When it comes to SEO content is king. A major component in the process of optimizing your sites for search engines is creating content and building content marketing campaigns. As with any content marketing campaign, imagery plays an important role in helping convey your message and attracting your readers attention.
However, where you source your content marketing imagery can adversely affect your company, and ultimately result in a several thousand dollar fine for each copyright infringement.
How it works
Companies such as Righthaven (a copyright enforcement agency) often purchase assets from media companies or photographers alike with the sole purpose of suing blogs and websites that repost articles or images without permission. This often results in a cease-and-desist and tagged with a several thousand dollar settlement fee.
Not only will this cost you money, it’s taking up your time and resources, ultimately affecting your bottom line.
4 ways you can protect yourself
Source imagery from reliable mediums
The safest way to protect your company is to create your own photos, or source them from public domain photos (Wikimedia Commons) or purchase them through stock photograph sites such as Pixabay or iStockPhoto.
Double check that the images are public-domain or offered under a license that allows you to use them on a commercial website. While not always accurate, Google Images allows you to search imagery with varying usage permissions. Be sure to keep documentation of this as much as possible.
Check existing imagery
Verify your existing content marketing imagery using Google Images. This will allow you to quickly scan whether this image was “grabbed” from the web which could constitute a copyright infringement.
Update your ToS and Register a DMCA
If your site offers UGC (user generated content) be sure your Terms of Service indicate that you are not responsible for user uploaded content. You may also consider registering a DMCA to allow for quick and easy takedown of infringing material, while also protecting you from third-party posts. You can learn more about registering a DMCA agent at Copyright.gov.
Consult an attorney
If the monetary value for the infringement is excessive, consider talking with your attorneys. They can often reduce the infringement fee considerably, while also saving you the hassle of dealing with the copyright enforcement agency. Keep in mind, consulting an attorney may ultimately cost more than simply paying the infringement fee.
As you work to build your company’s presence on the web and you continue to get more eyes on your website, stay alert! With copyright trolls on the rise, it’s more important than ever to protect your company through proper image acquisition for your content marketing campaign. Take the time and source or purchase your imagery and save countless headaches down the road!
Have you experienced copyright issues like this? Tell us how you further protect your assets in the comments below.