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Legal Considerations Impacting Digital Marketers

Over the last few months, as digital marketing takes a more important role within businesses I have noticed more “non professional marketers” becoming involved. Two key areas that have legal implications have become more common place. In this article I thought it was worthwhile sharing. By far and away the most common comments have related to intellectual property, and there have been some very worrying comments

Intellectual Property Marketing Legal Considerations

We have noticed that companies are sometimes using or considering using other peoples copyright material such as Photographs, Artwork, Video Footage or Music without getting permission or obtaining a license to do so.

Most images present on google are not FREE to use. Taking a random image generated from a Google search and using it on your own branding is not allowed unless you get permission from the authorised owner before integrating it with your own work. The same rules apply to artwork, music and video clips, depending on how you want to use them, you should gain consent first.

It is important to note that modifying the content of others does not get over copyright issues. potentially you can end up in deeper trouble if the image owner takes issue with you changing their material without consent

Legal Considerations Impacting Digital Marketers Blue Dolphin Business Development

Some Super Simple IP Actions To Avoid Legal Issues

  • Use your own original imagery.
    • If you need pictures for your website, commission and pay a professional photographer to take  pictures for you that you. You will then own the images and be free to use them on the web / in print
    • Now with lock down – getting a photographer on site has been more challenging, so the point below becomes relevant
  • Purchase licensed photographs
    • Now I would always recommend getting your own imagery, but when that isn’t an option purchasing stock photography is a fallback. Some of the major image libraries have put together some very cost effective packages that allow you to buy a bundle of quality images that you can then use on your website
    • Note you need to read the licensing conditions and terms and conditions carefully. I.e. you might be buying an image that is for editorial usage only
  • Make use of Creative Commons material that allows free public use
    • Platforms such as Unsplash feature some great photographs. while it is not necessary by law, it is appreciated if you give credit to the original author / photographer
  • If you work with third parties that provide the marketing content for you, make sure that they are following the above points
Legal Considerations Impacting Digital Marketers

Privacy Is Important

Now I don’t want to stir up a hornets nest, so I will keep this at privacy 101 level. Irrespective of whether your business pages collect personal information or not, it is sensible to include a privacy page to fend off any potential litigation

If you are sending out emails or encouraging people to visit your website then it makes sense to have a policy which

  • Explains what information you are collecting
  • How you will store, protect, and utilise the information captured
  • Your privacy policy should be dated and include instructions for opting out of data collection – for more information check out GDPR and ico.org.uk. This is complex for example if you plan to send marketing material through a variety of approaches ( email, SMS, direct mail, etc) then you need to get the clients permission for each

Some pointers to keeping private

  • Ideally consult a lawyer who will draft a privacy policy based upon your specific business / website in compliance with the regions in which you operate
  • Alternatively there are privacy policy generators available for free on the web
  • Have a separate policy for “cookies” that you are using to track visitors behaviour as they navigate through your website
  • Make sure that you have the appropriate cybersecurity measures in place and inform customers that you are securing their information
    • Information collected should be stored on a reputable and reliable platform
    • Use SSL encryption so that your website appears as HTTPS and features a secure padlock
    • Make sure that strict protocols are applied to website passwords

Legal Considerations Impacting Digital Marketers

Note: I must make it clear I am not a legal expert, just a practicing and professional marketer of 30 years, who has been through the traditional marketing elements that are required to operate within a pre defined set of legal boundaries. I would always recommend that ultimately you talk to and take guidance from experts within Intellectual Property and Law. For more information and marketing news click here

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