SMACK. POW. Right where it counts!
Nope, not on your kisser but, even worse, in your wallet. Agencies, PR and marketing professionals, bloggers and anyone doing social media (who doesn’t?) are unwittingly putting themselves at risk. The lesson can be expensive, with lawsuit costs and fines stacking up in a horrifying way.
What am I talking about? Copyright infringement.*
It doesn’t feel like you’re breaking the law when you save a funny cartoon or quote you like, so you can post it to Facebook later. Or when you scan then post your honor roll student’s school photo on Instagram. (You bought the big reprints package, so it isn’t stealing!) And… at work, when you use a photograph of Angelina Jolie in a blog post on breast cancer. (It wouldn’t be on Google if it weren’t okay to use!)
Or, even more common, when you use client-provided photography in a brochure you are creating for them, with the client then promptly posting a PDF of that brochure on their website. (You paid the photographer AND agency, after all, so it belongs to you!)
Then there’s this one – so rampant in the agency world – you post screenshots of a client’s customized Facebook page and Twitter background in your online portfolio. (After all, it’s your design work, right?) And since you’re dabbling in website edits, you might as well upload those BurrellesLuce clips of editorial placements. (Don’t they send a PDF for that reason?)
These might seem innocuous enough, but they’re legal violations that can be prosecuted. Even if it doesn’t go to court, fines can be in the tens of thousands of dollars.