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So many times at Silk Shorts, Inc, we are asked to use pictures, graphics, even text/content from other websites or other sources when creating a new site for our clients.  First of all, we don’t do that —- someone else developed/paid for that material and we have no right to use it.

Secondly, you might be surprised how simple it is to find copyrighted material online.  Take a couple of sentences of material; put it in a Google search and, bingo, there it is (probably on a couple of websites).  There have also been ways to find pictures that are being used without a license for a long time.  Trust me, you don’t want to get the call telling you to pay up for using copyrighted material.

The ‘fix’ is simple.  Just don’t do it.  Develop or pay to have developed original material and take or pay a photographer to take photos that are then copyrighted to you for your online marketing.

Copyright and Trademark are two different things:

Copyright is a form of protection granted by law for original works of authorship covering both published and unpublished works.  Copyright protects original works including everything from music, movies, software, architecture, literary works, photos, intellectual property, etc.

The work is copyrighted the minute it is created and in a form that can be seen by a machine or device.

No registration with any office is required for the material to be copyrighted.  If you decide to bring a lawsuit for infringement of a work produced in the U.S., you will have to register the material.

Trademark protects words, phrases, symbols, or designs that identify you or your company, for example, your brand name, logo, etc.

Your company’s best practices manual should include the ways to protect your copyrighted material and rules about not using someone else’s copyrighted material.  It makes life so much easier when you don’t have to back track and waste time and money on litigation.

Just remember, copyright attorneys are not inexpensive!  Copyright infringement can hit your wallet BIG TIME.

My money saving tip is – play by the rules.  We feel so strongly about this that we have included this paragraph in our Terms and Conditions that accompanies our contracts with our clients:

CUSTOMER must obtain written permission and rights to use any information, files, photos, graphics, etc. that are copyrighted by a third party; CUSTOMER is further responsible for granting SILK SHORTS, INC permission and rights for use of the same.

Get more information at http://www.copyright.gov/title17/