In the world of marketing and advertising, originality is everything. Being the first to say it or create it gives you an edge on the competition. Today there are so many people creating an incredible amount of content for all kinds of marketing purposes. With all this content floating around, and a lot of it in a digital format, knowing what is and isn’t under copyright protection isn’t easy.
Here’s a few things to keep in mind about marketing and copyright.
If it’s not yours, don’t use it.
This is a great rule of thumb to use. Unless you have explicit written permission from the person you have verified as the owner, don’t use anything you didn’t create. It doesn’t matter if it’s 3 seconds of a song, a small portion of a picture, a few words of an article, or a video clip.
If you use work that isn’t yours, even if you’re not making any money using the work, the owner can claim damages for copyright infringement.
Err on the side of caution.
If you stumble across something you want to use, but aren’t sure if it’s fair game, always assume it’s protected by copyright law. There are only a few reasons content will be free to use, and if it is, it will be clearly marked.
Using copyrighted work without a license, even if it was accidental, can cost you. Copyright laws are set up to give the creator the utmost protection and will hold you responsible for infringement.
Content creators have become very protective of their work and are aggressive when taking legal action. This goes double for stock photos websites. If you get a letter claiming you used unlicensed work and asking for money, you have two options: pay up or fight it in court.
Paying the fine can be expensive, but sometimes you can negotiate to lower the price. If you go to court, get ready for a tough fight. Proving innocence in these cases isn’t easy, and if you’re fighting a large company, their lawyers know what they’re doing.
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