eBook Ch. 2
Copyright Infringement:
Not the Highest Form of Flattery

ebook Chapter Cover Image "Copyright Infringement: Not the Highest Form of Flattery"

Ch. 2: Copyright Infringement: Not the Highest Form of Flattery



Is enforced by…

Pitfalls for media companies


Literary works, movies, dance, music, sound recordings, paintings, drawings, photos, graphic designs (i.e., creative intellectual property)

Civil courts — third parties can sue you over infringement.

Google image search, unauthorized use of sound / music clips

Simple misuse of an image can cost thousands — even without a lawsuit.

Advertising professionals need to be on the lookout for copyright violations. In recent years, we've seen high-profile cases in which musicians sued an ad agency (or its client) for improperly using their music in a spot. Here are a couple examples:

  • The Black Keys sued Pizza Hut and Home Depot for using versions of its songs in their ads without authorization, according to Rolling Stone.
  • Eminem's music group has sued Facebook , Audi , and Apple for various campaigns that used his music without permission, according to various sources.

Copyright law gives authors exclusive control over their work for a limited time. The law means that only authors or copyright holders can reproduce, distribute, perform, display, and transmit that work unless they give explicit permission. In the cases above, Eminem and the Black Keys hadn't given the go-ahead to companies that used versions of their songs.

Copyrightable works include…

  • Art.
  • Literature.
  • Music.
  • Dance.
  • Photos.
  • Architecture.

As a media, advertising, or graphic design professional, you need to be excessively cautious about the music, images, and graphics you use in your work. It's all too easy to see how you could run into trouble.

A client might want you to use a particular piece of music in your work, but they might not own the rights to it. Or say you use a jingle in an advertisement. The melody is perilously similar to a popular pop song. You might not even have realized the likeness. Nonetheless, you can get sued for copyright infringement.

Next: Pt. 1: Copyright Case Study: PR Daily's $3,000 Google Image Search Blunder

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