Seriously, it is not funny.
You have done it and you now it!
What I am referring to is stealing pictures, music, artwork, text and more from others.
I know you are guilty.
How? You have taken something from the internet for your school project, your own website, company, commercial use, using it in a banner, texting your friends that funny picture you just saw on Facebook or whatever.
See? I was right.
Especially pictures on the internet, are at great risk.
Most do not have the knowledge about what copyrighting is and others just do not respect other peoples work.
1. Is copyright really a law?
- Pictures, whether they are digital or printed.
- Text, even if it is a school project, on a private website or a public website.
- Videos, including homemade and professional videos, -movies, -dramas and the likes.
- Paintings and artwork, even if the artist, is a non-famous street artist.
- Music, and it does not matter it the artist is known or unknown.
- And much more.
You can read details about the law at Rights Direct.
2. Is it really stealing?
Absolutely, it is 100 percent stealing, if you take someones work and use it or publish it, as your own.
For the record it is not stealing, if you get inspired by a particular piece of work. You are allowed to produce your own, using the same idea. – Unless it has a patent. Then you cannot.
It is the expression which is protected and not the idea.
Let us go through a couple of examples to make it perfectly clear.
You may not:
- Find any picture and post it all over your social media accounts.
- Take a beautiful photograph, taken by a normal person and post it as your own on a blog.
- Find the perfect picture and put it on your blog, even with a link to the original source.
- Take any kind of text, which you just copy-paste.
- Use your favorite music piece in a video you make.
- Download a movie and upload it on Youtube.
- Find a piece of text you like and use it as inspiration to write your own, then publish it on your website.
- See a picture of a motive and take one just like it, to put it everywhere you like.
- Upload a karaoke song to Youtube, which you have sung.
- Like a movie so much, that you make your own, which is inspired by it.
3. What should I do, if I really want to use the picture?
Ask for permission to use it. – And with that are two possibilities:
- The owner will say, no. – Meaning you will have to find a new picture, pay someone to take one or take it yourself.
- The owner will say, yes. – They might just ask for a link and others will ask for a price and add some conditions.
4. I have been a victim too
Once I discovered that two of my competitors had stolen pictures and some text from my online shop, X2Nails.
- One took a picture and used on their Instagram account.
- And the other one took four product pictures and a text I had written for the products.
At first I could not believe that a company would steal something from mine. Fortunately, I knew the copyright law. I gathered all the evidence I could and contacted my lawyer. We sent a letter of removal and later an invoice for the violation.
- The first case was solved fast and they paid as sum we both agreed on.
- The other case went to court and was ruled in my favor.
5. What to do if you are a victim?
- First of all, you need to gather all the evidence you can get against the thief. Take videos of the material and screenshots.
- Back the evidence up in more than one place. For example in any secure cloud service, on an external drive, in an e-mail or another computer. – It it best to have more than one back up.
- Now you need to prove that the work is yours. Find the original picture or what it is, which is dated. If you have had it edited or made by someone, find the invoice, e-mail and more. – Save that by filming it and take screenshots.
- Now seek help from someone professional or someone who has a lot of experience with these types of cases. If you have a case in Denmark you can get professional, cheap and great help from Not Allowed. They will even take your case for 35% of the settlement amount, with the “no cure no pay”-principal. – For your own sake, do not use anyone who has not done copyright cases before.
- Have the lawyer send them an e-mail or letter and ask them to remove your work. Also make a claim for the violation. The amount you can claim is different, depending on the type and amount of work which has been stolen.
- If they do not want to pay, there is always a choice of suing them. It can be difficult if you live in different countries but it is possible. – Although it is best to settle outside of court, since it can be time consuming and expensive.
6. Protect your work
This is important!
Especially since it is such a common crime to steal someones work. The tings you can do to save your work and easily prove that it is yours, are as following:
- Send an e-mail to a secret account, which only you know about, before publishing it.
- Back it up i an online service, which can save webpages with dates.
- Always have it saved somewhere else. For example on an external hardrive or a cloud service.
- Put a logo on your pictures.
- You can make sure your website does not allow anyone to copy the material.
7. What to do, if you have violated someones copyright
Simply, pay the owner.
You have committed a crime and you need to pay for it.
If you do not want to pay, then the owner will probably sue, costing you much more than the original claim. You will also waste a lot of time.
8. How to get amazing pictures without stealing
Since pictures are the most commonly stolen ting on the internet, here are some great ways to get amazing pictures:
- Take and edit them yourself.
- Take them and have someone edit them for you.
- Buy pictures from a stock-site.
- Get a photographer to take them.
- Find royalty free pictures, but it can cost a lot of time, to find the right one. Here is a page, where you can find 73 pages with free pictures.
9. Would you like it if someone stole your work?
So do not steal other peoples work!
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