run our online legal education platform. We love, love, love helping small business owners get legally legit without breaking into hives, that is literally our entire IMO every single day. So to explain a little bit about my backstory as quickly as possible. About a decade ago, I actually became a photographer in the midst of being a law student, because I just wanted to do something creative, instead of reading and writing the law all day long. And then that hobby really ended up turning into basically another full time job. I found my like, love, love, love for entrepreneurship, and the online business world. But of course, I still completed law school, hence, I started the legal page. And during that time period, like I was I was hustling I was doing my photography business that was like basically a full time job. I was also working hard to get good grades and do all the extracurricular law school things. And then I ended up working for a federal judge for two years after law school. So this is where what I do fuels my passion because it all kind of culminated during that time period. I was doing all of this while running my wedding photography and portrait photography business on the side quote, unquote, right? But it really wasn’t it was like, I was a law clerk plus a photographer, both full time jobs. So during those years, I really met many other creatives, not only in the wedding industry, but in the virtual space. Think obviously website designers think virtual assistants thing copywriters, and I learned that they all had legal questions. And once I said, Oh, I’m in law school, or if it was after, oh, I’m a law clerk. I’m a lawyer. Now. They just didn’t understand a lot about contracts and generally had so many challenges, finding good credible information to help them become what I like to call better chief legal officers of their business. Because as we all know, entrepreneur, wear all the hats, right? Where CEOs, or CMOs are ce o ‘s, and then si ellos, is what I like to call it because we usually don’t have like an attorney on retainer.

Paige Griffith
And that’s where the legal Page was born over are back in the day about 2018. So I started out that period of time with a blog. And the blog turned into a very small contract template shop, I think, like five contracts for photographers. And now we have both of those plus other free resources, really, across the board. So we’ve got podcast episodes on the legal page podcast, we have all of our blogs on the legal page.com We have a YouTube channel, the Legal Aid YouTube channel, so I really try and my passion is helping small business owners get legal and protected before the what if or sticky situation occurs. And I always think it’s better to be proactive than reactive. And so honestly, that is what fuels my passion, being able to combine my two passions, entrepreneurship and the law. It’s such an amazing thing to wake up and do that every single day in my job.

Bernel
Oh, my goodness, yes, at so much value in that story. Because, like yourself, I started my business off of a blog. Let me give all of this, you know, information that I feel like from my perspective on being a woman in the tech industry, so my blog started as stiletto footprints crazy. Started in college, like yourself was kind of like, okay, that’d be my side hustle. And very quickly, I realized that my side hustle turned into a business that then produced services. So I completely resonate with your story there. Um, and then also the template shop. Definitely, definitely, definitely want to talk about that. And if you’re listening at home, and you are wondering, what is a template shop page has put together these amazing contracts and disclaimers, and just all the things that you can think of by industry on her website, so you can actually search by industry, and then find all of the legal documents that you would need. And it’s virtually plug and play? Am I saying that correctly? Page, plug in your information, and you can go with it. So definitely check that out. If you’re listening at home, um, but one of the things that you mentioned was your podcast, and I am a loyal podcast listener to hear yes, yes, you give so many tips on there. And it really kind of talked about your journey, and your network, kind of as an industry leader. And so networking is so so important. But one of the things that you you quickly mentioned on your podcast episode, and then I found a blog article about it on your website was three key legal things about passive income. And that caught my attention because at this point, I’m, I guess, in this post pandemic world, or as we’re heading into this post pandemic world, everybody is adding passive income streams, whether you’re a wedding photographer, now selling stock photography, whether you’re a web designer, now selling, show it website, templates, whether you’re a copywriter who now has copywriting tips, everybody’s looking for passive income. So what I really wanted to chat with you about is how do we make sure that we’re doing it legally?

