What You Need To Know Before Using Content from the Internet

What You Need To Know Before Using Content from the Internet

If you are a copyright owner, you might want to use the creative commons license because they have several to choose from that can protect your work across several different levels. In addition, if you see a creative commons license, you could click on that link to see exactly how you can use someone else’s copyright protected work.


Announcer:  Today, we are speaking with Enrico Schaefer at Traverse Legal who will talk about what you need to know before using content from the internet, whether for personal or business use.

Enrico Schaefer:

The Internet has been around for about twenty years now.  There are two big trends that we’re seeing in the Internet space. One is trademark infringement, and the second is copyright infringement.

If you are a copyright owner, you might want to use the creative commons license because they have several to choose from that can protect your work across several different levels.  In addition, if you see a creative commons license, you could click on that link to see exactly how you can use someone else’s copyright protected work.

What about copyright fair use?

Fair use is a defense to a claim of copyright infringement by a copyright owner.

Fair use usually comes down to two important elements.  The first is that you can only use a limited portion of the copyright protected work. And two, I’m using it to provide my own criticism or commentary.

The other very common fair use defense, of course, is parody, when I use someone else’s  entire copyright protected work, but I use it for a satirical purpose in order to generate some sort of commentary, feeling or thought by the person viewing it, and so parody and fair use always go together.

What about information in the public domain?  Can you use that information without permission of a copyright owner?

And the answer is, yes.  Public domain information is any information that is either not protected by copyright because it’s not eligible, or the copyright has expired on the work, so it no longer has copyright protection.  And in some instances, it is in the public domain because the copyright author intended it to be freely used without permission.  Also, information from government agencies and employees is always within the public domain, and thus free to use without attribution or permission.

So, what should you do if you get caught using someone else’s copyright protected work without permission or violating someone else’s trademark?

The first thing you should do is be careful.  Don’t respond right away.  Do some internet research in order to understand what the problem is.  Second, if you think that the problem is serious, you should contact an attorney who specializes in these areas.  You don’t want to make the matter worse.  And third, don’t ever respond until you know what you’re doing.  That response is going to be used against you if you say the wrong thing. So, take it seriously, do some research and get some help if you need it.