Publishing Content Online: Top Tips for Website Marketing Teams
Don't use someone else's work on your website without first getting permission
If you want to use someone else's work on your website, you often need to get permission from creator of the work. Technology has made information more accessible to everyone, copyright and trademark laws still apply to online publishing. Here are some tips that can help you avoid legal issues when using other's work on your site.
1. Others Work Is Protected
You may not freely use someone else's work simply because it has been posted on the Internet (a popular internet myth). Whether you find the material online or off, permission is generally needed to reproduce text, artwork, photos, and music. It is wise to operate under the assumption that all material is protected by either copyright or trademark.
2. Profiting From Others Brand Names
Using trademarks. if your site sells products or services, permission is needed to reproduce a trademark, including any word or symbol that identifies and distinguishes a product or service from others and more so if you are selling tickets using a brand or trademarked names you could fall foul of Passing off laws, reproducing someone's copyrighted work or trademark without their permission is known as infringement, and it leaves you vulnerable to lawsuits from the copyright or trademark owner. Lawsuits are even more likely if you stand to make any money off the use, you didn’t know is not a defence in court either is stupidity.
3. Seek Permission if you’re in Doubt
Many experienced web team manage websites for large organization sites -- for example, a site for an events company or ticketing reseller. Copyright laws do apply to material used on these sites even if it's just the reproduction of a photo taken by a guest at an event.
Getting explicit permission from the copyright owner is the best way to avoid a lawsuit. Some sort of written consent (even an email) is best because it will be easier to prove if a dispute arises.
4. Know Your Site Statistics
Fees for permissions (often called "licensing fees") are often arbitrary and can range from £100 to tens of thousands. A licensing fee may be based on:
the number of hits per page
the number of visits to the page
the location of the page within the website -- for example, the home page versus an archived page, or
number of sales or conversions
Before you seek permission to use material on your website, have ready your website statistics that will most likely affect the fee.
5. Pay Less by Limiting Your Rights
You can save money on fees by keeping your requests as narrow as possible. For example, don't ask for "worldwide rights, all languages" if you need rights only to the English version of a song. And you can sometimes save money by acquiring multiple items from one source. In some cases, you may also be able to lower your fees by offering to pay up front instead of waiting 30 or 60 days.
6. Watch Your Links and Frames
Linking, framing, and inlining are common methods of connecting to information at other websites, and all carry the potential for getting into permissions trouble. Here's a brief description of each of these methods and what to watch out for.
Linking. Including links to another website on your website is usually risk-free. Links to infringing materials -- for example, a site that is on selling and you are getting a commission --will create liability for you.
Framing. Framing is the process of dividing a Web page into separate framed regions and displaying the contents of someone else's site within a frame at your site. Generally speaking, site owners don't like having their content framed at another site, particularly without permission. There are many legal precedents set
Inlining. Inlining (sometimes referred to as "mirroring") involves incorporating a graphic file from one website onto another website, this area is grey when I comes to the law, but there are many cases coming to trial so again if in doubt seek permission as forgiveness will cost you
8. Remove Unauthorized Material
If someone complains that you are using material on your website without proper authorization, you should immediately remove that material. Even if you believe the use is legal, remove the material while you investigate the claim and, if necessary, talk to a lawyer.
Courts often respond favorably to attempts to "contain" the damage. In fact, a law states that an Internet Service Provider (ISP, the company that hosts the website on its computer server) can avoid liability by following certain rules, including speedy removal of the offending material.
On the other hand, continuing to use material after being notified that you are violating someone else's rights may aggravate the claim and increase your chances of having to pay money to the owner of the work