You need content on your website: pictures, text and what-not. So, I’m stating the obvious. But is all above board or might you inadvertently be infringing copyright?
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve noticed an increase in the number of pictures pilfered from my site. All the images come from Kozzi via a subscription. It is perfectly legal as long as they are used here, and only here. That led me to wonder whether those website owners (I have to assume that at least half of these right-clickers or ctrl-click-clickers are just that) understand the concept of copyright. The potential price tag attached to being found with their hands in the cookie jar is high; it could be in the shape of a fine or even time behind bars.
Worried? Then check the content on your website!
Ensure that the content on your website is in the clear
- All the text on your website should be written by you / your freelancer and plagiarism-checked;
- If you obtain text from alternate sources, follow the rules laid down by the creator of the content or obtain permission in writing;
- All images should be created or photographed by you / your freelancer or legally acquired from an image provider. The Lifehacker’s “The Best Ways To Ensure You’re Legally Using Photos” is a recommended read;
- When using anything under a Creative Commons license, comply with the licensing terms and conditions. Visit the Creative Commons site for more information;
- Err on the side of caution. If you’re unsure whether there are potential copyright issues, contact the copyright holder.
- Links to other content are – generally speaking - okay, as long as the link is to the original copyright holder’s content and not to some other party;
- Tread carefully around the concept of Fair Use. It isn’t clear cut and could end up in costly court cases.
- The financial penalties for copyright violations are severe and likely to cost more than simply paying for it from the outset.
- If the content on your website includes applets or scripts, check that too. Even if these have been made available for public use, there may be some rules laid down by the programmer. It won’t hurt to ensure that your website complies on that score.
Remember that the justice system doesn’t consider ignorance of a law to be an excuse. If you own a website, be sure to become informed!
Bitlaw – http://www.bitlaw.com/internet/webpage.html – accessed June 4, 2014
Purdue University – https://www.lib.purdue.edu/uco/CopyrightBasics/index.html – accessed June 4, 2014