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What an Intelligent Small Business Owner Needs to Know About Copyright Law - Part 2

Don’t Right-Click

You are sending a weekly newsletter to potential customers and you need some fun summer artwork to perk it up. You head to the local library and find a glossy gardening book and cut out a beautiful picture of a rehabilitated arbor in full bloom to use in your newsletter.

You would never do this, right? You are horrified at the thought of defacing the glossy gardening book and stealing a picture.

Yet many people wouldn’t think twice about right-clicking on that same beautiful picture on the internet.

Internet photographs have the same copyright protections as photographs in the library book. It is just so much easier to copy them, that people don’t think about it the same way.

Copyright protection attaches to original works of art (literary or dramatic works, photographs, drawings, computer software, choreography, architecture, musical compositions, musical performances and sculpture) the moment you put them in writing or save them on some kind of media. The owner of a copyright has the exclusive rights to copy, distribute/sell, modify, perform or play the recording in public.

What is the right way to get beautiful artwork for your newsletter?

› Create original content – hire someone to create original artwork or photographs (more about how to do this properly next week)

› Ask permission from the copyright owner

› Get licenses – read the fine print. If you use Canva content, for example, you will not be able to trademark the logo you create.

If you use Creative Commons content, for example, you might have to credit the artist and you might not be able to use the artwork for commercial purposes.

Another thing you don’t want to do is find a random image online, embed it in your blog, and merely credit the artist. There are five pages of Google results on “How to Respond to a Getty Demand Letter.” Find one of these articles and see a worst-case scenario.


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