How To Make Sure Your Online Brand Isn’t Violating Copyright Laws

May 15, 2018 Linkage Interns

Sometimes, people get too fond of the internet and they forget that the pinnacle of everything that’s in it is of human creation. With the fast-paced, casual, and numerous sharing and use of internet content, people forget the biggest rule of all on the internet—copyright Laws. It may just be one little photo or one little quote but, if you don’t check in with the copyright laws, you might incur a pretty massive damage to your brand. Here’s how to avoid that:

1. Learn the Copyright Basics

Copyright is an automatic right. Once you drop off something on the internet, all rights and responsibilities of that nugget is yours. No one can use it without your permission. However, for you to actually garner the right to sue someone over your work, you must have it registered. And that is the same for everybody. Learning and engraving the copyright basics in your mind already gets you so far ahead in keeping your brand safe. Once you learn about copyright, you’ll know exactly what you’ll be afraid off and from there, you can really start to take the steps to avoid infringement.

2. Don’t Assume That Everything is Covered by Fair Use

Fair use allows the unlicensed use of copyright-protected works in certain circumstances. Some of these circumstances are criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Though fair use was created to promote the freedom of expression, the law still has guidelines to follow to classify whether the use of internet content was within fair use. Attributing to the author isn’t enough so don’t assume that everything can be covered by Fair Use.

3. Don’t Skip the Terms

Social media is one of the most significant marketing tools of online brands right now. But how many of them actually read the terms and conditions of the apps they use before they establish their brands there? Though every terms and conditions document seems to be the same, each platform has different rules regarding user and company security. You should know what works for one thing and what doesn’t for the other. It’ll help you protect your brand’s identity further and prevent any problems in the long run.

4. Get Permission Then Give Credit, Not The Other Way Around

Permission is a very important thing when it comes to copyright. And it’s only a simple matter of asking. A lot of people are willing to share their work as long as due credit is given. If you’re in doubt about a piece of work, all it takes is a simple email and a bit of your time. Undoubtedly, the creator would appreciate that, as long as you’re going to make decent use of his or her work of course. “Without permission” is the key phrase you’ll want to avoid for the rest of your online brand’s existence.

5. Buy Your Content

This is the safest way to toss content around and reuse it as much as you want since its rights have been handed over to you. If you’re looking to establish brand identity and brand security, this is actually the best way to do it. You’ll have full command over your content and you won’t be on the short end of the legal stick this time. There are numerous sites that cater to these types of needs like Shutterstock, Bigstock, and iStock.

6. Know the Public Domain

If you’re not interested in buying your own content, then learn your way around the public domain of the internet. These websites are brimming with images that are copyright restriction free and are intended for public use. Some of these websites include Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons, Pixabay etc. However, always take note to read the sharing section of the images. Though they are within the public domain, some content publishers still have certain restrictions on the use of their content. — Liezel Stephanie Lawagan, SLU

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