The internet today makes finding interesting content and artistic images easy. For anyone who has a presentation or a paper to write, finding the right information and/or images can mean the difference between success and failure. But before you hit the “download” button, consider the intellectual property implications.
Electronically available content, whether it is written or an image, is initially owned by its creator. The creator, such as an employee, may be under an obligation to assign rights in the creation to their employer. Anyone who uses content without authorization may be guilty of copyright infringement.
There are software programs available to track the use of electronic content. If the content is used without authorization by the owner, the user may be notified of their unauthorized use and asked to pay a fine and to stop any further use.
This happened to a client of mine. They used a photo their website developer “found” on the internet and posted it onto their business website. They did not seek authorization to use it and the owner of the photo sought damages, which they had to pay.
So, the next time you want to cut and paste, remember that someone else may be the creator of some of your content. Don’t download what you don’t own until you have permission. If you don’t obtain permission, respect the copyright.
Identifying, protecting and leveraging intellectual property is critical to any organization. Having the right person to help you make those decisions is important. The Law Office of Kathleen Lynch PLLC is designed to help businesses such as yours keep ahead of the game. The first telephone consultation is free. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.