The owner may have explicit rules preventing its use by other parties.
In an effort to ramp up your marketing efforts, maybe you've taken a more active approach to Internet and social media to promote your business, possibly using attention-getting visuals, such as images, charts and videos. Many such visuals are not produced by your business but are instead “borrowed” (think copy and paste) from other outlets and websites.
While “borrowing” is easy, it must be done with caution. The owner of such borrowed content may have explicit rules preventing its use by other parties. In other cases, use may be allowed if permission and/or compensation is received. Failure to obtain such permission and/or provide such compensation could result in a claim of financial damages against the unauthorized user.
Should such a claim be filed against your business, your commercial general liability (CGL) insurance may come into play. Unfortunately, the coverage provided by many CGLs for claims of copyright/patent/trademark infringement may be limited or non-existent.
Hiring an attorney to advise whether or not content use is acceptable is an option, but the expense to do so may be unrealistic.
Before using third-party web content, follow these simple steps:
For more tips to help your business, visit our Business Tips in our blog.
- Review the source of the content (e.g., picture, video, web file) for information regarding permissive use.
- If no clear language for permissive use is present, contact the source of the content to inquire about republishing.
- When in doubt, don't borrow. Instead, search for websites that offer content (such as images and videos) for free. Check here for a list of these sites.
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