“The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by fines and federal imprisonment.”
People love to share cartoons on Facebook and Twitter, in newsletters, blogs, presentations at work, in classrooms, on bulletin boards, in business communications and e-mails. I LOVE it when people share my cartoons —- but there is a RIGHT (legal) way to share and a WRONG (illegal) way to share cartoons.
According to an article in Training Magazine, the best way to keep the copyright cops from knocking at your door is “Always assume that any pre-existing work you’d like to use is copyrighted work and that it requires permission from the copyright owner to use or copy.”
If you infringe on someone’s copyright, you may be liable for legal fees and fines up to $50,000 per violation. Stealing a cartoon off the internet to use in a Powerpoint presentation, website or newsletter without permission is a punishable crime. Subjecting your employer to legal hassles over copyrights may also cost you your job. Frankly, it’s much cheaper to pay a modest permission fee to the person who created the work and owns the copyright.
Here are a few excellent articles that I think you will find helpful and informative:
- The Quick and Dirty Guide to Copyright Rules
- 10 Copyright Myths Explained
- Frequently Asked Questions About Copyright
- Copyright Infringement Defined
- Legal Lesson Learned: Copywriter Pays $4,000 for $10 Photo
- Common Workplace Activities Can Cause Copyright Problems
Copyright permission is easy and affordable. All you need to do is ask.