influencer from texas who is recording a video and needs to know about copyright and trademark laws
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By Sanjeev Kumar
Founding Attorney

Trademark and copyright laws can significantly impact the work of social influencers in Texas, as they provide content creation and brand collaboration. As influencers create and share content across various platforms, they must know the legal boundaries set by these laws to avoid infringing on the intellectual property rights of others. Copyright law protects original works of authorship, such as videos, photographs, and written posts, while trademark law covers brands, logos, and other identifiers that distinguish goods or services. Violating these laws can lead to legal disputes, financial penalties, and damage to an influencer’s reputation. As a result, understanding and respecting trademark and copyright regulations is crucial for influencers to maintain their credibility and ensure the validity of their online presence.

Trademark Laws Applied To Influencers In Texas

A trademark is a way of distinguishing the goods or services of one business from those of other companies. Trademarks protect brand names, slogans, logos, and other identifiers related to goods and services.

Influencers often develop brand names, logos, or catchphrases to identify themselves and their services. Registering these as trademarks can provide legal protection against unauthorized use by others, which is especially important as the brand grows. The challenge is that influencers must be careful not to infringe on existing trademarks within their content. It is essential to avoid the unauthorized use of branded products in a way that might suggest endorsement or partnership or using similar brand identifiers that could confuse the audience about where the goods and services originate.

Texas trademark owners can enforce their rights against individuals or companies that infringe on products in federal or state courts. Influencers who use registered trademarks without permission may face lawsuits and must pay damages, surrender profits, and stop using the infringing characteristics.

Copyright Laws Applied To Influencers In Texas

Copyright protects original works of authorship, such as books, music, movies, and, importantly for influencers, photographs and videos. Copyright gives the creator exclusive rights to use, reproduce, distribute, and display the work.  Since influencers create a lot of content, which typically includes videos, photographs, and writing posts, it is believed that they own the copyright to the content they create, assuming it is original and fixed in a tangible medium. As a result, they control how their content is used and distributed.

Suppose influencers use music clips from movies or TV shows, photographs, or other copyrighted materials they did not create. In that case, influencers need to obtain permission from the copyright holders (unless the use qualifies as fair use under the exceptions to the copyright law). Ignoring this can lead to copyright infringement claims.

The fair use doctrine is a critical legal exception to be aware of and can be a crucial aspect for influencers regarding copyrights and trademarks. Fair use allows limited use of copyrighted material without permission for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, and teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use, scholarship, or research. It is primarily applicable in the United States under 17 USC Code section 107.  For example, the court may consider transformative uses (modifying, commenting on, or giving new expression to the original work) more favorably under this factor. However, fair use is a complex area, and what constitutes fair use can vary depending on the circumstances. 

Fair use in trademark law is a bit different from copyright law. It generally covers two types:

  • Descriptive Fair Use: This allows the use of a trademarked term to describe the user’s products or services rather than as a trademark. This is allowed when using the term in a descriptive rather than a source-identifying sense.
  • Nominative Fair Use: This allows using another’s trademark to refer to the trademarked goods or services. It applies where there is no reasonable way to describe the product or service without using the trademark and where the user does not imply sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder.

In copyright and trademark law, the application of the fair use doctrine depends heavily on the specific circumstances of each case. However, fair use is complex, and what constitutes fair use can vary depending on the specific facts involved. As a result, courts typically analyze these factors on a case-by-case basis.

Copyright owners can file lawsuits against infringers, seeking damages and injunctive relief. For influencers, this can mean monetary penalties and the removal of infringing content.


Social influencers in Texas must navigate these legal principles carefully. They should consider consulting with experienced business law attorneys to ensure they understand these laws, especially regarding trademark and copyright issues. The Kumar Law Firm can provide the proper legal guidance and help you avoid infringement issues if you are an influencer. We will guide you in protecting your creative works and brand identity.

About the Author
Sanjeev Kumar is the founder and principal at the Kumar Law Firm, which provides a wide range of legal services to entrepreneurs and business owners in the area of business & corporate law and intellectual property along with related areas of interest to clients such as business succession planning, wealth preservation through estate planning, and alternate dispute resolution.