Know the basics of copyright, trademark infringement

Avoid a costly mistake

Could your branding, an innocent picture on your blog, or some other minor mistake cost you plenty? You bet! Here’s how to avoid damaging mistakes that can cause serious damage to your pocketbook.

Several years ago we hired an offshore designer to do some work on the back pages of my husband’s website. We posted the page along with a picture of a woman wearing a headset. Two years later, we received a demand from Getty Images for payment of $1,300 for copyright infringement.

Apparently, the Web designer had taken a picture from Google Images and used it without authorization.

Unfortunately, even though we didn’t commit this violation, my trademark attorney advised us that we were responsible because we hired the designer. When we contacted him, he said, "I did nothing wrong — it’s your problem!"

Needless to say, we were pretty upset. Because he was offshore, our only recourse was to report him to the agency we used to locate him and ask to have him removed. We ended up paying $650 to settle the infringement claim.