Copyright Infringement: What are the main rules of thumb about fair use on the web?

The number one piece of advice: Assume it’s protected.

Other tips:

  • Just because its online, does NOT mean that it’s public property. So many people have this false sense of entitlement to anything they see posted on social media (especially pictures).
  • Read the fine print. Buzz words like “royalty-free” are often misunderstood. This does not mean that the content can be shared or posted without permission. Take a good look at the Click-Wrap Agreement that outlines what exactly is okay to do with it.
  • If someone complains, just remove the content for the time being. No, you don’t have to sell your soul to every troll on the Internet who demands that you remove content from your site, but you should take it down long enough to research to make sure they don’t have a legitimate legal complaint.
  • Always, always, always ask first. If you see an awesome photograph you want to post on your blog or website, just ask first. Sometimes people are totally fine with exposure as long as they are properly credited.

Copyright is a murky area and you don’t want to get caught up in an unnecessary legal battle over a picture or two. So save yourself some trouble and just take some of the precautions.

If you’d like some more help with understanding copyright laws, check out LawTrades. We can connect you with a skilled copyright attorney that can answer you questions and potentially help you avoid a costly mistake.