I’m going to take a wild guess and say that before clicking on this article, copyrights and the laws governing them weren’t at the forefront of your mind. However, have you ever quoted someone without attribution or snagged a quick photo off Google Images and used it without a second thought?
If you have, you have likely infringed on a copyright. For many, infringing on a copyright often is unintentional, but can turn into a costly and messy legal mistake.
So how can you navigate through the complex, jargon-filled world of copyrights? While an in-depth understanding might require legal consultation, here are some easy ways that you can be proactive about avoiding copyright mishaps.
- Remember The Golden Rule
In this case, I’m not talking about “treat others how you want to be treated;” although, I think it’s a beautiful sentiment. I mean, in regards to copyrights, that everything belongs to the person who created it.
Unless you took the photograph you’re using or wrote the poem that you’re quoting, technically, that material isn’t yours. You have to get permission from the individual who created that material to use it.
Keep this general rule about copyrights in the back of your mind and it can be your first line of defense in avoiding copyright infringements.
- Get a Second Set of Eyes on Your Work
For any material that you’re putting online and attributing as your own work, it’s never a bad idea to get a second set of eyes on it. Asking a coworker for a quick review can ensure that you don’t have any oversights with copyrighted material.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution and take the time to go through your material with a fine-tooth comb. A few extra minutes looking for potential copyright violations can save you the headache of a copyright lawsuit down the road.
- Get an Expert Opinion
Copyright infringements can do damage to a company’s reputation, hurt their stakeholders and influence public opinion. To get ahead of potential future copyright issues, you should consider consulting with your digital PR partner.
Your PR team can keep your concerns on their radar and be proactive by monitoring company material for potential issues, answering your copyright questions and creating a plan in case an infringement occurs.
Working closely with your PR partner can keep your company free of copyright issues and allow your company to continue focusing your energy on achieving your mission/goals.