Paige Griffith
Yeah, so there’s three key legal things about passive income that we’re really going to dive into today a little bit more in depth. So obviously, when you start selling, and this is more in the D commerce and E commerce world that you and I are really discussing here. So for everyone tuning in before I get into those three things like passive income, like back in the day, I feel like most people recognize passive income through the real estate market, right. So make money while you sleep, rent out real estate long term or short term and generate a profit every single day. But now, like Bernal said, it’s entirely possible to reap some of those benefits utilizing passive income online. But when you do it online, you can’t just like throw things up and assume that everything’s gonna be all fine and dandy, I can promise you, that’s not going to happen. Honestly, you have to, I like to liken it to short term or long term rentals, like you would never let a tenant go into a huge piece of property that you own without a contract in place. And you just want to make sure right, that you have the correct things set up that it’s probably a separate business, all of those things come into play. But the big thing about doing passive income online in establishing that well thought out passive income revenue stream is not forgetting these things that we’re going to talk about because it can derail your efforts. So the first thing is adding people to your email list the legal way. The second thing is having correct online contracts in place to protect your passive income products. And like I said, you just if you are creating a product and spending the time and energy to do it, and then you want to make money from it passively, you don’t just want to passively put it out there and not have someone agree to your terms and conditions of purchasing it. And we can go through that a little bit more. And then the other thing is just making sure that If you are protecting your intellectual property, whether that’s through trademarking or copywriting, and it’s going to be different dependent on the type of passive income that you have,

Bernel
for sure. Oh, my goodness, yes, that is so good. So good, so good. So we’re starting with legally adding people to your email list. And as soon as you said that, I kind of got chills over here a little bit, because I was like, Oh, my goodness, that is something that I didn’t even consider until I had been in business about three years. So it’s really sad, my email list had hundreds of people on it, before I even thought, like, wow, I should probably like, make this a little bit more legit and make sure they agree to be on this list. And that became an I’ll make this super quick. But that didn’t even get on my radar until I got subscribed to someone’s email list. And I don’t remember giving them my email. And I’m like, how would you get my email? And I’m starting to get all these emails, and it’s to my like, business email address, and I’m like, why are y’all cluttering my inbox? I don’t even know who you are. And come to find out it was because they had got my email from a friend. And it was just a mess. And they just like manually added it to their email list. And I was thinking, I never want to do that to somebody purposefully, or, you know, not on purpose. So yes, tell tell us page please, how to legally add people to your email list.

Paige Griffith
Yeah, so first of all, that’s illegal. Don’t be sharing email lists with people, you have to get like a voluntary agreement from the person who owns that personal information for you to use their personal information, i e, email address there for marketing and advertising purposes. This is literally step number one, if you are trying to generate some type of email list to somehow funnel people into your digital products, and creating that passive income stream right. That’s what Brunel and I are talking about here. Getting people to like opt in to something whether that’s a freebie or a lead magnet, or like a mini free webinar or something like that. These terms are used really interchangeably here, you know, freebie, lead, magnet, those type of things, you have to make sure that the pop up is legal. Like you have to make sure that you when you are capturing that person’s, like personal information that they’re agreeing to receive XYZ from you. So when you have that pop up or landing page that asks the potential customer for their email address, and name in exchange for that free guide or resource, you have to have a legal disclaimer attached to it. And it doesn’t have to be complicated. It’s just like, you know, that little memo at the bottom of the pop up. When the customer hits submit, there’s like a little tiny disclaimer, you don’t want it to be like completely inconspicuous. So for all your website designers out there that are designing these for your clients, like don’t put it in like the most unreadable, like font color ever, or font ever. You just want a quick, quick little memo that establishes that by clicking Submit, they agree to your company sending them marketing materials, and they agree to your privacy policy listed on your website. For now, we’re gonna get into that with contracts you have to have in place. But here, it’s a really good way for you to realize, oh, this is why I need the privacy policy. Because in that little pop up, I’m just going to link and I agree to the privacy policy, boom. And then you link that to your privacy policy that’s on your website. Of course, we’ve all done this. We’ve all seen it with pop ups, right? We’re trying to get 10% off at Target or what have you. And we’re we’re entering something and we know that there’s like that little disclaimer at the bottom. It doesn’t have to be big, it can be in your own words, but it just needs to really sum up what I just said, you know, that they agreed to receive emails from you. And they agreed to the privacy policy. And well, what what that means is the privacy policy is they have the right to opt out. That’s essentially in a nutshell. I mean, it’s a long document, but there’s more to it. It’s also you know, the privacy policy means it’s private, like they only gave their email to your company, you can’t just go like selling it to third parties. So hopefully that helps people understand legally adding people to your email list. The last thing I will say for now just for people tuning in that are like maybe starting out in their passive income journey, and they’re trying to partner with other people. There is a legal way to go about sharing email lists when you’re doing like a group giveaway or you’re at a conference and people are agreeing to like, give their email Address to the conference host, but share it with XYZ people, however, that has to be disclosed. And if it’s not disclosed to attendees, or participants or anything like that, when they’re officially signing up or opting in, that’s where things can get tricky. And like you said, you’re just gonna, like, start getting random emails in your inbox and you’re going to be mad, and you’re going to unsubscribe. So it’s just like not a good way to put your business in front of them anyway, in my opinion,

