One of the best things about the internet is definitely easy access to information and content. This ease of access, combined with lack of knowledge is what may lead people to (mis) use someone’s intellectual property. The solution to that problem can be simple, but most people don’t even bother to try. As a blogger, this will give you the reputation as a plagiarist, making you a pariah in the blogosphere. Few people will want to do business with you after that. In order not to prevent this from happening, here are few ways in which you can avoid copyright infringement on your blog.
Adding Original Content
There is definitely no safer way to avoid copyright infringement than to add your own original content to the blog. By writing your own posts, as well as taking images and videos yourself, you will ensure that you are not violating anyone’s rights. Of course, as long as content is original, you don’t need to write it yourself. This means that your contributors and ghost writers need to follow the same rules. Just remember that you can’t believe anyone 100 percent, so always make sure to check if the content is original after you receive it. The easiest way to do so for text is via some plagiarism checker online.
Images Under Copyright
If you know that the image isn’t original content, you should try to upload it to TinEye or just paste its URL if you don’t have it on your computer. This software will find the image and let you know exactly who it belongs to. The only sensible thing to do next is to contact the owner and ask for their permission to use the image on your blog. Remember to be polite, since after all, they are doing you a favor and whether or not you get to use that particular image depends on their disposition towards you. Start with a good subject line and introduce yourself properly. Additionally, a bit of flattery often goes a long way. After that, all you need to do is wait for their response.
Crediting Other People’s Work
If people agree to let you use their work, and most of the time they have no reason not to, you need to do right by them and give them credit. Now, there are many forms in which you can do this, but the most popular is definitely to start with words “Image by” and then enter the author’s name along with (optional but recommended) hyperlink to their website. By doing this, you increase their online renown and you actually do them as much (if not more) of a favor as they do you. Finally, if you haven’t come by the picture from their site, you should also name the blog where you took it from. This way, everyone wins.
Another thing you could do is find content that isn’t under copyright. If you’re making a video that needs a soundtrack and you don’t want to steal anyone’s music, there are hours of copyright-free songs on YouTube. All you need to do is type in exactly that in the search bar. For copyright free images, you can always turn to Flickr, Pixabay or FreeDigitalPhotos. To make this even easier, you can use third party software like Bulkr that lets you browse, download and backup images from Flickr for free.
Everyone Makes Mistakes
Sure, everyone makes a mistake and sooner or later, you might infringe someone’s authors’ rights unknowingly. Most of the time, these kinds of mistakes go unnoticed, but if someone sends you cease and desist demand, the only right thing to do is to comply. These situations can be quite unpleasant, but if you keep an open mind, it won’t be anything but a minor inconvenience. Take down the offending content immediately and apologize. Complying with the takedown request may garner you some good will and allow you to cooperate with the other party in the future.
Blogosphere is a community like any other, and although at times competitive, it has its own code of honor. Those who tread upon other people’s rights will be left on their own like digital outcasts. On the other hands, people who play fair can look forward to being able to call upon the full support of their community. Which of these two groups will you belong, depends on your future actions.
Author: Raul is a B.Sc. in Innovative entrepreneurship and has a lot to say about innovations in all aspects of digital technology and online marketing. While he’s not enjoying football and great food, you can find him on Technivorz.com