In the last two weeks, we’ve discussed copyright and fair use. It’s important to understand both and to consult a lawyer to avoid large fines or, worse, jail. An example: You’ve found the perfect song and added it to your video without checking the copyright. In this case, you can be sued if it’s copyright protected.

If you accidentally and or unknowingly infringe on copyright, the owner can collect damages such as lost profits. If the damages aren’t significant, the owner can seek $750 to $30,000 in statutory damages. If you are found to have done this intentionally, you will likely have to pay attorney fees for the owners, too. Such fees can range well beyond $100,000.

Using the infringing work more than 10 times is considered a felony, which could land you in jail.

Download our Copyright Resource Guide.

Thus it’s extremely important to protect yourself and your business from copyright infringement in videos produced for your business. Even if something isn’t marked as copyrighted, that doesn’t mean it isn’t protected. Always be certain that your content is copyright free. Some examples of copyright free content include:

  • Titles, names, short phrases, slogans, familiar symbols and numbers. However, each of these may be protected by patent, trademark or trade secret laws.
  • Ideas and facts such as phone book listings.
  • Government works and documents.
  • Works with an expired copyright which involves a complicated formula. However, anything created before 1923 is in the public domain.

If you’re accused of a copyright infringement, first consult a copyright lawyer such as Heather Kubiak of the Kubiak Law Firm.

If you found this information helpful or your business is thinking of creating professional videos, follow our video blog, Twice Tips, for helpful tips and advice. Tiffany is also offering a free ticket to our popular MVP Workshop.