A lot of the time we have seen people and companies advertising with images, video and even music that they don’t own the rights to. Whilst many of them get away with it, at Fantasoft, we prefer not to take risks with our clients. For quite some time now, people have used the argument that “Fair Use” allows the use of copyrighted materials without necessarily procuring a license. Fair Use is actually pretty hard to pin down legally and sometimes the lines are very blurred as to what can actually fit into Fair Use and what becomes an act of copyright infringement.
When somebody creates something, a piece of writing, a picture, a piece of music or video, they are protected under law by Copyright. Anything that has been created by someone is regarded as their intellectual property, and using it without permission can become a legal nightmare. You may be sued and have to pay damages to the owner of the intellectual property and legal fees if you end up violating copyright. An illegal combination of video and music could lead to you being sued from multiple sources as well which could become very messy.
So What Is Fair Use?
A lot of the time people claim Fair Use when they are producing videos, a lot of YouTubers use Fair Use in order to create documentary videos where they report on things. Educational videos allow Fair Use, but if your works are advertisements or commercial in any way, then they are unlikely to be regarded in law as educational, even if you see them as educating people into what your product may be. It is very rare that an advert can feature Fair Use, so it is always recommended to acquire the rights to use assets for your advertisements by way of licensing. When it comes to Fair Use, you must also use snippets of material and build upon them accordingly. Fair Use falls under U.S. copyright law and does not apply to the United Kingdom.
In the United Kingdom, we have Fair Dealing, which allows for the usage of copyrighted materials under certain circumstances without a license and applies to people who are using these materials for research and study. Fair Dealing does in no way apply to advertisements or commercial ventures and we advise that no copyrighted assets are used in your adverts without a license.
So What Do We Recommend?
We recommend purchasing Royalty Free assets for your advertisements. Royalty Free assets come with their own licenses which will protect you and your company. These can range from being exceptionally cheap to being incredibly expensive. Each website out there dealing with royalty free content.
In some cases, smaller businesses might have some issues with being able to afford Royalty Free content. It can be hard at the low end to afford high quality content. We recommend looking at Pixabay and Pexels licensing both of these companies allow the use of their assets for commercial purposes and a lot of the time there is a high level of quality:
We also recommend looking into Musicloops: They have a large variety of royalty free music which is relatively inexpensive and their license is fantastic.
The most important thing is to protect yourself and your business, and a good way of doing this is not taking risks with copyright materials, no matter weather or not you are covered by fair use. For fair dealing it will never apply.
I’m a social media marketing specialist based in Wivenhoe, the CEO of Fantasoft and wannabe space adventurer.