Bernel
for sure. Oh, my goodness. And that was such a good point, too, about conferences and attendees. One of the things I had a question about, as you were talking was, if someone makes a purchase from your business, let’s say, and you are collecting their email, their address all of those different pieces of information, because they made a purchase, does that automatically give you the right to put them on your email list?

Paige Griffith
No, not unless you disclose that. So usually, e commerce and E commerce like back end platforms have the checkbox. And honestly, I just always suggest for legal purposes, that you just do that, like go above and beyond, don’t automatically put them on your email list. They can go okay, hold on backup, they can go on your email list. But that means they’re just going to sit there unless they’ve agreed to receive marketing and advertising materials from your company. So that’s the checkbox that they need to complete at checkout. And I would say that, you know, because privacy concerns and laws are our ever evolving and changing as we’ve seen in the past year or so, there’s new laws coming out California has very strict privacy policy laws. And that trickle down effect is going to occur across the United States, usually those type of things start in California, and then other states follow suit. So you just you have to make sure not only you’re complying with all the federal laws regarding privacy policy, but state laws as well. And when those are becoming more and more strict, you have to realize that you can’t just automatically put someone on your marketing and advertising segment of your email list. Without them voluntarily saying yeah, sure. Sounds good. So for example, we host our platform on Shopify, and Shopify has an easy way of doing that. And most e commerce platforms do where they in check out, you either check the box, I agree to receive marketing materials, or you don’t. And at that point, we we just trigger and tag them on the back end of our email platform, that they’re either on that list or they’re not.

Bernel
Oh, my goodness, yes, that is so good. That is so good. So what I’m hearing is, if you’re the owner of your business, or if you’re the web designer, you both need to make sure that after ecommerce checkout, there is a checkbox there. That’s, that’s something that needs to be on the list for the web designer and for the shop

Paige Griffith
owner. Yeah, absolutely. For the shop owner. You know, I think website designers like do your due diligence, if you’re listening to this episode, now you kind of have knowledge of it. So you can’t really claim that you didn’t know you needed to put that on there. Sorry for you listening to this episode, but now you have that in your back pocket. And then also like as website designers as well, you’re probably going to have clauses in your design contract for your clients that explain like, you know, you’re disclaiming liability for these type of things as well, like, that’s the onus is on your client there. But again, you might as well just like, you know, scratch their back, they’ll scratch yours, like, if you’re helping them on this journey, they’re gonna refer you out, they’re gonna be like, Oh, my gosh, it’s so much more than just a website design. It’s like they are really helping me run a good solid business where I’m protected, and they have my best interests at heart.

Bernel
For sure. 100% agree with that. All right. So what is that next thing that we need to have?

