As a content creator, does the whole subject of copyright leave you super frustrated or entirely glazed over? Or maybe you’re worrying that a copyright owner is going to drop a big fat cease and desist letter or lawsuit on you for violating her rights.

And perhaps you’re blissfully sailing along right-clicking and downloading images and videos left and right to add to your blog posts and social media thinking. “Hey, it’s on the Internet, so it’s gotta be ok to use.” [Spoiler: in all likelihood, it’s not.]

Danielle Liss, Esq. is here to untangle the legalese and run through some scenarios to illuminate what you can and can’t use, and how to go about obtaining permission to use content that another creator put their their time and effort into making.

You can watch the video interview above with or without subtitles, or read the transcript below.

Key takeaways:

  • Content creators face a bewildering array of copyright compliance requirements, but there are some easy ways to avoid legal trouble and fees

  • I have a colleague who received a cease and desist letter from a stock photo house for illicitly using just a portion one of their images deep in a PDF. They found the image using their powerful search technology, so hoping you won’t be caught isn’t a good strategy.

  • “I went to Google image search and I right clicked. And that’s fine, I can use that image. It’s in the public domain.” I’m like, “Oh, mm-mm (negative), that’s not what that word means.”

  • Marketers who believe that there’s a positive ROI from video went from just 33% in 2015 to 87%

  • Live streaming doesn’t require editing

Hey, there. I’m Chuck Moran with Online Video Mastery. And I am here today to clear up confusion around copyright for content creators. I’ve found over the years that there is a lot of confusion about fair use and permissions and how to get it and all that stuff. And I don’t know how to do this myself, so I’m very happy to be joined today by Danielle Liss. Danielle is an online business attorney. She has almost 10 years of experience doing this, which in internet years is quite a good bit of time.

So, I’m very happy to have Danielle along with me today to straighten all of this stuff out for us. Let me tell you a little bit about my guest, Danielle is a passionate, legal representative for small business owners. She is the owner of Businessese, and I have to say she’s my intellectual property attorney, and I’m very happy with the results I’ve gotten.

She sells DIY legal templates, so I’m going to put a link in the show notes so that you can get access to those templates. She also has a law firm called Liss Legal, where she focuses on her practice on online business owners, bloggers, and influencers, as well as wellness professionals.

Danielle has previously served as Chief Marketing Officer and General Counsel of an influencer network, as well as General Counsel and Vice-President of affiliate programs for an eight-figure digital health and wellness company.

So, Danielle, welcome to the show.

Thank you so much for having me, I’m excited to be here.

Yeah, well, I’m really glad. I think this is a huge area of confusion. I really do. I have a client and a good friend who ran into this copyright bulldozer in the worst possible way. She had a nonprofit, […] and she got a cease and desist letter from Getty Images. And Getty wrote to her saying that she had illegally used an image from their library in one of her pieces of content. Well, when she asked what it was, they’ve proved to her that there was a piece of their content in a PDF.

It was not on the web, well, the PDF was on the web, but it was not on a website, it was not on her social or anything really obvious. It was on page 32 of a PDF and it was an image that an intern had created where she had morphed several images together and used a Getty Image of a cow in the background in a layered format.

But there was enough of the original cow showing that caught Getty’s secret search engine, where they were able to determine that she was illegally using it. Anyway, they brought the hammer down on my colleague and tried to charge her a big bunch of money. Luckily, she was able to negotiate it down, but she still had to pay for it. And the fact that, first of all, it was created without her knowledge, by an intern who didn’t know better, made her think that there’s a huge risk for us as content creators out there.

So, Danielle, tell me a little bit about Getty and some of the stories that you may have heard about, what they’re up to.

There are many. And I think that any of the large image agencies, they do have really great search tools where they can look and they are very well known for sending out cease and desist letters