One of the things often overlooked by online marketers is the importance of observing copyright laws – yes, even on the Internet! So I wanted to share a couple of sites with you.
Copyright on the Web – this is an article from About.com. Well-written and easy to follow.
Copyscape – If you suspect someone has used your materials without permission, you can put their URL into this site. They will provide you with a report on how similar that page is to every other page on the Internet. Likewise, you can use this if you suspect you’ve used too much of someone else’s words on your page.
In general, Fair Use, as defined by the copyright law is the Golden Rule – Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If it’s going to cost them gold (time, marketshare, or money out of their pocket), don’t do it.
And as for images – just because you found it on Google doesn’t mean you have the right to use it. Assume that ALL images are copyrighted unless they specifically say they are “public domain” or “royalty free.” Otherwise, you’re running a risk every time you use someone else’s photograph, cartoon, or graphic. Again, just think how YOU would feel if you found out someone else was using the graphics you paid $100 to have created for you.