This post about copyright and how to protect yourself and your creative works is sponsored by the Copyright Alliance. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting this blog by allowing me to post occasional sponsored content. All sponsored posts feature products or services that I truly feel would be of interest to you.
My heart still races as I think back on this mistake.
He threatened to sue unless I paid $11,000.
I should have known better and it’s even embarrassing to tell this story.
But sometimes you have to mess up to learn the lesson, or in this case, hopefully, learn from someone else’s mistake.
Let’s go back in time… I live on a historic commercial street in New Orleans and, from 2009-2014, I volunteered to set up and run their website, blog, and social media. I’d post about special events, new shops opening, sales and other fun things happening in the 7-block commercial strip.
I would share images from the local businesses to help them get the word out or use photos from photographers that I thought were free to use.
One time, I used a copyrighted image from Flickr for a collage in a blog post. I should have known better but did not even look at the copyright or ask permission. The image was credited and linked back to the photographer’s Flickr page (probably how he found our site, through his Flickr stats). A few months later, I was contacted by him as he was looking for the owner of the site and looking for compensation for copyright infringement.
He sent email after email trying to get me to pay an $11,000 fee to avoid him taking legal action. I talked to an attorney, took the photo down and everything was resolved without a lawsuit or fees. But lesson learned. I’ve heard horror stories of people actually having to pay huge fees for using photos or art that they used without permission (something that no one should ever do).
Ever since that incident, I always ask for permission. Giving credit is not enough. And I try to spread this message to fellow creators, so they can also learn from my experience. I know that as a blogger, creator or small business owner, it’s hard to keep track of all the rules – but it’s part of running a business.
I know that as a blogger, creator or small business owner, it’s hard to keep track of all the rules – but it’s part of running a business.
I’ve also been on the other side of things, having my photos used without permission. Not only were photos that I took used without permission, but I’ve I found my headshot being using to promote courses and products that I had never heard of. And I’ve had friends who have had their work copied and stolen.
It’s sometimes hard to know what to do in these types of situations. But I recently came across an amazing resource that can help whether you are looking to protect your own work or to learn more about copyright in general.
The Copyright Alliance is dedicated to advocating policies that promote and preserve the value of copyright, to protecting the rights of creators and innovators, and to educating the creative community regarding copyright law and policies.
The individual creators that they represent rely on copyright law to protect their creativity, efforts, and investments in the creation and distribution of copyrighted works for the public to enjoy.
Are you a photographer, author, songwriter, designer, or some other type of artist/creator? Do you have questions about copyright and how to protect yourself and your creative works? Are you interested in joining a community of creators just like you who want to know more about copyright and how it can help you make a living and a career? If the answer to these questions is “yes,” then you should consider joining the Copyright Alliance!
They represent the interests of authors, photographers, performers, artists, software developers, musicians, journalists, directors, songwriters, game designers and many other creators.
The Copyright Alliance recently launched a Gold Membership plan to provide you with exclusive benefits that you’ll find helpful on a daily basis.
Their new Gold Membership plan features exclusive benefits designed just for creators, including: access to a private members-only website; access to a private Facebook Forum, where their team will respond to your copyright questions; webinars on copyright-related topics; exclusive copyright toolkits featuring info on topics such as copyright registration, copyright basics, online enforcement; exclusive discounts on worldwide hotels, Adobe Creative Cloud, Dell Computers and Electronics, Office Depot, and numerous conferences and events. To join as a Gold Member, or to learn more about benefits, just click here.