Every business owner with a website (florists included) should be aware of Copyright Trolls!
Understanding how Copyright Trolls work can save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. If you have never heard of Copyright Trolls then you must read this blog. Many businesses/florists learn too late and are charged steep fees. In this blog, we will get down to the nitty-gritty on Copyright Trolls.
So what are Copyright Trolls? To explain this, let’s first explain what a copyright is.
What Is A Copyright?
You may have seen the c with the circle around it (like this – ©). This is known as a copyright. A copyright is a legal right to the owner of the original work. The original work copyright protects the artist in the following publications:
- Import & Export
Good to know: Some works may not have a copyright but a license. A license grants other people to use the artists work by strict agreements and a fee.
So what is a Copyright Troll?
Here it is – a Copyright Trolls owns © copyrights or licenses. But here is the catch, they have no intent to use the work they own.
- They search the web and find their copyright/licensed material.
- Threaten any user (such as a business) with fees for using their images without approval.
- They do not give up until they get some compensation as this is their main objective and how they make their money.
How does this affect your Flower Shop?
Copyright Trolls are internet based so let’s focus on the pictures you are currently displaying on your floral website.
- Did you take these pictures yourself and post? If so, no need to worry about Copyright Trolls.
- Were the pictures provided by your website hosting company? If so, you are again clear of Copyright Trolls.
- Did you copy these pictures off an internet website, search engine or social media site? If YES, remove immediately, regardless of what kind of picture it is. This is exactly what Copyright Trolls are looking for.
We do understand that when pictures are saved and copied by owners to their websites it is not with malicious intent. Most people just do not understand that Copyright Trolls exist. However, for those who have been hassled by Copyright Trolls, this is a very costly and serious issue.
What Images Should You Use?
Before you copy a picture you like on to your website, make sure that it is not copyrighted and you are able to use it freely without repercussions.
- Use websites that offer free images or Creative Commons licenses.
- Pay for images using stock photos from a stock photo company.
- If you are using the image for selling a product on your website make sure the license allows for that use.
- If you don’t know if an image is copyrighted, just ask! Many artists/companies would be happy to talk to you about the work in question.
- Best Option – take your own pictures of your work. With cameras everywhere now it is not so hard to take a quality picture.
Tip: We like to point out that some images you like may cost a bit but it is certainly worth to pay the small price tag to have the look and feel you are going for and save yourself the hassle of dealing with Copyright Trolls.
How To Fight Copyright Trolls
Once a Copyright Troll locates a picture on a website that is © (they have websites that locate these pictures on anyone’s website across the world), they will bombard you with threatening letters to pay a lump sum or else suffer litigation. If letters are not responded to, they will file claims for damages. This is such a hassle! Remember this is their daily job, they have nothing else to do but send you letters and make you pay.
The Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act – known as OCILLA – has some great advice to follow:
Let’s say you post © images on your website, you can protect yourself from claims under Digital Millennium Copyright Act ( DMCA).
- No actual knowledge of copyrighted content on your website.
- No money is received by posting the copyrighted image.
- Removing the copyrighted image quickly once notified.
Florists lets us know any feedback on Copyright Trolls you may have. Share in the comment section below.
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