In this "Post & Repost World" of find it, link it, post it, I would like to take a minute and applaud those that acknowledge the creators of content. Quite often a post of a photo, illustration, video or even a clever quote goes uncredited. Most, if not all have been guilty of such at one time or another.
So why acknowledge the ones that post a credit line or that take the time to look up and email the photographer for permission before posting? Because those are the decent people that, if invited into your house will wipe their feet, take off their shoes and not steal the change laying on the coffee table. But really, it that true? Is that a fair correlation? No. Because those are things we learn over time. So that means it is up to the creators of content to engage in a teaching work.
Yes, it's an uphill battle, but if done right it can benefit not only those that create content but also those that spread it. Take for example… A bird that consumes seeds from 100 different trees and never spreads them, eventually the trees ceases to exist and the bird explodes. Well, not really but you get the point. Both birds and trees are benefited if done right. So how can it be done right?
5 Ways to Help Protect Your Brand
1) Make sure the content (or logo) has the creators name is on or embedded into the content in a fairly conspicuous way. While at the same time offering to reduce or even remove it if the person agrees to a credit line or offers to pay a nominal fee.
2) Show a low resolution or small version so the person sees the value in your content, then offer a larger image. Again for either credit line, exchange or straight out cash.
3) Be kind, not confrontational. Post on your site what your condition are for use of your content, whether it's images, videos, poems or books. For example, "Please feel free to use the first 2 stanzas of my poem as long as you credit My website, Me or my dog.
4) If you create a lot of content you may want to check out this site CreativeCommons.org. This is a nonprofit site dedicated to helping creative content providers, not only protect their work but also provide flexible copyright restrictions that are more suited to the digital age. As an example, we created a small digital sketchbook site Sharplead.com. There the artist has on each page this link "Rights" that lets people know how the images can be used. Out of the 50 or so images on the site, he has sold right to some of the images many times.
5) Make sure you tag your work with either keywords, metadata or just unique names, not PIC002. Then follow up and look up your creation from time to time. By using a unique name it is easier to find in a search engine. You may also want to use a visual search engine like Tineye.com.
These are just a few steps in a marathon of teaching people about original content, how it can and should be used legally in winning the hearts and minds of those that love to consume and spread digital content.
Protecting your brand and original content is a task that takes time and resources, but if done right can add to your bottom line.
Barry Brimer is founder and principal of BeOriginal, Atlanta, Georgia. Designing since 1976 and developing digital projects for clients since 1988. Here he is on Twitter