Copyright Infringement: It’s Not a Good Thing

The best content connects with your audience. It bridges the gap between your business and your customers. It is goal-oriented and specific.

Oh, and it’s also legal.

Copyright infringement—it’s not a good thing. 

Copyright infringement is illegal. No, you won’t end up in jail, but you could end up with millions of dollars in fines and legal fees. Plus, it’s just kind of a rude thing to do.

I get it. Oftentimes, you see something great, and you just want to share it with the world. Maybe you didn’t even know you were violating copyright law, but ignorance is not an excuse for illegality.

Although the law can sometimes be confusing, especially with all of its legal jargon, understanding copyright law doesn’t have to be overly complicated.

So, what is copyright law?

At its base level, copyright law refers to the rules and regulations governing specific intellectual property. Copyright protects published and unpublished “original works of authorship.” This is a fancy way of saying copyright protects things like literary works, plays, movies, music, computer software and even architecture, among other works.

How can I avoid copyright infringement?

Honestly, the best way to avoid copyright infringement is to create your own content. You own all the rights to the content you create, and your published works are immediately protected

However, it may not always make sense to create your own content. It can be time consuming, and even the smartest person in the world doesn’t know everything. Sometimes, it’s best to leave content creation to experts in their respective fields. 

If you’re going to use someone else’s content, be sure to ask permission. The worst they can do is say no. When you do use others’ content, be sure to backlink to their original publication and give them credit for their work.

Are there times when copyright doesn’t apply?

Great question! There absolutely are times when copyright doesn’t apply. For instance, you’re always allowed to use items that fall under “public domain.” These include facts, discoveries and works dating before 1926. Most Sherlock Holmes stories, for example, are public domain works.

There are several additional exemptions to copyright law, including a commonly used phrase known as “fair use.” Fair use allows for the unlicensed use of copyrighted materials in certain circumstances. Some common cases that fall under fair use include educational purposes, criticism, commentary and research. However, fair use does not provide blanket protection, and there are instances where copyright still may apply. 

Ultimately, it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Copyright truly is an instance where it’s better to ask for permission rather than forgiveness. 


The best way to avoid copyright issues is to create and post original content. However, that can be daunting. That’s where we come in. We provide clients with original content, custom websites and full-scale digital marketing solutions. Contact us today.

To learn more about copyright law, visit copyright.gov.

Rooted Web is not a law firm and our employees are not acting as your attorney. The information is general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. If you are unsure whether your particular situation requires that a document be changed, you should consult a lawyer. 

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Ryan Berger

Ryan Berger is a digital content producer who uses his fun and creative energy to produce fresh, unique and custom content for our clients.

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