Paige Griffith
Yeah, so having the correct contracts in place, and I just want to go through the main one, which is website Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, these are things that I would say every anyone who has a website needs this, it doesn’t really matter if you’re collecting email addresses or not, because I bet at some point in time, or probably when you’re set up your website, you’re doing some type of analytics on the back end, whether that’s Google Analytics, you’re running Facebook ads, you’ve got pixels, there’s probably cookie tracking involved. All of that means you have to have a privacy policy. But I want to be clear here. When you are adding people to an email list you are automatically knocked into the category of you are legally required to get a privacy policy on your website. So Terms and Conditions and Privacy policies are two different things and they go hand in hand like I said with adding people to your email list. So a terms and conditions and a privacy policy you guys is going to be At the bottom footer of your website, as we all know, you scroll to the bottom, you can find those terms and conditions, you can find the privacy policy, you can Septime The reason and exchange policy. Like that’s where we all know to go and scroll to if we’re looking for that information. So don’t hide it. Don’t put it on like a hidden website page. It needs to be readily available to a user on your website. And here’s why. Because terms and conditions is all about someone using scrolling and potentially purchasing something on your website. So a Terms and Conditions briefly explains, like your business’s refund policy on digital products, if that’s something that you have, like a digital shop for passive income, disclaimers regarding your products, right? If there’s discounts and sales and are those retroactive, probably not, right, they’re only available at the time that the discount and sale is running, you need to say that so that if that issue comes up, and I promise you it will, that you can relate back to your terms and conditions. Advertisement disclaimers like affiliate disclaimers if you have any affiliate marketing on your website, and then of course, intellectual property, disclaimers, so that a user coming to your website can’t like take all your copy and images and basically take your whole back end. So this type of contract is so so important for anyone who sells passive income, like related products, so single digital downloads, courses, memberships, etc. And again, the terms and conditions needs to be one page that’s clickable at the bottom footer, and then your privacy policy would also be right next to it, those two just aren’t the same. And those are that oftentimes gets confusing for entrepreneurs and online business owners, they think they’re one in the same, they’re actually two different documents, they’re usually just sold together. Because you can’t you if you need one, you need the other kind of thing. So the legal page sells it as a bundle. But you’ll see that it’s you know, two separate things. And obviously, if you’re buying it from another virtual attorney online, or you’re, you know, however you’re getting these documents, if your attorney like down the street is actually drawing drafting them up from you, then you’ll copy and paste those documents onto a page on your website. So the privacy policy, like I said, is all about the privacy of people giving you their information or cookie tracking, or anything along those lines. They can unsubscribe, it’s really the who, what, when, where and why have you give it getting their information and using their information for your business terms and conditions is when someone’s on your website? What is the terms and conditions of them being there?

Bernel
Oh, my goodness, that was literally like a crash course. In all things legal. I feel like oh, my goodness, I once again, being completely transparent guys, and I’ve been in business for like six years. I did not realize how I’m married, I guess Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy where? Um, so that’s good. If you have if you need one, you need the other. That’s that’s what I just got from that.

Paige Griffith
Yeah, absolutely. And the one thing I just want to reiterate legally is like terms and conditions actually aren’t legally required to be on your website. I think that’s why you probably see entrepreneurs just like sticking up websites, and they don’t have any of these things at the bottom. Because there’s nobody that’s like going to come sue you, or that’s going to file a claim against you. If you don’t have terms and conditions on your website. It’s just a good idea to protect yourself. Like it’s a I think it’s a must have contract for an online business owner. But a privacy policy is required when you start doing XYZ like adding people to your email list or if you have a checkout process, right, and you’re getting any of their credit card information and personal information boom. You know, you’re in the category of I absolutely need a privacy policy.

Bernel
For sure, for sure. So that needs to be in everybody’s website footer. Okay, so if you if you’re listening to this, go check your footer. If it’s not there. You know what you need to work on this week? Yeah. All right. There’s a few other contracts that I feel like people probably need correct with digital products.

Paige Griffith
Yeah, absolutely. So let’s just walk through here. If you’re doing X, what contract do you need? So if you have an online shop, usually it’s like a D E commerce shop for people that are listening in. That’s really passive income. You’re not you don’t have a passive income revenue stream if you are selling tangible products, because I mean, unless you have the whole back end set up like with a warehouse and employees and all that, but again, it’s not you’re still trading their time for the end product to get to the consumer. So de commerce is different. It is full blown passive income because the minute you said everything up and it’s automated for them to get the digital product to their email upon purchase, like basically instantaneously or within, you know, a quick five minutes or less, then it’s passive income, right? Once you do all the front end work, then you’re reaping the monetary benefits from there on out, obviously, there’s probably going to be like maintenance that you need to do on, you know, your website and the products and those type of things. But when you sell that digital product, that I’m saying, like it’s a digital product here, and this is a, I just have to be clear there because I think people think they can do this for product purchases, you need to have a digital product purchase and use agreement. So it’s going to be kind of similar to some of the clauses that you have in that website terms and conditions, like I said, but it’s the user agreement that they agree to at checkout. So if you let me, for example, if you are going and buying like email templates, from someone that’s reputable in the industry, they’re going to have a digital product purchase and use agreement that you’re gonna get those email templates, literally within seconds of you clicking the Checkout button, and then they can’t control whether you use those email template, once you download them, whether you use them, what how you use them, what you use them for, like you are agreeing to acquiring that product. And usually there’s not going to be a refund. In most instances that are like de commerce products, you are absolutely most likely not going to offer refunds because of the instantaneous use from the user. So you just want to make sure that this type of contract is agreed to your customers prior to purchasing. And it needs to be conspicuously disclosed on your checkout page. So it’s going to be linked right next to in the footer, your website Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy, then you’re probably just going to have like a purchase and use agreement. And people can click on that. So they could look at it prior to purchasing. But most people aren’t going to do that. Right. So you have to make sure that in your checkout form, you have people agreed to this prior to checking out. A lot of us don’t even know we’re doing this. Every time we’re purchasing something, because right above, you know, the checkout like button, it says you agree to this. And that’s sufficient legally, that is sufficient. I think a checkbox is always good. I think like a little bit more voluntary. action on behalf of the customer is a good idea. We hear the legal page because our contract templates, there’s so much obviously professional like certifications that go into play to create those. And they get the product immediately. We aren’t we don’t offer refunds. Because of that, it’s like they’re getting a 10 page document from us that we it took us years to create, essentially, and a lot of time and effort and education to do that. And we always also, because of that, before people even get to our checkout, they have to click the box. So on the checkout page, where it like list the products that you have in your cart, then when it goes to like proceed to next step, that’s where we have a voluntary checkbox, so that people know like, I’m not even going to move forward in the checkout process without agreeing to this. And so you can do it that way. If you kind of have a product, I would say similar to us where it you just want to make it super, super clear to the purchaser. on them agreeing to those. We’ve never had an issue, which is nice, probably because people don’t want to mess with an attorney.

