I’m English teacher, so I spend a lot of time checking people’s sources, making sure no one has plagiarized, and then following up and coaching students, teachers, and coworkers on how to correct mistakes in attribution and citation.
We must give credit where credit is due. You likely remember this from your high school and college years.
In the blogging world, we’re tempted to use any resource we find because — well — it’s on the Internet so it must be free and usable. Wrong.
Check out these tips to avoid getting in trouble with your blog or site.
I’ve worked with those starting their own businesses (MLM/Direct Sales or otherwise), and I’ve answered a multitude of questions that come up over and over. Some of those include:
- Can I just go to Google Images and use whatever I find there? NOPE
- If I do use an image or video, I only need to put the link to the source, right? NOPE
- As long as I sort of change the image, I’m free and clear of any trouble. I’m sure. NOPE
These misconceptions are just asking for someone to come after you and either request a “cease and desist” or sue you for damages.
Can They Really Do That?
Because of Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws, a creator of an image can absolutely come after you if you’ve used an image without proper attribution or permission. By nature of the intellectual property guidelines, you do not have free access to anything and everything.
In fact, there have been bloggers who have had to pay a pretty penny for something they thought was an innocent usage.
One blogger, in fact, had a $7500 fee from using a picture of a green pepper. A. Green. Pepper.
A photojournalist found his image on a larger blog and took them to court. He even found that the blog had cropped his image to remove the copyright information. Bad idea.
How Can I Be Sure I’m OK?
There are ways to safeguard yourself and only use what will keep you out of trouble. You can use Public Domain. You can take your own images. You can contact the creator and seek permission. You can pay using a stock image site. Options abound.
Or, you can educate yourself in such a way as to make it second nature to avoid the mishaps that will get you in trouble.
Learn with me
Because I have seen so much incorrect usage or answered questions left and right, I decided to create a Copyright for Bloggers course. You can see the first module without signing up for anything. Go here: Copyright for Bloggers
While the title of the course is geared toward bloggers, the information is relevant to anyone wanting to avoid getting in trouble. If you’re in MLM or Direct Sales, this applies. If you’re running a small business and using Facebook as your platform for advertisement, this applies.
I’ve taken the confusing language and created a course that will answer your questions.