Do you share images on your website or social media accounts? Do you use images on your Lakeland internet marketing materials? If so, you may be infringing on copyrights and you’re not even aware of it. Surely, you don’t want to face legal charges just because you mistakenly used a photo you collected from some obscure website.

With a bit of information, you can protect yourself, your website, and your businesses from a copyright infringement lawsuit.

Copyright Basics

What is copyright? Basically, it’s content that you published in a fixed form. This cannot be edited or manipulated. When you post a photo on Instagram, that’s automatically copyrighted under your name. The same goes for when you post a blog on your website. Your words cannot be copied or duplicated on another website.

Copyright covers a variety of media categories—from literary works to visual arts to digital content o motion pictures to photographs. When it comes to digital content, you don’t need to go to the US Copyright Office, for example, to file for protection. Copyright is automatic. No one should use your work without permission.

Terms and Conditions

Each social media platform has different terms and conditions. Carefully read through the part about posting content before you sign up for an account. On Pinterest, for example, you are allowed to re-pin another user’s content. But if you’re found to be violating the copyright rules, you may be “solely responsible” for the violation. Once you know the rules for each platform, you are ready to start posting and sharing content.

Stock Images

Most websites use stock images. You can choose a free license or a paid one. If you’re paying for the image, make sure you’re allowed to use it for the purpose you want to. Just because you paid $12 for it doesn’t mean you’re allowed to use it for a billboard. Some licenses will only allow you to use the image for either personal use or online media only. You can also be restricted to use the image for a certain number of times.

If the rules are unclear, check the license information usually found on the bottom of the page. Make sure you’re using it for the right purpose.

Educating yourself about copyright and privacy law will enable you to protect your online business and help with your Lakeland internet marketing. Although copyright laws are still tricky, keep in mind that by following the terms and conditions of these social media platforms, you’ll be able to stay out of trouble.