Bernel
I don’t think people want to try to get over on an attorney legally. Yeah,

Paige Griffith
but they. But it’s also like I said, Bernel. It just goes back to like, we can point to that we can point to them agreeing to it if there is an issue. And usually, we you know, we do have customer you know, questions and inquiries regarding you know things about their digital products, but we can always point back to things and we just try to resolve them in a nice kind way. But you’re protecting yourself from that situation with a digital product and purchase use agreement. So the one thing I will say is these are usually small you guys, that’s the last thing I wanted to say. So if you’ve heard the term click wrap agreement, like a little click wrap agreement, you know, like the little boxes that you see at checkout, sometimes that you have to scroll, and they’re pretty small and then you like once you get to the bottom. Then you can click Submit. That’s a click wrap agreement. It’s like really short and sweet. You agree to these terms, or it’s like a little paragraph sometimes at checkout, you’ve probably seen that as well. That’s a click wrap agreement, where it’s literally the terms and conditions of the purchase are listed out right there. And you’re maybe hitting like four big points of them purchasing that product from you. So any questions Bernau follow up on digital product purchasing use agreements, and then I’ll just quickly get into the other two, the other two are pretty simple.

Bernel
No, I think that one’s really, really good. So I think that you answered the only question I had with the click wrap agreement was we’ve seen on websites where it’s like, due to the nature of this product? Um, you know, we don’t offer refunds, because you automatically received the product. Does that suffice? I mean, obviously, they can read the full product and purchase agreement in the footer. But does that kind of suffice on the checkout page?

