How to avoid copyright pitfalls in your content

Much of what constitutes marketing content is shared. Original, created brand content builds awareness, generates leads and creates customer loyalty.

The content is shared in multiple ways — by social media, published work like blogs and newsletters, video content, online research including white papers and webinars, and by other means. Much of it is derived from third-party sources – excerpts from a journal in a blog, scenes from a film in a video clip, or published images used in an online gallery.

With so much content available on the Web, the potential — and risk — is always there to use and share content without the permission of its owner.

Copyright infringement always looms as a hazard when it comes to content creation. A common argument is that the use of the content constitutes fair use and does not require permission from the copyright holder. The U.S. Copyright Act refers to fair use primarily to the use of protected work for commentary, parody, news reporting, research, and education.

“One of the biggest misconceptions that marketers have about sharing protected content is the belief that all of the content sharing they do is considered fair use,” Michele Ayers of the Copyright Clearance Center says in this MarketingProfs article.

The Copyright Clearance Center offers advice to content marketing pros to ensure that the content used and shared does not run into problems with copyright infringement:

  • Seek permission if there is any doubt. Licensing can cover a one-time use or a variety of uses, and it protects the company from infringement claims.
  • Raise copyright awareness within the company. Create a policy that tells creators what they can and cannot do with copyrighted content. They should know when and how to seek permission to use the content.

Has your company ever had to face a copyright issue? How was it resolved? Feel free to tell us about it.

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