If I was working for a public relations organization and someone was caught using the information, graphics, or other content from my company’s blog or website, I would want to take action. It would tick me off to no end if someone got away with plagiarizing my work. Coming up with graphics, layout, information, and design is not an easy task to undertake.
As a Christian, I am against suing and all of the financial and emotional headache that entails, but I will not stand for someone using my information. First things first, make sure all information of worth is protected by copyright law. When a work such as music or artwork or website design or written piece is protected by copyright law, it means that the creator gets credit for his creation, plain and simple.
There are several myths about copyright law; it is possible the person thought that the content they used was fair game. After all, ignorance causes many of today’s social issues (but that’s another blog post in and of itself). I will mention some of the myths that I discovered while looking up some information for this blog.
1. Never reproduce any unoriginal content. Many authors and artists will be happy to have their work furthered.
2. Copyright violation is rude, not a crime. Those who disregard this law might find themselves slapped with a $2500 fine.
3. The content is fair game if there is no copyright. Always play it safe rather than sorry. When in doubt, ask permission or do not use the content at all.
4. It is not a violation if I do not charge for it. Charging for copyrighted content merely affects punishment allotted in court.
5. Copyright regulations are ineffective if not pursued by the owner. Copyright laws still apply, period.
Now keeping all of these in mind, I would first contact the person in question and see if they would be will to offer a retraction or correction. This would save time and money that would be consumed by the court otherwise. It would also allow the public to know that my company was the one who had the content posted first. It might make them look better, too, in the long run if they own up to their mistakes sooner. The public is usually more forgiving the sooner a fallen company admits its wrongs.
Here is a funny, cute video on copyright that I found on YouTube. Enjoy!