Paige Griffith
Yeah, absolutely suffices, I would say like, if you have more terms, just link to the digital product purchase and use agreement. But that’s usually the biggest one, you literally hit the nail on the head there, that is the biggest one that they need to understand. And so literally spelling that out is like an additional click wrap agreement to the digital product purchase and use agreement. So it’s like they’re agreeing to both at checkout. love that idea. Awesome. Okay, so the next two are just other ways that you may be selling things online passively, an online course, or kind of a membership program, that’s like a new thing now that people are really into, it’s a way to get people’s like foot in the door at a lower price. And then they can kind of opt out at any time like Netflix, right, you still have to like give a 30 day cancellation notice. But it’s a good way for them an online course could be right 500 to $1,000, give or take, you know, more or less depending on what type of course it is. But they’re usually higher ticket offers. And then a membership program is usually a foot in the door low or lower ticket offer to like, generate goodwill with that potential customer that may buy your online course, or may actually work with you like one on one coaching in the future or something like that. So a membership program has to have a membership program agreement, you know, the done Tada, like, of course, it needs to have that. And it’s gonna cover things such as your member fees, right, the first month is due at purchase. And then what’s your cancellation procedure for future months, and like, when can they cancel and they won’t be charged again, terms of your membership. So usually, it’s like continual access to your membership hosting platform, as long as the customer pays those monthly dues, any type of bonuses they get at the time of purchase, right, you might be launching your membership program at various times throughout the year. And if you’re like in a live launch mode, or you’re offering a specific bonus, at a certain period of time ever, maybe it’s still an evergreen, you know, situation where you’re launching that that bonus is only available at that time. So that’s really important to disclose because sometimes people will find out in a membership, oh, this person got that bonus, but I didn’t. And then they’re grass for it. You got to have that in your membership program agreement, any type of like storage of information within the membership, like, what can they download and keep? And what what are they not able to communication with students, you know, any type of open communication, or, you know, screen grabs from your business to use for marketing materials, like they have to agree to that in this membership agreement. And I think people forget, they think, Oh, it’s a membership program, they’re going to jump into a Facebook group. And now I can use whatever in that Facebook group for my own marketing and advertising for the membership program for future use. And you can’t unless you get there, okay with that. And then just like waiver of liability that you don’t guarantee automatic results, right, they have to put in the effort to get the results, that kind of thing. So that’s a membership program agreement. And then an online course agreement is essentially what it says you’re agreeing to the terms and conditions of joining the online course. It’s very similar, right? But usually, the policies are going to be a little more clear with like the fee that they used to purchase is it for like a one time fee and installment plan fee chargebacks Dun dun dun. We all know about chargebacks they happen a lot with online courses or big ticket offers. If people are like asking for a refund and they don’t get it from you, then they’ll file a chargeback. It’s just this like crappy situation we’re all dealing with in the online world. Like what are your policies on chargeback? So put that in your course agreement, refund request right communicating outside of the course, I think some people think, Oh, I get into an online course. And now I have full access to you. But like forever and ever verb questions? No, usually it’s just in the course platform. And then confidentiality and copyright ownership because I’ve seen it Bernal, it’s, it’s so sucky honestly, I don’t know a better word for that. But my legal clients, my one on one legal clients through my law firms, it is crazy how many issues I get with copyright infringement from students in online course, is basically taking your online course, and then repurposing it and selling it either in their own online course, or they start like a group coaching program, and they’re teaching literally the exact same thing. So I see it more often than not, so make sure that you’re protecting yourself before that happens. You can’t like, you know, you can tell people not to infringe, and, but you can’t control what they do. But at least now you have a footing to stand on that they agreed to not do that the copyright ownership is yours, they cannot use it for commercial purposes, or repurpose for anything other than their personal use. And, you know, for them their benefit for their business, whatever you’re teaching in the online course that they can, like, take it and, you know, basically commercially profit off of it. So those are the three, like I said, if you’re selling digital products, a purchase and use agreement, a membership program agreement, if you have a membership program and an online course agreement if you have that. And like I said, all of those are just going to be linked at checkout.

Bernel
Oh, my goodness. Yes. That is that’s incredible. I think the one that really stuck out to me was chargebacks, because that is something that I think every industry is facing right now. If you sell some sort of product, people are like, Oh, great, I didn’t like it. I’ll call my bank, we’ll do a chargeback. Boom, the and so there may be a clause that needs to be in all digital products.

Paige Griffith
Yeah, it absolutely needs to, obviously be on your terms and conditions, whether that’s, you know, your product purchase and use agreement or, you know, online course membership agreement. chargebacks are just one of these things that I just don’t, there’s not an easy way to solve it. So, people come to me all the time and asked me questions about chargebacks. And really, it’s like, it’s a fight, it’s fight with the bank, and you need to kind of put on your big girl pants and you need to fight because if you just keep letting chargebacks happen, then people are going to get accustomed to you allowing that and it really looks like you allow refunds. So you know, be ready to deal with chargebacks there are lots of companies out there, you know, the bigger your template shop gets or the bigger your online course gets, you can outsource that and hire people to deal with chargeback situations. Which is nice. If you guys are kind of a nonconfrontational business owner that I think that’s a great way to go. But just know as Bernard said, it’s a reality in our industry and it’s we just have to be prepared for it. So yeah,

Bernel
and it’s not great, but I will say I have won a chargeback. I um, yeah, you’re your lawyer I’m sure that’s probably your like, yeah, your your bag you’re good at that. Um, but I will tell you if you’re not in the legal field that is the scariest feeling ever, like when that happens and you know that you did what you said you were gonna do as a business owner, you know, when you know that you gave the product and they received it and you even see them using it on social media. And then they do this chargeback it’s yeah, it’s a gut wrenching feeling. hate it, don’t wish it on anybody. But in the case that I won with that it was due to my contract. It was due that the contract explicitly said that you signed this or you know, you hit the checkbox. Um, so yeah, I’m just saying that you really do need to have these things in place because it can happen to you. Even if you are nonconfrontational nice business owner. Everybody’s not nonconfrontational.

