Debunking the Most Common Myths That Exist About Digital Content Today

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Creating sizzling digital content with great words and visuals is a necessity when making a name for yourself or your company on the web. The visual aspect is especially important with a close to 10,000 per cent increase in the use of visuals since 2007.

However, there are many myths surrounding how to source and use this type of content. We’re about to debunk them all for you. Let’s begin!

The Rules of Copyright Do Not Apply to Small Companies or Solopreneurs

Developing online content can be a challenge for businesses of all sizes. Along the way, there can be the temptation to think that operating at such a small level affords you certain liberties.

Not the case, especially as far as intellectual property is concerned! When you’re using someone else’s words or ideas, make sure you give them the appropriate credit. If there are specific permissions, as in the case of images, do not use them unless you have permission to do so from the creator.

The Internet has long been applauded for its ability to even the playing field. Well, that goes both ways. Playing with the big boys means you have to play by the same rules, too.

Works Without a Copyright Notice Are Fair Game

So, you’ve got your killer content down pat. Now all you need is the right image or video to make the visuals pop. Oh great, there’s one here with no copyright notice!

Hold up. Just because it’s not explicitly stated, you’re not free to use it. That’s because copyright is created the moment the creator creates the work.

The lesson is clear. You still need permission. To protect yourself, reach out to the copyright holder in writing for permission, and don’t use unless they’ve responded with the affirmative.

Creative Commons Searches Are Also Fair Game

Specifically, in the world of video and image copyright, there is a wonderful thing called “Creative Commons.” This can allow you to legally use materials without having to pay for them, provided you credit the owner.

You can find many of these materials by searching Google Image Search, clicking Tools, and changing to Creative Commons. Finding a great image this way can be exhilarating, but not so fast.

There’s the strong possibility that an image has been shared by a publisher who doesn’t own the copyright as a Creative Commons image. That publisher could be okay to use the image, but that doesn’t mean you are because you haven’t obtained the same permission.

‘Royalty-Free’ Does Not Require a Payment

Another thing to remember when browsing Internet images, particularly those on the most well-known photo websites, is that “royalty-free images” do not mean “free” images. Some payment has still transpired for the initial use.

If you have not purchased that right, you are not clear to use the image. The “royalty-free” aspect simply means you do not have to continue to pay for using the image once you’ve bought the right to use it one time. At least, not for the same website.

No One Will Ever Know

Watermarked images trip up many amateur web publishers. They are dead giveaways that the image has been stolen.

There’s a temptation when you’re pulling down only a few hundred visitors a month that no one will catch you. Think again.

Intellectual property owners are very protective of their work. It’s their livelihood, after all. They can bust you with a solitary search (or more likely by using a software-based tracking service), and they will if you’re stealing their IP.

Using an Image You Found on Social Media Absolves You of Copyright Responsibilities

The thinking here is that someone else violated the copyright before you. Shouldn’t they be the ones to be held responsible? Well, yes.

They can and will be held responsible through take-down notices, possible suspension or termination of accounts, and the potential for monetary and criminal punishments. But so could you.

The law applies to everyone, and your sharing of other people’s illegal content doesn’t give you a free pass to then use that material on your website. It’s okay to embed social media posts that use images because that’s just a link to the person who posted it. But the moment you start taking those images as your own, you’d better get permission.

Music, Videos, and Images on Free Sites Are Fair Game

This is not necessarily true. You have to do your research on the site itself. This is necessary to ensure they took the proper steps in making the content available for the use of content creators.

If the site is not reputable, then it’s likely that nothing you obtain from it will be allowed. Ignorance of the law is no excuse either.

Your Next Steps

Myths no more! We’ve debunked the major ones anyway. Now it’s time to decide what to do next, and that means taking some careful but clear steps to protect yourself, such as the following:

Read Notices Attached to Content Carefully

Every website that makes photos, images, and music available for distribution should have information from the rights-holder as to how that media is to be used. If they don’t, avoid that site. If they do, then take the time to read the fine print.

Follow the Instruction for How to Reuse or Cite

Finding the rights-holders information will lead you to the instructions for how you are to cite that particular media when reusing. If it’s truly a Creative Commons image, then you can use it for free without fear as long as you follow the citation instructions. If it’s not free, that means you’ll have to pay first and then cite it as required.

Ask Permission When in Doubt

Unsure of whether the image is available for use? Find the rights-holder information and send that party an email or place a call. Ask specifically for written permission to use the materials.

Create Your Own Digital Content

This is not for everyone, but it is an option if you’re talented at graphic design, photography, and photo-editing software. You could end up being the one people ask for permission. Still, it’s a lot of hard work, and you may find paying for or obtaining information a better use of your time and money.

Understanding the Myths of Digital Content Will Help You Avoid Costly Errors

We hope this look at the myths behind digital content will keep you from taking any missteps. If you’re still uncertain, then make sure you check out our Help page at TopFoto. We’re here to make sure you get the content you need at an affordable price and some much-needed peace of mind.


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