The law in marketing is broad, and copyright has to be one of the ones that gets people in the most hot water, which is why we have created a little guide. Now you’ll know what you need to be mindful of as a business owner, marketing your business in the UK.
Copyright and Images
It is bad practice to duplicate any content on the internet, not only is it bad for your rankings, it leaves you open to prosecution for infringement of copyright – and using images without permission in particular can cost businesses big bucks.
Do NOT crop an image to cut off the copyright information – the image can still be identified.
Do NOT alter an image that has copyright protection and claim it as your own.
DO understand that photo libraries such as Getty Images use automated software to find images that have been unlawfully used.
If cost is an issue, and photo libraries such as shutterstock are not an option, search for images under Creative Commons that are licensed for commercial use instead. Pixabay is an easy platform to use, or go straight to Creative Commons Image Search. When you do, bear the following points of best practice in mind:
Always credit the source – even if it says you don’t have to, wise as a way of future proofing.
Always add the copyright status in the caption – while images may be under creative commons, some rights may be reserved, such as requiring a link to the license.
Always keep the url source of where you found the image on file.
Never assume that a model release has been signed – if you can’t find anything that says that one has been signed, do not use a picture that identifies a person.
Never use an image that you can’t find a copyright status for – it may be a copyrighted image that has been cropped and altered by someone else.
Consumer Rights Act 2015
This has replaced the Sales of Goods Act, simplifying the rights consumers have when they purchase a physical item, and now also any digital items too. Any goods you sell must be of a satisfactory quality, for purpose, and as described. This last point is incredibly important when marketing online:
Ensure that images on your website accurately reflect the item being sold.
Ensure that the pricing is correct.
Ensure that delivery/lead times are accurate.
Failing to meet these standards could end up losing your business money, and damaging your reputation.
Data Protection – Storing Personal Data
While no set time is stated in the act, it is expected that businesses should not keep personal data for longer than necessary and should dispose of it once it has served it’s purpose. When disposing of data, you MUST make sure it is done securely. The ICO has lots of handy documents about storing personal data written especially for small businesses.
Consumer Protection Act 1987
This act protects the consumer by ensuring that business practices are banned if they are unfair, misleading or aggressive, or they are likely to distort your consumer’s choice. If you market from the heart, then you’ll be just fine – but if your marketing practice is purposely deceptive, you may find yourself in trouble!
Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008
This act affects B2C businesses, and B2B businesses that are closely linked to the consumer. It protects consumers from unfair, misleading, and aggressive commercial practices, it also has a blacklist of 31 practices that will be deemed unfair in all circumstances. Included in this list is:
False “limited” availability
Once again, if you market from the heart, you are unlikely to fall foul of this Act!
If this little lot has got you thinking about staying on the right side of the law in your business, then you may want to carry on researching – here are a few more that may be of interest:
Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013
Consumer Protection (Amendment) Regulations 2014
Torts (Interference with Goods) Act 1977
Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999
Enterprise Act 2002
Ready to put best practice into place and market from the heart? Get in touch with The Geeks at Marketing Simply!