The internet has given us access to a plethora of content. However, most people don’t know that most of the content that we share is protected. While a vast amount of content is free to view, this does not mean that it is free for all types of use. For the common man, it’s difficult to grasp, since most IP laws haven’t been specifically adapted for internet/new media content.
So, if you are an avid blogger, here are a few basic guidelines that would help you stay away from any IP lawsuits.
Use of Photos and Images
Images are very easy to find on the internet, most often they are featured on the site’s top. The top search on Google is usually images, making them very easy to find. People don’t realize that not all images and photos are free to use. The Google search results don’t tell you which image is free to use and which one has a copyright restriction.
So, in case you want to use images on your blog, go to the source page of the image and check if there is a copyright disclaimer. Certain image owners will be happy if you give them a backline or a source credit, but ask for permission if you have any doubts. Alternatively, you can also purchase the rights for particular images.
Creative Commons License
Since many bloggers don’t want to pay for image use, they use open source images that have a Creative Commons license (CC). Images with a CC are free to use by the public to legally build and share. However, certain images under the CC might have restrictions.
For instance, some CC licenses allow commercial use, while others don’t. Similarly, some might allow modification of the images, while other might stipulate that the images must be used as the original.
Plagiarism is a serious case of Infringement
Plagiarism is not only a serious legal offense; even Google takes it seriously by blacklisting or blocking your website. Duplicate content will not show up on search results. Also, even original written work published on the internet is protected by copyright, and the content owner can take legal action against you for infringement of content and for passing it off as your own.
Make sure that your content is unique and you don’t repost someone else’s work. While referring to other people’s work use source identifiers, mark citations and use quotations to ensure that you have given the necessary attribution.
Trademark of Name
While the content is protected by copyright, certain brand names and site names might have the protection of a Trademark registration. So, you cannot use such a name as the name for your own blog.
For instance, if you start a fashion blog with a name like Gucci Blog, this could lead to a trademark infringement since Gucci is a registered trademark.
Protected Video Content
There are millions of videos and music on the internet and several sites give you access to these types of content for free. However, download and duplication of the same would result in a violation of the copyright laws.
While videos can be free for view on a particular site, you cannot download them and upload them as your own on your blog. Instead, you can post a video plug-in and link the video source. Accreditation is everything!