Paige Griffith
Yeah. And also, as Bernal said, like, you are just building your evidential proof that this chargeback is BS. Like, that is what we’re trying to tell you on this podcast episode. If you take anything away, it’s like these are screen grabs that then you can present as if any of you have E commerce sites or E commerce sites, you know that like the back end platform will alert you to a chargeback issue and then they’ll say what’s your response and this is the like, make it easy on yourself. Don’t be in a he said she said situation and trying to like say well, they you know, they took this and they they I think they use this In blah, blah, blah and like now, you know, they’re I think they’re using the product like No, like they agreed to this screen, grab the checkout, they, you know, here’s my product purchase and use agreement like you are having all of these levels of proof that show that they are they’re doing this for the wrong reasons like the chargeback isn’t legitimate. And usually that’s an easy way to win chargebacks. The last thing I want to say here on chargebacks. And then we can move on is people have bigger issues with PayPal chargebacks are not like here to like drag on PayPal or anything. Because it is a great platform for getting payment from people because it’s easy, right? They don’t have to put in their credit card information. They know their like login to PayPal, we’ve all done it. We all know it’s easy to purchase things through PayPal. But PayPal, oftentimes sides with the customer for chargeback issues. And I think you can win a PayPal chargeback, I’m not saying you can’t. So I’m not dragging on PayPal, but it’s a lot more challenging. So if you are someone who maybe experiences a couple of chargebacks in your online passive income journey, and you want to avoid them at all costs, perhaps take a Pay Pal like payment option off your checkout. And maybe you can relieve yourself a little bit of pain. But like I said, I just I like to tell people and disclose it to people before it actually happens. I’m sure there’s people nodding their heads listening to this like yeah, we’ve all heard Pay Pal is not the mean. But double edged sword. It’s literally a double edged sword. I mean, why wouldn’t you want it to be easy for your customers to check out? So like use PayPal, right? But also like deal with the consequences of using PayPal? So

Bernel
yes, I’m sitting over here like a bobble head. You guys can’t see me. But I’m like, Oh, my goodness. Yes. Because as I said, I have won a chargeback. But I did not win a PayPal charge back. So it’s just and that’s something that we talk about as business owners in a lot of online communities. They’re like, Oh, no, somebody, like put up a Pay Pal chargeback and everybody’s like, Oh, you’re not gonna win. Like you’ll see like 25 comments underneath. And I love what you said page. It’s not impossible to win it. In fact, you’re you’re really improving your odds if you bad this contrary. You know, I do think that you have to weigh the pros with the cons with using Pay Pal at checkout, and I’ll leave it there. Sounds good? Yes. Okay, well, I felt like that thoroughly, thoroughly covered online contracts where like passive income products, I really feel like you’ve thoroughly covered that there wasn’t one more key thing that you need it to have in place with passive income products. So what was that last item? Yeah,

Paige Griffith
intellectual property protection. So I’m just going to quickly go go through this and, you know, I know I want to be aware of everybody’s time here. Um, but it’s good to know about trademarking and copyrighting. And this is particularly for like online courses or digital products that have some type of copyright ownership behind them, right like a design if there’s like, graphics, you’re selling those type of things. So there’s two ways to protect your intellectual property through trademarking or copyrighting. Trademarks protect brand names, business names, slogans, while copyrights protect original works fixed in a tangible medium, also known as your core slides, your PDF downloads, those are copyrightable if you have a super unique name for your online course that you want to ensure no one ever takes that is trademarked. So federal trademarks cost there. I mean, if you’re filing it yourself, and you can figure out the process through the archaic you USPTO website, somewhere around like 300 to $600. If you hire an attorney to do it for you anywhere from about 1500 to 2000. I always suggest going through an attorney because I can promise you, you’re going to get into hiccups with the application process. It’s just confusing, and it’s better to work with an intellectual property attorney who knows how to work with the you know, examining trademark attorneys on the other side of the page. So trademarking is all about your business name and then your sub business names right. So your online course would be a sub business name, maybe your membership program is like a really cool, sub brand name of yours that you want to trademark. So obviously trademarking is something you want to do before somebody actually infringes. So if you do have that unique name, I would look into it sooner rather than later and just talk to an attorney about it. And that’s where I’ll end there. But similarly, for copyrighting purposes, the trademark process is through the United States Patent and Trademark Office, the copyright process is through the US Copyright Office. So they are two different things people like try to use them interchangeably, I promise you legally, they are not the same.

