If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you probably have created and produced videos. We’ve taught how to create videos for marketing and internal communication. As a creator of these, you must avoid putting yourself or your company at risk of being sued for copyright infringement.

A copyright can be applied to any original song, video, writing or photograph. If you want to use something found on the internet, no matter how perfect for your video, often you must obtain the author’s written permission.

According to the U.S. Code, “copyright protection subsists . . . in original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression, now known or later developed, from which they can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.”

That means the author has the exclusive right to:

  • Make unlimited copies of the work
  • Distribute it by sale or donation
  • Change and display it.

Not everything you may want to use is protected. The law doesn’t cover ideas and facts, just the expression of them. If a work is only a thought and not physically manifested, it’s considered an idea and thus not covered.

Copyright also doesn’t cover anything considered fair use. However, the fair use doctrine is slippery and decided case by case. Subscribe to our video blog, Twice Tips, to learn more and ensure that you understand the difference.

Next week, attorney Heather Kubiak returns to discuss fair use and for the rest of the month, she will cover the many aspects of copyright. Visit her blog at thekubiaklawfirm.com.

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