Copyright: As An Artist Or Online Marketer, It’s Imperative To Know And Respect What It Is
It always amazes me when I talk to artists, customers and clients about copyright and the various challenges of protecting it. I hear all kinds of crazy notions about what a copyright is or is not. So let’s first take a look at Wikipedia.
Wikipedia contributors. “Copyright.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 21 Jun. 2016. Web. 5 Aug. 2016:
Copyright is a form of intellectual property, applicable to certain forms of creative work. Under US copyright law, legal protection attaches only to fixed representations in a tangible medium. The Berne Convention allows member countries to decide whether creative works must be “fixed” to enjoy copyright.
So what you clearly need to understand is that what is protected is the “forms of creative work; fixed representations in a tangible or ‘touchable’ medium.” Therefore, your outward expression of your ideas is protected when you create a work to represent your ideas, but the ideas (intangible) behind the work are not protected.
I am an Expert Author with the Power Affiliate Club. I wrote a pretty thorough post about copyright do’s and don’ts. I highly recommend that you join PAC if you are a blogger (it is a very active and serious blogging community, you can join for free just click the link) and read the article first. When you have finished, you can come back to this post to continue learning about this important topic.
Why Respecting Copyright Matters
When preparing blog posts or ads to draw people to your creative projects, images are a great way to get attention or to link to your blog or site. If you are a graphic designer, then you know how much work each image can be.
I am just appalled at how many sites out there actually encourage people to do an image search on a search engine like Google, and tell you to just right click the image of your choice and download it to your hard drive and use it! I’m sure you’ve seen this many time before.
Where do these people think the images come from, an image fairy? No, someone had a design concept and created them.
Let me make this really clear: Each image you see in a search engine search, such as Google Images, is copyrighted!You do not have the right to go find an image and blatantly use it! It is your responsibility to check copyright and ownership prior to use.
If someone produced a video, wrote a song, painted a picture, sculpted an amazing statue – you recognize that these are works of art, a creative work. Well, the same thing goes for clipart, buttons, WordPress Themes, blog headers and on and on.
Even an image of a “click” button or contact form “submit” button… all are graphic designs that unless you created it yourself, are copyrighted! There is always a license in place. In the United States and most of the world, image owner has a copyright without filing any type of paperwork once the image is created.
What About Collaboration?
As an artist and creative marketer, what happens if you collaborated on a project, say an image or a book? Be smart, this is business. Have a contract or agreement that stipulates exactly what that collaboration is.
On my “Create A Tsunami for Good Project,” I choose a “Most Inspirational Person of the Week” and have them choose a photo of their choice as a reward. I have a Photo Licensing Agreement that the award recipient receives that spells out the use of the photo.
Remember, property, including intellectual property, can only be legally transferred in writing. If the award recipient receives my photo and wants to have it commercially printed, they have a rights-managed license allowing them certain rights as a license holder.
Avoid misunderstandings and lawsuits. Spell out the relationship in writing.
Why does respecting copyright and licensing types matter?
- It’s good business.
- It keeps you out of the courts and litigation. If you don’t respect the owner’s rights, you could be in for, at the very least, a discussion or you might even find that your web host has taken your site down if the copyright owner disagrees with your use of their image. As of 2016, there are no significant cases to establish a clear president for fair use and images used on the Internet.
- It gives you peace of mind.
- You are setting a good example for others to follow.
- It’s proper netiquette.
- When you create your site, you are in the public realm; you are being watched. You are building a reputation and a following. It’s just common sense that by following laws, rules and regulations you will be judged ethical and professional. Follow best practices, too.
- People do business with people. If you are ethical, professional and have something good to offer the world, people will do business with you.
- If, when networking with other artists and creatives and meeting new people on social media like I suggest in my previous post, “Networking With Other Artist Bloggers,”, you give respect, you will get it back.
- Purchasing the proper license is cost effective. Only pay for what you need.
- You’ll make more money from sales.
- Because your Momma raised you right. Do your Momma proud.
Basic Image Licensing Types And What To Look For
If you are not a graphic designer, you may not be familiar with all of the image licensing types that are available. As a creative artistic blogger, you may only need to work with a couple of different types of licensed images but it’s important to know what types there are so that you choose the correct ones for your projects.
