Episode 19. How to Legally Share Content (Don’t be a Copycat!)
We all want to create and share content respectfully and properly online. But sometimes it’s hard to know where to draw the line between inspiration and imitation. Let’s go over some of the basics of copyright law, what it is, what content falls under that category, and how you can use other peoples’ content, legally. I also discuss the fair use exception, what it is, and what content falls under it.
In this episode, you’ll hear…
- 04:56 – Understanding the gray areas of copyright law
- 07:11 – What content falls under copyright law
- 10:38 – How you can use someone else’s work
- 15:48 – Fair use laws and how to use them
- 22:35 – Making sure you have something original to say
What falls under copyright law and what is excluded?
Let’s start with the basics. Some of the things that fall under copyright law in America are literary works (including books and written content), music, lyrics, photographs and videos, and even architectural work. This covers the bulk of what you do as an entrepreneur. Trademarks typically cover design marks (logos) or word marks (names, slogans, etc.).
How to use someone else’s work fairly and legally
When you purchase something, you are typically purchasing some level of rights as outlined by a licensing agreement. For a book, that means you have legal permission to read it. For my Ultimate Bundle, that means you are allowed to use my templates for your personal business, but you are not allowed to distribute it freely to others. These nuances are important to get familiar with.
What about Fair Use? What is it and how does it work?
I recommend reading the full Fair Use Guide provided by the US Copyright Office. In the meantime, these are some of the general things copyright law looks at when deciding whether or not your usage falls under the exception:
- Are you using it in a commercial or educational manner?
- Have you put a distinct and unique spin on the work?
- Are you presenting it as your own?
There is no truly new information under the sun, but we all synthesize it in different ways. If you’re worried that the content you’re creating is too similar to others in your industry, it may be time to put your head down and focus on building your business or finding inspiration from outside your industry. Whatever the case, I hope these tips help you feel more comfortable in knowing what you can and can’t legally share.
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Resources Discussed in This Episode
- How to Legally Share Content [blog post] – https://www.samvanderwielen.com/how-to-legally-share-content/
- Copyright Basics PDF from US Copyright Office – https://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ01.pdf
- Fair Use Guide – https://www.copyright.gov/fair-use/
- Episode 1. Community Over Competition is BS: Tips to Navigate Your Competition in a Healthier Way
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DISCLAIMER: Although Sam is an attorney she doesn’t practice law and can’t give you legal advice. All episodes of On Your Terms are educational and informational only. The information discussed here isn’t legal advice and isn’t intended to be. The info you hear here isn’t a substitute for seeking legal advice from your own attorney.
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