The owner of a local small business contacted me about an unfortunate situation involving copyright law and online marketing. A year ago, she inadvertently posted two copyright protected images on her business’s Facebook page and website. Recently she received a threatening letter from a company called Getty Images demanding a large sum of money for a settlement amount for copyright infringement.
To prevent this problem for your business, make sure that you have properly licensed all of the images used on your website, or in any marketing materials or social media sites. Assume that any image you see on the Internet has some level copyright protection unless it expressly states otherwise. Copyright protections exist as soon as a “work of authorship” is fixed in a tangible form and they do not have to be registered, although registration is recommended. Copyright infringement does not require either knowledge or intent. Inadvertently or not, if you use a copyrighted image for commercial purposes without permission you are leaving yourself vulnerable to litigation.Read More