Do You Comply with US Copyright Laws?
CrakRevenue takes a look at U.S. copyright law and how not to end up in legal hot water.
Don’t want to end up banned from your favorite network or end up in legal hot water? Here are some things to be mindful of.
Can I modify the banners and landing pages ?
The short answer is no. Any alterations to our ad tools is strictly prohibited. You can’t use them in print advertising, either. At CrakRevenue, we spend a lot of time optimizing and analyzing our ad tools to make sure they are performing as best as possible. So, don’t miss out on our expertise! You won’t regret it.
What do you mean by “Copyright Law”? And how do I make sure that I’m not violating any laws?
The United States copyright law protects authors of original content. It gives creators total control of what they create. It gives them exclusive rights to reproduce, publish, distribute or modify their creations or any works of art.
And no, authors of original content don’t always need to register with the U.S. Copyright Office (although there’s of course advantages to doing that).
For most original work that is yours, you automatically become the copyright owner as soon as you create it. There’s basic rights of protection afforded to authors.
In the United States, for work created after 1978, U.S. Copyright Law protects content owners for the lifetime of that author plus 70 years.
Anyone that didn’t participate in the creation of the work can violate a copyright if an agreement was never made.
So if you’re using content in some form that isn’t yours and you never received permission, there’s a good chance you could be infringing on someone’s rights.
And if you are, the question then becomes… will you get caught?
Well, let’s ask our magic 8 ball, shall we?!
Your best course of action is to do any of the following:
- Produce your own content.
- Use ad tools provided for you by CrakRevenue, without altering them.
- When you use “free” images, make sure that you didn’t forget an important step; like adding a link or crediting the source of the content if it’s known.
- Contact the creator and make a deal with them so you can use their content without issue.
What about “Fair Use” ?
There are some exceptions when it comes to using content that doesn’t belong to you, however. It’s a thin line, but it’s mostly about the greater good, assuming nothing interferes with the author’s rights.
You can use copyrighted work for stuff like product reviews or for the benefit of the public. With fair use, you don’t necessarily have to attribute credit.
Same for when you use only part of a copyrighted work; whether it’s an image being used for a thumbnail or something else. GIFs and memes often fall into this category.
Fair use also often covers modifications and the transformation of an image into something else. If the image becomes a part of something entirely different, it’s usually okay.
Now, fair use doesn’t mean that you won’t end up in legal hot water if you use content that is not yours, but it definitely makes for a good defense.
But when in doubt … a good rule of thumb is … if you’re unsure about something, just don’t do it.
So what happens if you get caught ?
One, you could get sued and be forced to pay damages to the hurt party. The amount depends on the offence. Fines can range anywhere from $200 to $150,000.
Two, your hosting provider could receive a takedown notice and shut down your website.
And third, it could damage your reputation if you get branded as someone who uses other people’s work without proper consent. It can even get you blackballed from certain networks.
What about posted content ?
When someone posts their picture or tweets online, there isn’t really an expectation of privacy.
Stuff from Facebook and Instagram can fall into this category. But with social media, such as Instagram, Pinterest and image sharing sites like Flickr, the lines are a little more blurry because the picture itself can be considered a creation.
When in doubt, well…
Read the TOS.
Speaking of, here’s ours as an F.Y.I. And remember, we work hard on our tools to ensure that they’re the best they can be. So, keep it simple, use our creatives as intended.
Check ‘em out, use ‘em, and reap the rewards … without giving that precious money back to the courts.