We want to encourage everyone who takes our courses or reads our book to spread the word about Building a Second Brain, to share what they’ve learned, and to make their own contributions to the PKM ecosystem.

At the same time, we need to make sure we protect the intellectual property we’ve invested in. That’s why we put together the following guidelines to help our customers, followers, and collaborators distinguish between what’s proprietary and what’s not.

The purpose of these guidelines is not to grant or take away any rights or permissions. This document is meant to be purely explanatory. In particular, our legal team wants us to emphasize that nothing here should be understood as legal advice or as any sort of license.

Building a Second Brain Content

<aside> 📌 Original works of creative expression are protected by U.S. and international copyright law. For Building a Second Brain, that includes all the course materials—the lecture slides, the recordings, the worksheets, the exercises and activities, the written content, etc.—as well as the overall organization and framework of the course curriculum (for example, the selection of topics, the number of modules/units, and the order in which they’re presented), all of which is owned by Forte Labs, LLC.


What copyright doesn’t protect, however, are facts or ideas. Here are some dos and don'ts:

Do Share What You Learn. We encourage everyone to take the skills and expertise they gain from Building a Second Brain and pass it on. Teach others about key concepts. Blog about how you’re applying them to your own pursuits. Give a presentation to your colleagues. We may own our content, but your knowledge is your own. Don’t Distribute Our Course Materials without Permission. We worked hard and invested considerable resources to develop our content: our lecture slides, recordings, worksheets, exercises and activities, written content, etc. These materials are all proprietary to Forte Labs, and many are registered with the U.S. Copyright Office. Please don’t upload, publish, or share copies without asking us first.
Do Get Inspired. You can also use what you learn from Building a Second Brain to make your own thing. Whether it’s designing a new notetaking tool or launching a productivity coaching business, if you have something to contribute to the field of personal knowledge management, go for it! We’d love nothing more than to see the concepts we’ve taught in Building a Second Brain provide a foundation that inspires further creativity and innovation. Don’t Plagiarize Our Work. We don’t claim to own the ideas underlying Building a Second Brain. But the way that those ideas are organized and communicated is our original creative expression, protected by U.S. and international copyright law. You can’t just take our content, change a word or pixel here or there, and claim it as your own. If the overall look and feel of the work is the same, it’s still copying.
Do Link to Our Content. If we’ve made something publicly available online, feel free to share or publish the link. U.S. courts have consistently found that it’s perfectly okay to republish linked content, as long as you’re not actually making copies of the original. Don’t Copy Our Course Framework. Our creative work product isn’t limited to just the individual bits of content we publish; it also extends to how we organize and present those materials within the context of a course curriculum. Don’t just use our course as a template, wrap it in a new box, and call it an original product.

The Building a Second Brain Brand

<aside> 📌 There are a number of names and symbols associated with Building a Second Brain. These are trademarks of Forte Labs. Many, like “BUILDING A SECOND BRAIN,” are the subject of registrations issued by the trademark offices of the United States, European Union, and/or other governing bodies around the world. This means that Forte Labs has the exclusive right to use these phrases (or anything confusingly similar) as commercial designations.


However, it doesn’t mean that we claim any ownership over the words themselves in the abstract. For example:

Do Talk about Building a Second Brain®. BUILDING A SECOND BRAIN may be a registered trademark in multiple countries around the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use that phrase when you refer to the course. Whether you’re offering praise or criticism, don’t hesitate to call us by our name. Don’t Call Your Product “Building a Second Brain.” Obviously, you can’t just launch your own course and call it “Building a Second Brain.” How would anyone tell us apart? But we also don’t want a bunch of businesses out there calling themselves “Constructing a Second Brain” or “Building a Third Brain” or “Fuilding a Fecond Frain.” That’s true whether you’re offering a competing course or just a related product. Even if savvy users might know who’s who, the potential for confusion and brand dilution is still there. Human language is versatile; call yourself something different.
Do Share the Concept of a “Second Brain.” We believe Forte Labs largely popularized the phrase “second brain” in the context of personal knowledge management. That said, we’re thrilled to see the terminology catch on. If you want to talk about outsourcing traditional cognitive functions to technology, we think “second brain” is a perfectly good shorthand. Don’t Imply You’re Affiliated with Forte Labs. Even if your product or service is called something totally different, you also shouldn’t toss our trademarks around in a way that might suggest Forte Labs gave its approval or was otherwise somehow involved.