Content, content, content – there’s a lot of talk about that. You need to post photos, videos, and other visuals to build your online presence. So you decided to post something on your website and use a photo that you got from one of your Google searches. And voila! The next thing you know you receive a love letter from a lawyer, demanding for payment otherwise you’ll get sued. How do you handle that? Sadly, deleting the photo won’t fix it. Now you end up paying thousands of dollars for one picture.
One simple mistake can cost you ruining a business which you’ve worked hard for. So two words here – Due diligence.
There is a lot of ignorance about the legal side of online selling. Whether you’re a professional seller or you’re selling as an entrepreneur, you need to set the rules first before you play the game. Keeping informed is key.
That’s why I brought Kendra Stephen to the show so you would know what your rights are as a website owner and how to protect yourself, your business and your clients.
Kendra Stephen is a lawyer that understands online business. With 10 years of working with online marketing business website, Kendra helps people grow their business online while providing them with relevant legal resources and assistance.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Kendra:
You don’t have to be online for your business to be online.
What people need to focus on:
- Growing their business.
- Controlling what’s out there about their business.
Key things you need to be aware of when you’re playing in the online space:
Important areas on the website commonly overlooked:
- Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) – allows the website owner to have protection.
DMCA requirements people forget about:
- Registering an agent with the copyright office.
- There are steps you need to follow to get protection under this act.
Copyright Infringement, defined: Taking someone’s original work (photo, video, writing) and posting it on your website without their permission.
Make sure the content of your website is not infringing on someone else’s copyrights. (Regardless of who posted it, whether your designer or virtual assistant, you will be held liable.)
3 categories photos usually fall under:
- Creative Commons.
- Stock photos.
- Public domain – free to use.
Keep track of a list of the photos you use on your website. Keep a record of your content.
If you need to use someone else’s information, get their permission in writing.
If you’re paying someone to write for your website, keep a record of the agreement you have with them. For example:
- What content they’re going to write.
- Who owns the content once they write and produce it.
Most recently, they opened the world of domain names thereby also opening the door to more domain name disputes. Often times, people register the domain name not realizing that it’s someone’s trademark name.
Be careful when you’re registering your domain name that you don’t infringe on the trademark. When registering a domain name, make sure you do a trademark search.
Before you register your domain name, go to the United States Patent and Trademark Office website and search. But, things can get complicated. Better yet, speak with an attorney that does trademark searches. With one click, they can search everything. It may cost you money to have an attorney search the name for you but definitely less headache than you ending up being sued.
Is your podcast protected?
The moment you created the podcast, it’s protected by copyright law. If you did register it and someone decides to post it elsewhere without your permission, the statutory damages for copyright infringement can cost up to $150,000!
Rebroadcasting your podcast
Be careful with your agreements otherwise you could be signing over your copyrights to the company. Be careful about what you’re signing.
When you’re hiring a designer, make sure the designer hands over the rights to it.
Or tweet her @KendraStephen
Kendra’s Major Takeaways:
“Create your own content. It is so easy to copy and paste from someone else’s website and you don’t want to do that. If you must use someone else’s information, get their permission in writing.”