What You Don’t Know Might Hurt You

Blogging should be easy and fun. Businesses already realize the benefits of blogging and how effective it is in engaging existing clients, attracting new clients/prospects and/or to market their listings for sale or rent. While blogging empowers you to reach the masses, it can be a huge responsibility. “With great power comes great responsibility.”

As a blogger, you are responsible for keeping your blog updated with fresh content and to provide the most accurate information to your audience while abiding all copyright laws. If you aren’t familiar with the copyright laws, you could find yourself in a legal bind. Just because you don’t know the law, it doesn’t mean you’re exempt from complying with the law.

Because information is available at our fingertips, it becomes so easy to share content and information with our friends and the world. We share articles, funny or interesting photos, videos and other types of social media. But just because it’s easy to share doesn’t mean it’s legal to share.

What Constitutes Copyrighted Material

  • Images and photos
  • Literary works, including printed and digital material
  • Music and audio files
  • Movies and videos

Be sure to ask for permission from the author to use his/her article or any other content. It’s the safest way to protect yourself. Become familiar with the fair use doctrine. The fair use doctrine allows you to reproduce content if you are providing criticism or comments, using it to report news or for teaching, scholarship and research purposes.

Big Misconceptions

One of the biggest misconceptions about copyright infringement is that you are safe to copy content from another source as long as you site the source. According to the United States Copyright Office, “There is no specific number of words, lines, or notes that may safely be taken without permission. Acknowledging the source of the copyrighted material does not substitute for obtaining permission.” (Read complete article here: http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html). You must read the copyright information from the source where you are obtaining the content.

Things You Should Remember

  • Ask for permission to reproduce someone else’s content.
  • If you remove copyrighted material from your blog or website, you may still be liable for copyright infringement.
  • Illegal use of copyrighted photos could cost you thousands of dollars.