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What Can You Learn From Necole Bitchie About Licensing!?! A Lot!

Necole Bitchie Interview with the Breakfast Club Power 105.1

Happy New Year! In 2013, I was a little lax about updating the J. Paye in Brief blog due to the deamnds of being a lawyer.  My goal for this year is to be more consistent in bringing you interesting entertainment and celebrity stories with a legal spin. Let’s get started with the first post of 2014.

It’s a new year and a time when many of us make resolutions.  Maybe, your resolution is to become a successful blogger and entreprenuer. Celebrity Blogger, Necole Bitchie went from being unemployed and sleeping on the couches of friends/family to creating a thriving blog and brand.  It took a lot of hardwork and sacrifice on her part to start realizing her business goals. As Necole says, “It takes time to get that breakthrough.

Necole Bitchie was recently interviewed on Power 105.1’s “The Breakfast Club.” She talked about some of the legal challenges she had to overcome. In the interview, she candidly talks about receiving cease and desist letters for using an unlicensed photo of Jay-Z and Beyonce on her blog.

In this digital age, there are several misconceptions about downloading and using pictures and video from the Internet.  One common misconception is if an image is on the Internent, it is in the public domain and no permission is required to use the image.  Or if an image can be downloaded from the Internet, it can be used without permission.

The reality is, once a photo or other image is created it is automatically copyrighted. Once an image is copyrighted permission is requried to use it. Copyright law prohibits both accidental and willful copyright infringement.  If you use a picture from the Internet on your blog without permission, you can be liable for damages even if you did not know the picture was copyrighted.

How can you use photos on your blog, website, or online magazine without infringing on someone’s copyright? One option is to hire a professional photographer. Although, you hire a photographer to take headshoots of you or produce imagery for your website, that does not necessarily mean you own the rights to the final images.  Ask the photographer to sign a work-for-hire agreement that stipulates copyright ownership of the final images belong to you.  Or if the photographer already has photos you like ask if they will license them to you on a exclusive or non-exclusive basis.  A entertainment or intellectual property lawyer can help you with these agreements.

There are sites like istockphoto, getty images, and others that offer stock photos that can be licensed or purchased for a fee. As Necole mentioned, in her interview licensing multiple photos can become expensive…especially if your business is in the startup phase and has limited capital.  A cost effective alternative, is to use your camera phone to capture your own photos and videos to use on your blog/website.

Not only does Necole’s life story provide solid advice about legal pitfalls aspiring bloggers should avoid, but on her blog she offers very thoughtful advice about living life vs. just existing.

Here’s to putting in the time and work necessary to get your breakthrough in 2014!

DISCLAIMER: The contents of this post does not constitute legal advice.  Please consult an attorney to discuss your legal needs.

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