Copyright laws can be tricky. For instance, finding the perfect image for a blog post or social media content can be difficult. However, getting it wrong could cost you twice or even four times as much.
The demand for quality content is on. Today small business owners are sharing their story via social media in unique ways. This helps them become digital marketers in their own right. Although, with such demand, comes the desire to look for the easy solution. For instance, copying images, content or forgetting copyright laws altogether come into play.
Creating and using content
In Australia when someone creates something original, it becomes copyright automatically. If you take someone else’s content or image without their prior consent, you could face liability for copyright infringement. You will need to request for permission in order to use their content or image. However you have to understand the website’s copyright policy and comply accordingly. For instance, content in the creative commons need to be used based on certain guidelines.
Are you in breach of copyright laws?
Go back to your website or streams of content and look out for images or posts that you may have used without permission.
On social media, you are right to share content from other pages. However, if that page is using an image or content that breaches copyright laws, then there is a risk that will make you liable for copyright infringement as well. More so, if you are sharing that image or content on a business website and not merely for personal use. If you don’t want a cease and desist letter then be sure you are using original content. It’s that simple. This can be a bit frustrating particularly as a small business owner against a large well-resourced organisation.
So how can you promote your products and services online without fear of risking copyright infringement?
Kate Hamer, Principal Lawyer & Trade Marks Attorney at Ethikate, shares her top tips with us below:
- Use reputable stock websites to purchase images. The cost to purchase these images is low compared to the potential cost of a copyright infringement claim.
- If you see a particular image or content that you really want to use from another source, read their terms and conditions carefully. This will help you see whether they will grant a license or allow usage of their material. If they don’t, then reach out in writing and ask for permission.
- Even if you do get consent to the material, there is still a risk. The benefits of using material that breaches copyright is simply not worth it. (though it usually doesn’t!).
Always Use Content That Allows Free Use
- Use online tools like Google images and Grammarly to see whether an image or content is used anywhere else and potentially owned by someone else.
- Get your own unique images and material prepared either by you, your team members, or outsource it.
- If you outsource to designers, photographers or copywriters make sure you have a deed of assignment that transfers the ownership of the copyright to you.
- Don’t forget to protect your own copyright material! Use copyright notices, the copyright symbol and where you can, watermark your images.
Whilst these tips are not foolproof and you should always seek professional advice, they can help prevent you from infringing on someone else’s copyright which will save you a lot of money, time and heartache.