Bernel
They will not hold up in a court of law Yeah, and then know when not

Paige Griffith
so unique core slides PDF contents that your students have access to, like Brunel said, if you have a stock photography, business, you own the copyrights to those images. But if you’re selling the stock photography, you need to explain what your assignment of that copyright is, what type of like limited commercial uses, can they use that stock photography for it, I would say it’s probably a limited use, and they can’t then go resell that again to third parties that they can only use it for their own business purposes. So all to say, like getting these things copyrighted is a really good idea. And you can just this allows you to put that copyright symbol right the see with the circle at the bottom of your PDF or at the bottom of your core slides. And I would also suggest you get an attorney to file copyright registrations for you. But it is a little bit easier to DIY yourself than a trademark. So you can just go to the US Copyright Office website and kind of check through, they have lots of tutorials on how to file a copyright registration. If you are registering just one work, it doesn’t cost that much somewhere between 45 to $65. But I’m just going to reiterate here that copyright is a little different than trademarking, where cost, you have some like immediate copyright ownership, common law protections, the minute you create products, so lots of people don’t have to go get their copyrights registered. It’s always I think, a good idea, you can sue for automatic damages, you don’t have to prove damages, so on and so forth. I won’t get into it here. But the you know, you can put your copyright ownership in your digital product purchase and use agreement in your online course agreement, that is absolutely a necessity, make sure you explain who owns the copyrights to what, and if they infringe on that copyright or on the assignment and they go beyond the limited assignment that you gave them? What are the repercussions that needs to be in your contracts?

Bernel
Yes, oh, my goodness, that is so good. So one thing I wanted to clarify, with copyright, it needs to be for each individual piece of work, can you get really copyright all of your PDFs under one bundle? Or am I understanding that correctly?

Paige Griffith
You You can but it’s just going to cost more. Yeah, so you can bundle it. Usually people just do like one work at a time. Like you would want to copyright like you would want to register your copyrights for online course slides or like a PDF, you’re really worried about them taking the template and selling it. stock photography, I mean, you’re not going to go in to the US Copyright Office, online and register every single stock photo like that is where the line is just put that in your you know, contract that they what they can do with these photos, you own common law rights to those to the copyright ownership of those photos. So there’s really no need to go and file registrations. It’s for the bigger things for now. Like the bigger bigger content, things you’re producing for your online passive income. Look into copyright registration for those.

Bernel
Excellent. Wow, I feel like you guys, I hope at home, you took tons of notes, bookmark this episode, save this, because that answered a lot of really big questions that I feel like people have no idea where to start.

Paige Griffith
I’m so glad and it was really an honor to be here. I hope you guys learned a lot. I know it was it was like seven a lot down your throats. But honestly, like, if you just take a couple of takeaways from this, I promise you you’re going to be better protected on the back end.

Bernel
Yes, for sure. And so Paige has put together this incredible free guide It’s entitled How to set up your biz for a profitable and legal passive income stream. I will link that in the show notes but make sure you grab a copy of that for sure. Um, because it has a checklist like it definitely is something that you I suggest check like it’s some thing that you refer back to at least once a year, um, print it out, put it with the rest of your documents and refer back to it yearly just to make sure that you are keeping things legally legit, as Paige says, I love that. So thank you so much.

Paige Griffith
Yeah, thanks for having me, you guys you can grab that at the legal page.com forward slash passive income guide all lowercase. And if you have any further questions you can it’s I don’t like beat around the bush you can find me at the legal P ai je e basically on any social media platform on our own podcast on your favorite listening app, and you can feel free to check out our YouTube channel as well if you’re more of a visual visual person, but if you just type in the legal pa ige.com Anywhere you’ll find us.

Bernel
Wonderful and all of those links will be in the show notes guys. Thanks Paige. Thank you

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