Why 'Free' Content Might Cost You Thousands
Soon after publication, however, the client received a stern cease-and-desist letter—along with a demand for $4,000, to be placed in a lawyer's trust account. "The image was removed within minutes," notes Rick Sloboda of Webcopyplus, "and a letter of apology was sent. However, following several e-mails, which included requests for proof of copyright registration and ownership, a counter offer, and the threat of additional legal fees and court action, Webcopyplus ultimately opted to settle for $4,000."
Was a settlement for the full sum strictly necessary? Not necessarily. But the ongoing process put Webcopyplus's client in the middle of an unpleasant situation, and the company decided to prioritize the client relationship by bringing the legal proceedings to an end.
"Like many other creative types in the web industry, our copywriters were not clear on image copyright laws, and we were taught an expensive lesson," he explains. "We're sharing our story, so others can learn from our experience and avoid the same mistake."
The Po!nt: Your company doesn't have to be a major corporation to attract the attention of a copyright holder. "If it's on the Internet and others wrote or created it, do not use it without their permission," advises Sloboda.
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