Have you ever sat down at work, found an image on Google and simply decided to use it for work purposes? If so, you might land in a spot of trouble.
But how can you get into trouble for using an image from Google? Isn’t everything found on the search engine free to use? No, it isn’t. In fact, one needs to be extremely careful what you use due to copyright laws.
What does copyright mean?
Copyright means that the creator or owner of the image, book, song or even painting has sole rights on its use. If used without the proper authorisation, the perpetrator can face legal action. Yes, you can go to court by using that photo of the cute puppy in your work mail shot.
It is important to note there is no registration required for copyright to subsist in work. This creates the necessity to establish the existence of the copyright. It is therefore instrumental for people to keep detail records as to who, when and by whom the work is created. This is to ensure the author or creator of the work can be identified.
An arduous task, however, it can ensure your work cannot be used by anyone else without legal repercussions. There are six basic requirements for a copyright to be legitimate:
- There must be a work
- The work must fall within one of the categories listed in section 21 of the Copyright Act
- The categorised work must be original
- The work must exist in material form or reduced to a material form
- The work must be made by a qualified person
- If not by a qualified person, the work must exist in some circumstances of first publication
By maintaining proper records, you can ensure that your work or company’s work can not be used with the proper consent. There are two ways in which copyright infringement can take place. This includes:
This is where an individual ignores all copyrights put down on an individual’s work, which includes copying the product and using it for commercial use.
This is where certain acts are done without the consent of the copyright holder, this includes producing the said item for trade to make profit.
If your work or company’s work, artwork included, has been used without your consent, you are well within your rights to take legal action. Despite no registration needed for copyright, it can be classified as stealing.
Those who rely on search engines such as Google are also advised to practise caution before using music or images for their work.
We hope this clears up any misunderstanding or lack of knowledge surrounding this topic.