Original Content Creation
Here at ShopStyle, we love original and creative content. Not only does original content improve the ShopStyle experience, but it ensures that you are not infringing on anyone else’s intellectual property rights. Intellectual property means someone’s creative work that is usually protectable under the law, whether that is in copyright form (e.g., pictures, video, music, etc.), trademark form (e.g., name brand, logo, etc.), or patent form (e.g., blueprints, technology, etc.).
Photographs and Images
Generally, the person who took the photograph or created an image is the owner of the copyright for that photograph or image (unless there was an agreement otherwise -- often times known as a Work For Hire agreement). While the creator of the photograph or image does not have to register with the US Copyright Office to have ownership of the copyright, there are many advantages in doing so. By formally registering, the copyright owner has increased protections and ability to recover damages in a lawsuit.
You may often see a copyright notice that includes the familiar “©“ and date on webpages or next to other creative works. This does not necessarily mean that the copyright owner has formally registered with the US Copyright Office, but is a way of providing notice to the public of asserted intellectual property rights. Just because you do not see the copyright notice, that does not mean the photographs or images are not protected from improper use.
The best course of action is to always ask the creators their permission to use their photograph(s) or image(s). Just because you provide a link or reference to the original work does not mean that you are not infringing on their intellectual property rights. Often times creators are willing to let others use their photographs or images for free. Other times they may agree to sell you a license to use their image for a specific instance.
“Fair Use” is a legal concept to use copyright materials without the owner’s permission in certain situations for the benefit of society. An example of the “Fair Use” doctrine is when a book reviewer quotes a sentence from the book in his/her review.” “Fair Use” probably does not extend to the reposting of copyrighted images – especially if you are making money off of it.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.