Social Media Opens the Door for Copyright Violations – Getting Caught is Expensive

You are surfing the web, looking for relevant content that might make cool content for your client’s social media channels. You come across a really cool graphic that is just perfect for the blog entry you are working on so you clip it and post it.

Six months pass and suddenly the client gets a cease and desist letter in the mail for copyright violation. Or worse, you get a copyright violation notice and a bill for public use of a protected image.

I can personally attest that it happens. I have had one or two protected images slip through my vetting process into social media posts and blogs, and it’s an error you want to avoid at all costs. It’s not that hard to find public domain content, as this infographic from Berify attests. (Yes, this infographic is used with permission and Berify makes the embed code freely available.)

In addition to these tips, consider some other safety measures, such as:

    • Using Google image search, check the Usage Rights link under Tools to see what’s available for re-use.
    • Use public domain sources such as government sites or Wikipedia Commons.
    • Look for sites that offer common license images such as Pixabay Pexels, flickr public domain, or others.
    • Use your own digital photos.

Never assume that just because it’s on the Internet it’s fair game. Every piece of online content, where written or graphic, is owned by the party who created it so be sure content is not protected and in the public domain before you use it.


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