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Nov 08

PowerPoint sales presentations and picture copyright law.

You need great picture for your PowerPoint sales presentation and dCopyright and sales presentationson’t want to spend money

You’ve found the perfect picture on someone’s website or on Google. Can you use it? No, you can’t!

All images you find online are protected by copyright law, which says pictures are the property of whomever created them. You always need the owner’s permission to use them. Using unauthorized images in sales presentations is all the worse because you are using them for commercial purposes, to develop your business.

Do use unauthorized images in your sales presentations

The consequences can be extremely serious: If you think you’d like to risk it, here’s a story to consider. An employee at a large retailer (It may have been Bon Marche or Macy’s) was promoting an internal contest and used a picture of a famous celebrity on her poster. Just informal bulletin board stuff. This celebrity’s lawyers found out about it, sued the retailer and were paid a handsome settlement by several hundred thousand dollars. In Europe it could cost you up to €300,000 in fines and 3 years in prison.

The four-factor test determines if your sales presentations violated copyright law

Most courts apply what is known in North America as the four-factor test of fair use to determine if you’ve violated copyright law:

  • Did you use “original” work? Music, poetry and photography are original works created by the artist, while facts are not original and are fair use.
  • Profit or non-profit? If your use is completely not-for-profit, like in a school, it’s more likely to be fair use than if you’re a for-profit company or using the image as part of something you sell, like a book cover or t-shirts.
  • Whole or part? Did you use the whole picture, or just parts of it? Using small parts of an image are more likely to be tolerated than using the entire image.
  • Financial harm. Finally, if the first three tests indicate you have infringed someone’s copyright, the courts determine how much total harm could have come to the copyright owner if your behavior became widespread. If the picture has a clear price tag and you simply used it without paying, that’s a bigger infraction than if there was no way to track down the owner of the picture.

In practice most people will not find out you’ve used their copyrighted image. And if they do, they probably don’t care at all, or not enough to sue. But if you work for a big company like Microsoft or Macy’s with a big bank account, you will be a more attractive target for a lawsuit. And even if you don’t draw legal attention, it may still dent your credibility, and cast doubt on your ethics, if others learn you are violating copyright law. Don’t do it, for your own sake.

Useful links:

  • creativecommons.org  – explains copyright and creative commons licenses
  •  TinEye: upload your photo and see if other websites are using it and infringing on your copyrigh


Voir cet article en français: http://presentations-de-vente.com/loi-sur-copyright-des-images-applicable-aux-presentations-commerciales-powerpoint

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1 comment

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  1. Brian

    I appreciate you posting this article. I have a quick question for you. If we use an image of a athlete but removed them from the picture so you only have their body, is it against copyright laws to use it in a sales presentation to the team they play for? We were also going to put under their image that is is for presentation and example purposes only and the image would not be used for commercial purposes. We want to personalize the presentation but I would never do anything unethical. Using a generic image wouldn’t have the same power but we will go that route if it is the right thing to do. I look forward to your feedback.

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