You could be using the caricature of your favourite movie character or a snippet of your favourite song for the promotion of your business and, as a result, may be held liable for copyright infringement. That is because an artist’s creative work such as their literature, their music, their photographs, or their movies is generally protected by a copyright, a type of intellectual property. If you are the owner of a creative work and want to learn more about your rights, speak with a knowledgeable professional. On the other hand, if you intend to use an artist’s work for commercial use, beware! You don’t want to risk copyright infringement. Here’s how you can avoid it.
If It Isn’t Yours, It Isn’t Yours to Use
If you haven’t conceptualized and created the work you intend to use, you probably shouldn’t use it without consideration, even if you don’t see the ‘copyright’ symbol. For example, if you like an image on the internet and want to use it, you need to look for the licensing and permission details before downloading the image and using it for a commercial purpose. It would also surprise you to learn that many YouTubers have been found infringing on a copyright, thanks to YouTube’s music infringement detection software.
If You Intend to Use It, You Should…
Start Reading! Of course, some creative content generators do want to share their work on their own terms. It is generally beneficial to read the ‘usage rules’ that are mentioned below. Some creators don’t mind letting others use their content for an attribution that links back to them, while others don’t mind letting others use their content for a small fee. The greater the fame and popularity of the content creator, the more expensive and complicated usage becomes. What’s the worst case scenario? You could be left grappling with intellectual property litigation. Talk to an IP lawyer if you have questions.
If You Are Using It Fairly, Just Use It
There is an exception that applies to the requisite copyright infringement laws of most lands – the fair use rule. You can use the work of an artist without prior permission, need for attribution, and payment if your use is considered “fair use”.
You’re using an artist’s work fairly if you are:
- Using an artist’s work for an academic endeavor
- Using an artist’s work for the purpose of parody
- Using segments of an artist’s work to discuss it or critique it
If you are using something from the internet, you can seek out works that are hosted by Creative Commons, where you can use the same version of the work or its modified version with or without a simple attribution, depending on the description provided there.
Are you concerned that you have already infringed upon someone’s copyright? Or are you concerned that someone has infringed upon your existing copyright? Contact us for assistance.