Welcome back to our "IP 101" series. Let's get right to the questions.
I have e-published and self published a couple children's books. Do I need to do more to protect the books from someone copying the idea?
If you self-publish your book then you still have copyright protection. If you think that you may need to pursue litigation at some point, you should register the books with the Copyright Office.
We create seminar handouts that are IP; what would we need to do to protect that information?
Copy is covered by the same rules as other content creations. Once you commit your handouts or original work to paper or electronic formats, you have copyright on it. You may also wish to put the © and year, along with company name on the seminar info.
Can I get IP protection for my own creation (a podcast) that I proposed to a business? They will pay me to produce it, and will post it on their website.
When you create the podcast, you are the copyright owner and you can then choose to register it with the Copyright office. You then decide what rights you want to selling to the business. Are you retaining ownership so that you can sell to others, or are you giving up your rights to your client? Whatever you choose, please make sure whatever decision is made that you enter into an agreement in writing.
I send out a newsletter to half of the states in USA and a few internationally. I put SM after the name of the newsletter. Am I protected in those states I send to?
While I certainly couldn't offer a legal opinion, it seems as though you are following the right steps, at least here in the US. It is important to remember, hovever, that if someone stole your name in the US, you would have to take action to get them to stop, and it requires registration with the USPTO to be able to pursue legal measures. Just having a common law service mark. And remember, anything in the US only applies to the US, so if someone should steal your content internationally, you would have to pursue a different course of action.