As I stated in my other Expert Author post, each image that you find in a search is licensed in some way. Make sure that the type of license you choose to purchase best suits your needs for using the image. Don’t just purchase the cheapest license because it may still be too restrictive for your purpose! I have had people contact me about use of my images and I appreciate the respect.
When in doubt, contact the image owner directly to see what arrangements can and should be made for proper licensing and use of the image. The reason photographers and graphic designers have a licensing fee is to cover the cost of their time, their experience, their knowledge, their cost of equipment and overhead, such as insurance and other expenses like travel to get the shot. Respect their right to recover some of these expenses.
The first consideration we need to look at is will the image be for personal or commercial use – and how to tell the difference.
Personal use or non-commercial use is commonly considered if there will be no commercial gain. Say you were putting together a social newsletter or wedding announcements.
Commercial use may be considered if the purchase is for business, promotional, endorsement, advertising or merchandising purposes. When you have a company or business site and you are creating ads, presentations or creating a product — commercial gain.
This site, deborahtenbrink.com, uses affiliate links so that I can make a small amount in commissions to help cover my expenses for hosting and other things in order to provide you with important information. This means my purpose would be commercial use.
I don’t need the information on this site because I already have knowledge, experience and an established reputation online and I make money from my photography and art site by selling my photography and art. This site is for you and your benefit. (So, please, click my links and check out the sites I recommend to help me out. Thank you!).
Creative Commons Licensing. Your best option.
The easiest and least confusing licensing type is “Creative Commons.” What this means is that unless it is stated otherwise, the creator of the image or video makes no warranties about the work and disclaims any liability for use of the work, and you can use it any way you like without attribution. (Click here for best practices when providing an attribution to an image).
You can copy, modify, distribute and perform the work, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.
Now, understand that you should not use a photo of a person and make your post or ad appear as if that person is endorsing your business. They have to stay what they are, a model in an image.
Also, do not take a Creative Commons Image and claim it is your own and make a collection and sell the images. That’s another thing to “not do.”
Royalty Free Licensing Is One Of The Most Common Licensing Types Used By Online Marketers.
Royalty Free does not mean “free photos.” It means that you, as the purchaser of the license, can use the photo multiple times on multiple projects with few restrictions.
Let’s say you are creating a brochure for your art studio. You and your ad agency can use the image for your brochure, online video presentation, posters, and so on for your marketing campaign. You will not incur any further charges for the image.
Understand, however, that you do not have an exclusive copyright license. The studio across town just might buy the same image for their ad campaign.
Other licensing types and descriptions are covered well here. The list is too long for me to cover in this post.
What I Suggest To Do To Stay Out Of Trouble
Since we have established that Creative Commons Licensing let’s you be the most creative, next to creating images yourself, then you will want to find a collection of Creative Commons images to search for just the right image you need. Even though I create a great deal of my own images, sometimes there are time or subject restraints that limit my creativity.
Step 1: To save time and money but not curb your creative enthusiasm, I suggest you download this free WordPress Plugin and search for free stock photos, videos, illustrations and vector images. There are currently over 700,000 images to search.
Don’t forget to donate something to the artist and image creator as a thank you! No attribution or link back required. These image providers work hard and need to earn a living, too so think of it as a tip! Watch the video for complete instructions and set up. It couldn’t be simpler.
Step 2: While Step 1 will give you access to some amazing images, sometimes you really need true stock images for your blog posts or ads. Now you can also get free images on this site as well, but I also think it’s one of the best sites for marketing and purchasing quality images at a really reasonable price that fits every budget. Join me by registering for free and you, too, will have access to over 51 million stock images! So go register and choose your plan.
Be smart, ethical and respectful when using other people’s online content. There are best practices for you to add to your online marketing and blogging experience and people really do want to help you. Just ask politely and assume nothing. You never know until you ask someone what they will agree to.
Obtain images the right way by respecting copyright. If you need images for a project, either create them yourself, hire a graphic designer or artist, or subscribe to the two sites I have presented to you above. Registration is free and these two resources will have all that you need to make your blog posts, ads and presentations really pop!
Last but not least, have fun! Let your imagination run wild and free.
Please share this information with your friends and networks so we can make the Internet a safer more enjoyable and profitable experience for all.
To your success and prosperity,