The new year brings new opportunities to manage copyright-protected works. Are you thinking about your copyright-protected content as an asset and something that can be monetized? And are you doing the most you can to ensure that others’ content is legally used? This is a good time to reflect upon your practices and refine them as necessary.
1. Protecting Content
What are you doing to protect your own content? Some simple reminders:
Use the universal copyright symbol, ©, on works that belong to you; this reminds potential users that copyright exists in those works.
Include contact information and a hyperlinked URL for permissions, to increase the likelihood that potential users will seek permissions before using a work.
Audit your content. What content do you own? Include content created by employees as well as content in which the copyright has been assigned to you.
Once you have an inventory of content that you own, consider how you can adapt that content and who might be interested in that content. Are there organizations that may want to license your content?
Your content is a valuable asset. Set up a mechanism and timetable to conduct periodic online searches to ensure all uses are in fact authorized by you.
2. Using Content of Others
Consider how you use copyright-protected content belonging to others.
Check expiration dates on licensed content to ensure none have lapsed. Review automatic renewals, notify vendors or content owners of your intention to renew needed licenses or cancel any that have become unnecessary to your business.
Audit all content you have licensed, from images and text to software, and collect that information in an easily accessible, searchable database. This allows you to quickly locate, and fully and legally utilize, content.
Identify any works you want to use that may have entered the public domain in 2013. You no longer need permission to use these works.
Ensure that you have written a copyright compliance policy and that your policy reflects recent changes in the law that affect your use of content and your changing use of digital content. This allows you to answer any copyright questions as they arise and address them consistently and effectively.
Advertise your copyright compliance policy so that everyone in your organization is aware and compliant. In other words, educate about copyright law. Think of innovative ways to spread the copyright message.
3. Social Networking and Copyright Law
Consider 2013 as the year you join one or more of the many social networking opportunities now available.
Copyright law is really buzzing in many online circles. Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin are all great forums for following news and discussions about current and proposed copyright, and a great way to connect with a broad spectrum of people with similar interests and needs. Also, you can often ask questions and obtain practical tips (though not legal advice) based on the experiences of others.