Watch Out For Vulnerability With Content Marketing
As a website owner content is the core of your online presence, search campaign and overall marketing strategy. Needless to say, you can’t put too much value on quality content that attracts a regular stream of relevant traffic to your website.
That said, content gets more difficult to produce each year. The web is more visual than ever and social media is evolving the way we consume and share content. Chances are you don’t have a music studio, film crew or team of photographers to create bespoke content, which means you have to source it from elsewhere – and that leaves you vulnerable to copyright law.
Quite simply, if you write your own content or produce it in-house, you have full rights to everything you create and publish. Things are a little bit different if you use an agency or a freelancer to write content for you though, so make sure you have all the usage rights before you hire anyone.
When it comes to using other people’s content, you should always ask for permission – however Google’s stance on duplicate content means you should avoid ‘borrowing’ altogether. Curated content, where you use the theme or refer to other sources to create original content is fine, but copy and pasting is a big no-no.
Images and graphics
Images and graphics are a little tougher, unless you have a professional photographer, artist or designer on foot. If that’s not the case, you have to rely on images that already exist on the web.
Basically, you have two options: pay for stock images from a vendor or search for creative commons images where the owner has stated they are happy for people to use their images. Just be aware that Google’s stance in duplicate images could change at some point in the future and that creative commons licences can also change over time.
Video is even tougher for content creators because it can be very expensive and quality stock footage is almost impossible to come by. Which means you almost certainly need to call in the services of a film crew or animator. Much like written content, just be sure that you own all the usage rights – especially if you hire a freelance animator.
Embedding YouTube videos is another option you have and courts have recently ruled that embedding videos does not count as copyright infringement. Uploaders have the option to remove the embed feature if they don’t want people to use their video, but you should still credit any footage you embed.
Fair use and web content
There is a grey area in copyright law where you can use protected content – as long as you are using it in the right way. This is called ‘fair use’ and it can be as ambiguous as it sounds, so read up on the rule and draw a safe line the right side of copyright.
Generally speaking, you can use copyrighted material by means of comment, demonstration or education. For example, you can’t go around using the Google logo on your business cards or emails, but you can take a screenshot of the logo to use it in an article about the latest Google algorithm updates.
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