Many creators are now realizing the importance of digital media in their marketing mix. This is evidenced by the fact that 72% of marketers say that they already use digital marketing in one form or another, and 77% intend to increase their use in the coming year.
With so much digital marketing activity underway, it’s important for creators to understand the legalities surrounding content creation, distribution, and consumption. To that end, we’re going to explore the difference between writing copy and fair use laws, as well as how to abide by each one.
The Basics Of Digital Marketing
Before diving into the legalities of content creation, we need to lay some groundwork, briefly discussing the basics of digital marketing.
In its simplest terms, digital marketing is a method of marketing a business or product using digital technology, mostly online and mobile platforms.
Though it can be quite complex, digital marketing is actually fairly simple compared to other marketing methods. This is largely due to the fact that most platforms have done much of the heavy lifting for you, making it much easier to just blast out web banners and text-based ads.
Broadly Speaking, What Is Fair Use?
Fair use is a legal concept that allows people to use copyrighted material, within certain limits and guidelines.
The most basic and fundamental of these guidelines is not to compete with the copyright owner, something that can be challenging in today’s world. Furthermore, it’s important to establish whether or not the material is for commercial use.
As a result of these limitations and restrictions, fair use is generally considered to be a fairly safe place for content creators to test out new ideas and concepts, as long as they are abiding by the rules. Furthermore, many creators find that it opens up their work to a much wider audience, creating the opportunity for diverse feedback and engagement.
The Difference Between Fair Use And Writing Copy
To put it simply, fair use and writing copy are often used interchangeably, however, they are very different. To wit, fair use is a legal concept that seeks to provide permission and tolerance for content creators, while writing copy is an effort to persuade. In most situations, creators will need to abide by both legal guidelines, but it’s important to understand the differences.
Since the inception of copyright law, fair use has been a legal concept that allows for the limited use of copyrighted material, primarily for educational purposes. However, in today’s world, it is a bit more nuanced than that. Nowadays, fair use is considered to be a valid defense against copyright infringement, meaning that it provides protection for content creators, as well as for consumers of copyrighted material. To that end, the fair use guidelines set out by the DMCA make it very clear that the purpose of using copyrighted material is not to infringe upon the rights of the copyright holder. The focus, rather, is to provide a means for educational and informational purposes.
What is important to keep in mind, though, is that simply having a good faith belief that your use is fair or for educational purposes, does not provide complete protection against copyright infringement. To put it simply, the burden of proof is on you, the content creator, to establish fair use, and you must do so by proving that your use was not for monetary gain, but rather for a purpose other than monetary gain.
The Difference Between Fair Use And Education
Fair use is often considered to be a middle ground between copyright infringement and education, providing a safe haven for content creators, as long as they meet the legal criteria. To that end, many creators use it as a means to gain valuable insight into the workings of their industry, as well as to educate a general audience about their products and services.
Though it provides protection, it also requires that creators actively seek to inform, rather than entertain. In most cases, this means that creators must have a good faith belief that their audience is composed of people of various educational levels, with a mixture of experienced users and novices.
For example, an infographic blog could use copyrighted material to educate its audience about something topical and interesting, without fear of infringement. Furthermore, when using copyrighted material for educational purposes, it is usually considered best practice to cite the source of the material you are using. Doing so not only validates your good faith, but it provides additional protection against copyright infringement claims. In other words, citing the source of copyrighted material means that you are demonstrating that you have done your research, and that you are familiar with the material you are using. In effect, this minimizes the risk of accusations of copyright infringement.
Adherence To Fair Use Guidelines
Since fair use is all about obeying the rules and laws laid out by the copyright statute, it’s important to understand that there are rules and regulations surrounding the use of copyrighted material. Without exception, creators must obey these rules and guidelines. In most cases, creators will need to get permission from the copyright holder, however, there are situations where they can claim fair use, and therefore do not require permission. To find out more, check out the DMCA’s list of guidelines for fair use.
To summarize, legally speaking, fair use is a legal defense against copyright infringement, protecting content creators, as well as consumers of copyrighted material from legal action. To put it simply, fair use provides protection for those who are trying to abide by the rules and laws that govern copyright, while writing copy provides protection for those attempting to persuade others to accept their ideas and viewpoints.
As you may have guessed, following the rules and guidelines surrounding fair use is not always easy, particularly as content creation and distribution become increasingly digital. To that end, it’s important to keep in mind that the more you know about the rules and guidelines, the easier it will be to navigate this ever-changing landscape, creating unique content for your audience, while staying compliant with the law.