Do you use content that you did not create on your blog, website or elsewhere?

By content, we mean articles and other copy; photographs and other types of images; audio; video and so on.

hands on keyboardIf any of your content is not original, you need to be sure you have the right to use it. If you don’t, you could face legal action.

In making that determination, you may run across some unfamiliar terms or terms you’ve heard but may not understand.

These are some terms you need to know when you’re verifying that you have the legal right to the content you’re using and sharing:

Attribution: The act of attributing, especially the act of declaring or affirming a particular person or entity as the creator of a work of art. Writers, photographers and other artists may or may not insist on attribution as part of an agreement to allow their work to be used in various contexts.

Compensation: Something, usually money, paid in exchange for a product, service or the right to use certain intellectual property.

Conditions: A set of requirements that must be met before something can occur or be done. The owner of intellectual property may require that certain conditions be met as part of authorizing the use of the property.

Copyright: Protection by statute or by the common law, giving authors and artists exclusive right to publish their works or to determine who may publish or use their works. When by statute, copyright is exclusively a matter of federal law.

Copyright infringement: The offense of unauthorized use of a work protected by copyright. The legal penalties for copyright infringement can include the infringer paying the actual dollar amount of damages and profits plus attorneys’ fees and court costs. In some cases, the infringer can go to jail.

End-user license agreement (EULA): A legal contract between the manufacturer and/or author/artist and the end user of a product.

Free: Without cost or payment of any type.

Intellectual property (IP): Intangible property such as literary works, manuscripts, works of art, inventions, concepts, ideas and so on. Intellectual property is often offered protection under patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets.

License: A permit to own or use something, do a particular thing, or carry on a trade. As it relates to intellectual property such as images, a license is the agreement under which the licensor (typically the entity that owns the property) agrees to not invoke ownership protection laws when the licensee uses the property covered by the license. The license usually includes specific conditions for the use of the covered intellectual property.

Limitations: A restriction; a limiting rule or circumstance. Often agreements to use intellectual property such as photographs will carry some type of limitations.

Model release: A legal release signed by the subject of a photograph (or that individual’s legal representative in the case of a minor or someone without the capacity to sign) granting permission to publish the photograph.

Property release: A legal release signed by the owner of property used in a photograph or video granting permission to use or publish the photograph or video.

Public domain: The state of belonging or being available to the public as a whole and therefore not subject to copyright. The term public domain typically applies to the status of a literary work or an invention whose copyright or patent has expired or that never had such protection.

Restrictions: See limitations.

Right(s): Related to the use of intellectual property, rights refers to the proprietary, contractual or legal rights to use the property in a specified manner or manners.

Royalty-free (RF): The right to use copyrighted material or intellectual property without paying royalties or license fees for each use. The “free” in royalty-free does not mean there is no cost to use the material; it means that you typically pay a one-time fee that covers a stipulated use or time period.

Do you know of any terms that should be added to this list? Please leave them in the comments below.

Jacquelyn Lynn
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