If you are a content creator then how do you stay on the right side of the law?
It can be easy to forget about copyright laws for website content if you have a deadline to meet or are simply stuck for inspiration.
Using images can be another minefield. Are they freely available for use? Do you need to use an attribution to the original author? Following copyright law isn’t just about protecting other peoples’ work, it is about protecting your website as well.
So, how do you lawfully create content that doesn’t infringe on other peoples’ rights?
#1 You Can Quote Under ‘Fair Dealing’
Quoting a few words from a text for criticism and review is allowed under UK copyright law.
It shouldn’t be used as a means of copying the whole text as this amounts to copyright infringement but quoting a short piece of the overall work is generally fine. Just be sure that it is referenced properly by crediting the original author and source and also ensure that the work is in the public domain before you quote it in a blog post.
#2 Using Images Marked For Reuse
Images are probably the main way bloggers get in trouble for using copyrighted work. Remember when Perez Hilton got sued for $2.1 million for using copyrighted images? Just because your blog doesn’t have millions of hits doesn’t mean you can’t fall foul of copyright laws.
You might think that it is OK to simply cite the author with a link but that doesn’t absolve you either. The best way to avoid getting in legal hot water is to be 100% sure that the image you want to post is available to use. A word of warning however is that if images are marked ‘Labelled for reuse’ on Google that doesn’t mean that they are always free to use, just that they may be free. Using free stock images or buying a subscription is always a safe bet. For example the image for this blog post was found on Pixabay.com and is labelled ‘free to use with no attribution required.’
#3 Copyrighted Work Doesn’t Require A Symbol
Many people make the mistake of thinking that something they have seen online is free to use because it doesn’t contain the © symbol.
Even if content doesn’t have an © symbol present it is still covered under copyright law. You and anyone else that posts anything online whether it be a blog post, short story or an image receives the same level of protection regardless of whether you explicitly say that it is copyrighted or not.
Knowing Copyright Laws For Website Content
Blogging can cause a lot of problems unless you follow copyright law.
Many websites are guilty of infringing on copyrighted work and it can not only lead to hefty financial consequences but it can ruin your reputation as well. If you have spent a long time working on your blog and built up a solid bunch of readers then why put this at risk just for the sake of using that perfect image?
Learn the copyright laws for website content and keep both your blog and yourself legally safe.