Pictures Are Worth More Than You Think
Like, thousands of dollars more. Imagine this. You need an image for your post, ad, or blog. You find the perfect one on Google Images, not worrying about the source thinking “it will probably be fine” or “no one really checks”. The next month you get a Cease and Desist in the mail and have to pay a fine to the tune of $8,000. No one wants this, especially smaller businesses who don’t have money to spare. Here’s what you need to know to avoid receiving this dreaded letter in the mail.
Let’s start off with the basics. What is copyright? According to the US Copyright Office, “Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture”. Any and all registered creative works including images, videos, music, etc. are protected by Copyright laws and any unfair use of said works will entitle the creator of those works monetary compensation. Basically, you need permission to use an image, video or anything of the like with only one exception to this rule being “Fair Use”. “Fair Use” means you can use the work without the permission of the owner if it is beneficial to the public. This exception tends to fall into a gray area and the court tends to rule in favor of the copyright holder in these cases, so providing evidence that your use of their work was “beneficial to the public” can be tricky.
It sounds like you’d have to go through worlds of trouble just to get consent to use one measly image, which can be the case. There are, however, many options as to how you can get images to use for your business/marketing campaigns without worrying about legal liabilities. A good way to go about this is to simply buy stock photos. RAC uses websites like Adobe Stock, Deposit Photos, Shutterstock in conjunction with a graphic design program to make photos unique to the brand of each client! This is the best way to go about things as paying for the image gives you complete jurisdiction to use the image however you would like; you also won’t have to anxiously check your mail for weeks wondering if someone noticed your infringement.
Navigating the ins and outs of copyrighting can be difficult, but here at RAC we strive to keep you informed when it comes to these tricky laws. Let us create your content and deal with the logistics, so you can focus on growing your business! Contact Us to learn more!