What You Can and Can’t Use For Marketing

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.


Get caught?

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.

Client Approved


"Our company has worked with a number of patent attorneys and were so pleased when we began working with Parsons & Goltry nearly a decade ago. Mike Goltry's knowledge and attention to detail has enabled us to have numerous products patented and trademarks registered. We highly recommend this Law Firm."

- Sharon K.


"Michael Goltry is the most professional, honest and effective patent attorney whom I ever met in my 40 year professional engineering career. I started to work with him over 20 years ago and plan to work indefinitely."

- Zoltan Kemeny, PhD, Struct. Eng.


"Mr. Goltry took a provisional patent that we'd filed ourselves, and quickly and professionally turned our innovation into U.S. and foreign applications. His [patent claims] were a thing of beauty, and I was amazed by how deftly he countered the inevitable office actions. His language held up, and the U.S. Patent just issued. He was easy and efficient to work with, and his fees were remarkably reasonable. We're not planning to go anywhere else, ever."

- Ski Milburn, CEO, Victori, LLC


"I applied for a patent through Parsons & Goltry. After being on the docket for 2 years at the USPTO, I received notification that my patent request had been denied. Michael Goltry contacted me immediately to review my options. After I informed him of my decision to move forward, he filed a response to the USPTO. In his response he got the examiner to fully understand the claims in the patent application and the "denied" decision was reversed. I was able to secure and receive a "patent granted" decision. Thank you, Michael Goltry."

- Kathy H., Inventor


10643 North Frank Lloyd

Wright Blvd. Suite 201

Scottsdale, AZ 85259

Phone: (480) 991-3435

Open 9-5pm Monday - Friday

Arizona’s premiere patent attorneys serving clients throughout the U.S. and internationally for almost 30 years.

Located in Scottsdale, Arizona, we serve clients locally as well as throughout the United States and across the world.