A $4000 mistake

Talk about turning lemons into lemonade.  A Canadian-based copywriting firm is attempting to parlay a very expensive mistake into favorable publicity:

“Like many other creative types in the web industry, our copywriters were not clear on image copyright laws, and we were taught an expensive lesson,” said Rick Sloboda, Senior Web Copywriter at Webcopyplus, which provides designers and businesses optimized web content. “We’re sharing our story, so others can learn from our experience and avoid the same mistake.”

In May, 2010, with the assumption Web images without copyright notices were “public domain” and free to use, a Webcopyplus copywriter used Google images to find an unmarked 400 x 300 pixel scenic photo to complement an article for a tourism client’s blog.

Webcopyplus has posted additional details on their blog, as well as some resources for obtaining stock photography in a way that won’t get one sued (including Creative Commons photos available via Flickr).

Copyright law: broken, summarized.

If you want a 37 minute, highly informative summary (with visuals!) of:
1. the current state of copyright law and
2. what I think is wrong with it and
3. (at least some of) what should be done to fix it,
…then you should check out the address Lawrence Lessig (a Harvard Law professor) made to the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) a few days ago.

Bonus: you won’t incur student loans learning this information (like I did over the last 3 years).