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SAFEGUARD YOUR BUSINESS WITH A COPYRIGHT STRATEGY

 

Andrea Smith 

My Creative Biz

When Jody, an eCourse and workshop creator, decided to take on a volunteer in her business, she didn’t realise the issues it would cause. The problems, one of which lasted many months after the volunteer had left the business, cost Jody more in money and stress than it would have cost to hire a paid employee in the first place.

 

Jenny, an enthusiastic volunteer, was given the task to manage the scheduling of a months worth of social media posts. Jody was too busy with other tasks and didn’t check Jenny’s work.

 

One of the mistakes Jenny made was publishing a photo on Instagram without crediting the photographer. David, a professional photographer, had shot the photo during a business event hosted by Jody’s business.

 

In a contract between Jody’s business and David, Jody had agreed to credit David every time she used the photographs he had taken of her events. When David saw the photo on Instagram without credit, he sent a string of angry emails, and Jody had to take time out of her busy day to deal with the issue.

 

In a Facebook post, Jenny added some inspiring lyrics from her favourite band, not realising that it was a copyright infringement to do so. Someone tagged the band and Jody received a Cease and Desist letter, asking her to take down the post or risk legal action.

 

Jody took down the post on receipt of the letter, because she was scared about the implications, but remained confused as to what Jenny had done wrong in this instance.

 

Both Jenny and Jody had very little knowledge of copyright and, more importantly the rights of copyright owners. Copyright owners have two types of rights, economic and moral. Businesses, and individuals, especially on social media, can easily infringe one or both.

 

There are two things Jody can do to educate both herself and her staff to make sure this doesn’t happen again.

 

Firstly she can educate herself and key staff on copyright and in particular what constitutes an infringement. While sometimes the language can be complex, most public libraries have copyright books and other resources that can assist.

 

The second thing that Jody can do is to develop a copyright policy for her business. A Copyright Compliance Policy would have ensured that volunteers and staff have guides to work from, and that Jenny would have known she had to credit the David for any published copy of his work. It would also give guidance to staff and volunteers in the use of the copyright material of others.

 

The policy is of value for any small business and provides guidelines for you, staff and contractors that work in and for your business, and for any licencing arrangement you engage in for both using the material of others or for managing other parties using your works.

 

It could also outline procedures to take if you are contacted by a copyright owner and accused of infringement.

 

An infringement procedure – which can form part of your Copyright Compliance Policy, can guide you through the steps of dealing with an infringement accusation. It will help you avoid panicking about the situation.

 

Having a copyright compliance policy will help you comply with copyright law, guide yourself and staff in ethical practice when using content and manage licences.

 

It may save you time and money in the long run.

 

P.S. If you would like to learn more about copyright, why not kick-start your education by following me on Facebook and Instagram.

Andrea Smith

Andrea Smith

My Creative Biz

 

Andrea believes in "making business fun, easy and legal!

"Think of me as the key, the wise mentor, the fairy godmother who can draw back the veil and provide a clear path for you, with the confidence to move forward, perseverance and motivation to never give up,
insights into the closed shop that creative business has become, and a way through the gatekeepers".

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