Friday, February 27, 2015
Don't forget to ask for proof of licensing
You probably won't get sued over stuff like this but it is a possibility. An associate got a nasty letter from one of the top image companies in the world, even though she was probably in the right.
**EDIT: Since publishing this article I got this comment from one of my associates - "Actually,
there have been instances where is the client has been sued because the
creative agency didn't have the right licensing arrangement."
I like to help my clients follow best practices, especially when it prevents chaos and confusion.
What should you ask for when you're having creative work done for you and your marketing efforts? I'm talking about the proper use of images and other creative assets for your website, brochures, email marketing, video, direct mail campaigns and so on.
Let me first say this; I'm assuming that you already understand that it's a bad idea to freely grab images from the internet and use them for your marketing materials. I'm also assuming that you understand the importance of using royalty free assets. That means that you own the rights to use something someone else has taken the time, trouble and expense to create.
I had some questions about this the other day. My main question was, "What should I recommend as a best practice for my clients so they never have to panic if they're presented with a demand for proof that they have the right to use the image or music in question?"
Reaching out to my two favorite sources of royalty free assets was my next course of action. I called the staff at 123RF and AudioMicro. I use 123RF for stock images and AudioMicro for music in the videos I produce. I found the support staff at both companies to be very friendly and helpful. As a result of my conversations with them, I'll pass on the following to you.
Don't assume the creative producer will always be around.
Both freelancers and agencies come and go. They complete the work, you're happy and life goes on… until you run into trouble and they're nowhere to be found.
The proper license must be used.
There are different licensing levels for different purposes. To keep it simple, I'll just put it this way. A less expensive license is required for non-resale purposes like your website and brochures. If' however, an image is to be used on something that will be sold for profit, a higher level, more expensive license must be used.
Ask for proof of the licensing.
Put yourself in the driver's seat. With one easy step you can avoid potential chaos and expense. Ask the producer of the creative work to supply you with a license for the royalty free music, images or stock video footage in question.
Keep it where you can find it.
This is a matter of digital housekeeping. I know, it's kind of a pain. But again, it's about killing chaos and making things easier. It will help you to have a folder that's devoted to creative assets like your logo and other stuff.
Again, it's not likely you'll be sued, but it's not unheard of. Keep a record of your royalty free assets.
Steve Smart works with busy entrepreneurs who want to improve their marketing efforts. He lives in St. Louis and can be reached at srsmart@2Qsolutions.net or 636-699-8772.
Posted by Steve Smart