Understanding copyright and avoiding legal pain

Understanding copyright and avoiding legal pain

When it comes to creating content for your clinic’s website, it is tempting use existing material you find on the web such as content, eBooks or even photos. This is an all too common pitfall and can have serious legal consequences.

When it comes to populating your website, you will need photos and content. It may be tempting but you cannot simply copy work created by other people without their permission. This is copyright infringement. How then do you fill your site with interesting content and photos that engage your potential clients? Here are your options:

License material for use

One option is to license material from a company that owns such images or content. Buying a license will allow you to use the company’s material for a certain period. It is important to be aware that other people can license the same material so what you use on your site won’t be unique. If you follow this route it is crucial to understand whether the license is “rights managed” or “royalty-free”. Rights managed means you can use a photo for one period and any further use requires another license. This is expensive and not a good option for small business. If it is royalty-free, you pay once and you may use the material and time again for a variety of projects.

Use Creative Commons

Creative Commons licensing has various flavours – but in essence it means the owner of the content has allowed anyone to use the material. It is an option for your practice website photos but because people are giving their work away for free, the quality tends to be poor. Often, you need to credit the original owner when you use the material (e.g. ”photo courtesy of …”)

Create original content yourself

Easily the best option is to create or commission your own original content. Sure, you may not be a professional photographer but you can take decent high definition photos that will do your practice justice. If you need to, ask a friend to help. When it comes to including content for your practice website, it is best to write it yourself. You know what your clients are interested in and what they want to read, and you are certainly more qualified than any agency. Original content that engages your audience is what will help convert clicks to leads. You also have the benefit of owning all your content and not having worry about copyright infringements. This will take time, but it is worth it.

 

When looking for content or photos for practice websites, always remember that you are responsible for any content on your website, regardless of who made it, where it came from, who uploaded it or who belongs to. Don’t get caught out.

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