Chances are, if you’re using the Internet these days, you either regularly read or write blog entries in your spare time. Whether you’re keeping up-to-date with gardening trends or parenting advice, there are always consequences to unfairly obtaining copyrighted material. Just like with any other platform, the Internet is supported by laws; if you’re not careful with what you write and how you write it, your content could be removed or you could face serious legal action.

For instance, sending content under false pretences to subscribers or not allowing them to unsubscribe can classify your newsletters as spam, which under the CAN-SPAM Act means a fine of up to $16,000 per email.

Another legal matter to keep in mind when browsing the web is libel. If you knowingly say something false online and it harms someone’s reputation, you could be guilty of defamation. If the court finds you liable for your libel, you can be forced to face hefty fines.

Have you ever typed something into a search engine but some of the links don’t work, citing something called the DMCA in the search results? That’s the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and it’s no joke: the 5,076 copyright infringement federal court cases from 2015 can attest to its realness. The glow of a computer monitor may seem far away from real attorneys and real courtrooms, but even though it’s digital marketing, there are very real consequences that you could have to answer to.

Vague warnings aside, what exactly is copyright infringement, and how do you avoid it? If you don’t have proper permission from a publisher or owner, infringement includes:

  • Reproducing copyrighted material
  • Distributing copyrighted material
  • Downloading copyrighted material
  • Uploading copyrighted material
  • Creating derivative works

Take care when blogging online and always play by the rules. If someone steals your ideas at the least you know the laws that can help you.

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