What to Know About Copyright Law

Great content forms a connection. It bridges the gap between your firm and your clients and candidates. It has a specific purpose.

Oh, and it’s also legal.

Copyright infringement—don’t do it. 

Copyright infringement is illegal. You won’t end up in jail, but you could end up with millions of dollars in fines and legal fees, taking valuable resources away from your firm. Plus, it’s just not cool to do.

I get it. It happens all the time—you see something great, and you just want to share it with the world. You loved it, and others will appreciate it, too. Maybe you didn’t even know you were violating copyright law, but ignorance doesn’t excuse you from its consequences.

Although copyright law can seem confusing, especially with all of its legal jargon, understanding it doesn’t have to be overly complicated.

What is copyright law?

At its base level, copyright law refers to the rules and regulations governing specific intellectual property. Copyright protects published and unpublished “original works of authorship.” This is a fancy way of saying copyright protects things like literary works, movies, music, plays, computer software or even architecture, among other works.

How do I avoid copyright infringement?

Honestly, the best way to avoid copyright infringement is to create your own content. You own all the rights to the content you create, and your published works are immediately protected

However, creating your own content isn’t always feasible. It can be time consuming, taking you away from connecting with potential clients or sourcing candidates. Plus, even the smartest person in the world doesn’t know everything. Sometimes, it’s best to leave content creation to experts in their respective fields. 

If you’re going to use someone else’s content, ask for their permission. The worst they can do is say no.

Be sure to respect their decision, too. For instance, if they say no, don’t copy and paste their article on your site. One, you shouldn’t do that in the first place, and, two, you’re violating copyright law (plus, it’s bad for your SEO).

When someone does give you permission to use their content, be sure to give them credit for their work and backlink to the original publication.

When does copyright not apply?

There are circumstances when copyright doesn’t apply. For example, you’re always allowed to use items that fall within the “public domain.” These include facts, discoveries and works dating before 1926. All of Shakespeare’s works, for instance, are in the public domain.

There are several additional exemptions to copyright law, including a commonly used term known as “fair use.” Fair use allows for the unlicensed use of copyrighted materials under certain circumstances. Some common applications of fair use include criticism, commentary, educational purposes and research. However, fair use does not always apply under these circumstances, and there are instances where copyright still may apply. 

Ultimately, it’s always better to practice caution and use common sense. When it comes to copyright for protected works, it’s better to ask for permission than hope for forgiveness. 


The best way to avoid copyright issues is to create your own original content. However, that can be a time-consuming endeavor. That’s why we’re here to help. We provide clients with original content, custom websites and full-scale digital marketing solutions. Contact us today.

To learn more about copyright law, visit copyright.gov.

Recruiters Websites is not a law firm and our employees are not acting as your attorney. The information is general legal information and should not be construed as legal advice to be applied to any specific factual situation. If you are unsure whether your particular situation requires that a document be changed, you should consult a lawyer. 

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Ryan Berger

Ryan Berger is a digital content producer who uses his fun and creative energy to produce fresh, unique and custom content for our clients.

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