How to protect yourself against copyright infringement

When building a new website it is not always easy to produce the types of images you are wanting to use for your products or services. This is when stock photography is a useful resource. These are things to look out for to avoid copyright infringement

Category: Content | Read time: 10 minutes

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    What is copyright?

    A copyright notice is a legal right to protect a creators work from unauthorised usage. This covers many mediums that are tangible such as images and content.

    The copyright notice forms part of current UK law. This law is the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

    There isn’t an official body that issues copyright notices. To cover intellectual property, trademarking and patents, there is an application process. In these circumstances you should apply for them on the website.

    How do you identify copyrighted material?

    When browsing for content and images online it is important to remember copyright. You must seek permission from the individual or organisation before using any material.

    There are many visual clues to identify a website owners copyright that you can look out for. Some authors may allow or encourage the sharing of their work for your own use. It is important you find out before you go ahead and use it.

    The techniques to identify the copyright authors ownership preferences?

    • Check the footer – Does the website have a legal notice attached? This is a common method to stamp ownership on your work.
    • Are the images watermarked? – This is a common technique to stop the redistribution of images. Photographers want to protect their work to ensure they get paid for their work. They tend to send images to their clients to encourage them to buy final edited images so add a watermark.
    • Is there a © present – This is the international recognised symbol for copyright.
    • Check the legal details of terms and conditions – It will inform you of your rights to reuse any content.You do need to seek permission when wanting to use someone’s content and images. Where possible it is always beneficial to have it in writing to prevent any future disputes.

    Is using copyrighted material allowed?

    Any content is always owned by the individual or organisation who produced it. Examples are:

    • Images
    • Content
    • Audio recordings
    • TV recordings

    If an individual creates content whilst under employment, the copyright belongs to the organisation who paid for the time to create. This is unless prior permission was sort for the individual to hold the copyright.

    It is common that a website uses someone else’s material. This does mean you need to reference the source of the content. An attribution for the source is something the creator can decide on. Some are happy for you to add their name. This depends on the source and their internal rules with content creation.

    It is up to the organisation if they want to collaborate or charge for using their material.

    How can we protect our content

    To protect your work there things you can put in place to help enforce your copyright of your work. When protecting your legal rights it is always is worth getting advice from a legal services. This can depend on how sensitive the work is. It can provide you with advice on what work you can put in place to protect yourself.

    • Update the terms and conditions – Ensure your provide details on how others can use your content.
    • Add clear indications of your copyright. Located within the footers of many websites. A copyright symbol and the authors name to state they own the copyright. © 2012 – 2018 Lee Vanstone.

    Things you must consider

    When creating content for your website, as a rule it is easier to produce your own images and content. This is to ensure your rights to your material. This isn’t always possible to do. You need to always reference others peoples work. When using their material you must reference them as set out in your agreement.

    You must always consider that when searching for images and content that copyright is protecting the owners content.

    In recent months Google Search has made it more difficult to save images from its search. This is a great sign that they are aware of the greater need to protect content creators. To avoid possible fines always cover your back and get permission.

    If this is something that your need some support with I would love to help. Get in touch via my contact form and I look forward to chatting more.