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Image Copyright Infringement and Enforcement on the Internet may be more important to you than you thought. Copyright enforcement is far more advanced and prevalent than in years past. Companies managing the rights of image owners have technology and copyright laws on their side. They use software to scan thousands of Web pages looking for copyright infringement, and the software is better than ever before. It can recognize unlicensed images and alert rights managers to unauthorized use. If you are caught, it will cost you big.
Did you break copyright law?
This topic came up recently when I received a call asking for my knowledge in the area of image copyright. The caller had just received a letter and a phone call from a well known company that manages and enforces the rights of image owners. They demanded immediate payment, claiming the unlicensed use of copyrighted images. Like many people, he did not really know where to turn, and he never thought he had done anything wrong. He hired a Web developer to produce the Website, and never gave much thought to the graphics on the site or whether he should have kept a license agreement and receipt on file as proof of the right to use the images. Now he is scrambling to get his hands on documentation of his rights to use the images.
Where did your graphics originate?
There are many people who believe that since they found the image on Google Images or on some other Website, the image is free for the taking. This is very seldom the case, and you do not want to find out the hard way. A lot of people will remember the big lawsuits over music copyright infringement that cost Napster and others millions of dollars. Now that the technology is catching up images may be the next wave.
Who is responsible for copyright infringement?
Obviously, the first question is “who pays for this?” The answer is “whomever owns the Website”. This may come as a shock to many people, but it is something to be considered whenever you interview a Web developer or hire a graphic design firm. Whether it is a completely custom Website, or a pre-designed template, it is the responsibility of the Website owner to know whether they have the legal right to display the images. In the case of my caller, the copyright infringement claim was for many times what he paid for the Website development.
… read more about image copyright infringement and enforcement
Author Mark Murnahan is the Chairman and CEO of YourNew.com, Inc. and provides SEO consulting services to companies and non-profit organizations. Mark Murnahan may be reached toll free at 866-A-Web-Guy (866-293-2489) for consultation.
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