Iowa Intellectual Property Blog

Be careful what you post on your website!
Dec. 17, 2012The Dickinson Law Newsroom, Iowa Intellectual Property Blog
Copyright infringement

With the vast amount of information available online it may be tempting to use some of this material, whether a picture, video, design, or written information, to enhance your own website. Many believe that anything posted on the Internet is fair game for use. However, using information from other websites may subject you to a copyright infringement claim if you did not receive permission prior to use.

The creator of an original work is given exclusive rights to prevent the use of a work by others. This protection exists the moment a work is produced in a fixed, tangible form of expression. This includes information found on the Internet. A work does not have to be registered with the U.S. Copyright Office to give the creator exclusive rights to the creative work.

To protect against a claim of copyright infringement, here are some tips:

  • Get permission! If you have information regarding the owner of the work, contact the owner directly. If you are not certain, you can search the database of the Copyright Office for such information. In the absence of permission, err on the side of not using the material.
  • Verify that you are getting permission from someone who is authorized to grant permission.
  • Request the permission in writing.
  • Be prepared to pay a fee for the use.
  • Give credit to the author/artist.


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