Copyright Law and why you need to understand it when running a coaching, healing, or therapy business. How to copyright your own work and not break copyright law by copying or using other people’s ideas, content, music, or images.
Why copycatting, copyright infringement is such a big problem in the holistic and spiritual industry. Why you may be breaking copyright law and not even realise it. And what you can do about it.
What Is Copyright Law?
Copyright law is basically there to protect your ideas what is regarded as Intellectual Property
“Intellectual Property covers four main areas: Patents – How something works; designs – What it looks like; trademarks – What you call it and copyright – Artistic or literary expression.” The British Library
Copyright Law covers almost anything from photography, music, inventions, novels, books, ebooks, paintings, manuals, promotional literature, course content, advertising, database, quotes…
Copyright Infingement is there to protect the individual’s idea or creation and to stop others stealing and using as their own or using it to make money. That is why you maybe using images, music, content, even techniques that are copyrighted and don’t know it.
Copyright Law – Art, Photograph’s, Images
One big copyright law that many new healers and coaches make is using other people’s art, photographs, and images without thinking about it. Copyright law covers other people’s art, photographs, and images even things like logo’s are often copyrighted or trademarked.
So stop and think before you start searching google for images, or use someone’s image on Facebook, Instagram, etc for your own marketing. Many of these beautiful images and photographs have been produced or captured by artists who have spent decades learning their craft.
Another one to be careful of is buying or hiring someone to design a logo for you. Make sure the person you are buying a logo from actually has designed the logo and hasn’t copied the design from someone else, ask for a unique logo with full copyright rights.
One way to ensure your not breaking copyright law in the use of any sort of photography, art or graphics make sure you buy a license from free stock image sites or download from free images without copyright. Examples of stock free images are adobe, dollar photo….Examples of free images without copyright infringement includes unsplash and pexels. Or buy a monthly subscription to Canva to get access to a wide range of photo’s.
My Own Experience Of Legal Action
I have had 3 situations where I was presented with legal action over unlicensed images because of a 3rd party. One was many years ago when I uploaded by mistake an unlicensed image to beta-test a website builder. The trial was supposed to be deleted and unpublished as I didn’t like it. But unknown to me the website builder company liked my design so much they published it as a pro-type. I received a letter threatening legal action looking for about $2000 or more dollars.
Then after two separate incidents when I was hosting other therapists websites on my hosting space. One told me they had licenses for the images and I am sure the other said they were free to use images. Even though I highlighted how important this was. After this, I stopped designing websites for many therapists and healers for many years. It’s funny how many people think that these things will never happen to them.
Don’t be so focused on just getting to that next step in your business that you miss out on very important legal steps for you and your business. It can happen to you and it could be a very expensive mistake.
Copyright Law – Music And Sounds
Copyright law for music is covered by the Performing Rights Society which is ensuring that businesses have a license to play others music in any of your business activities. For example playing background music in a meditation class or healing session, playing someone else’s music in the background of a Facebook live. In-fact using someone else’s music in any sort of recording a mp3, video course. When a musician releases a song or album. T.V. or Radio usually have to pay a license or pay a fee for every time they play someone else’s music. If we think about the time and money that can go into producing a song or album we then see why we should be making some sort of exchange. Check out Narek Mirzai Free Music in his blog Spiritual and Healing Benefits Of Music
Copyright Law For Course Content
Copyright law for content especially course content. With such a dramatic increase in content information on the world wide web. And a massive increase in everyone and their granny stating they are an expert or coach in this or that. Copycatting has never been as high as it is today.
Sadly many small business owners are so focused on just making money at any cost, without any training or knowledge. More and more coaches, therapists, healers, and content creators are going around copying others’ paid and free content. Some seem to do this as an almost full-time job.
I have had this very problem many times with my own content and courses. A friend notified me a few months ago of a coach who they knew who had literally copied my content and was using it as her own. Now it was very unique content based on over 7 years studying some very unique subjects that I put my own slant on. A lot of the topics cost me a lot of money to learn. But some of the content I had put out for Free and she decided to literally copy the content and charge a lot of money for it.
At the time I was planning to stop offering this course for Free. So I ended the Free offer and decided not to pursue this specific issue. Especially because I wanted no dealings with this specific person. But for a variety of reasons, I have now decided to take some increased measures to start clamping down again on individuals, organisations, and businesses who are copyrighting my material and methods of work.
Copyright Around Different Therapuetic Techniques
But it is not just your content you should be concerned about I see courses and people every day using techniques that are actually copyrighted. Techniques people are using that are only supposed to be used by those taught in that area. The problem is with such extensive online and fast-track training, many training schools are just so interested in making money they don’t care whose content and techniques they steal. Some of the worst are those training schools who claim to offer you a Diploma or Certificate in a certain topic and who say it’s worth £400 and are selling it for £47 and it ends up taking you only about 10 hours to learn. When actually a topic like that would normally take you about 120-200 hours to learn be careful.
Copyright Law On Book Content
One of the alarming things I see in a lot of newbies in the holistic and spiritual industry is how many actually just copy content out of a book and use or sell these are their own techniques or tools. Again they have no idea they are breaking or infringing copyright law. But even more, concerning is because they haven’t done any proper training in this area, they have no idea if they are applying what they learned safely or effectively. They seem to miss the point that a book is often just one part and often a small aspect of learning a specific subject, technique, or tool.
With an increase in wanting everything now, the online arena is filled with small businesses copying others’ content they have very little true understanding of the content they are using. When I am learning something online I like to learn the subject from all sorts of sides if I can. For example one of the things I use is a bit of archetypal branding and marketing. I do it a bit different than most who use archetypal branding as I add my own slant and insight around archetypes. But I have done a lot of formal and informal studying on archetypal marketing and archetype psychology as someone who studied counselling, psychology and psychotherapy. I have also formally and informally studied branding and marketing over 20 years, colour therapy and colour psychology even longer.
So I combine all this in my work to create my courses and content and will send my clients to some of the work of archetypal branding influencers I highly recommend. I am not going to copy someone else’s work and claim it as my own.
Why Most Copycats Get Caught Out
The main problem with many copycats is they are just focused on making money or being seen as an expert. They try to appear knowledgeable in areas where they are not. Sadly most of them have no awareness of the years of study, training, and dedication that has brought someone to be the expert they are today. Often having no comprehension of the financial investment that business or person has made to create that piece of content, that art, music, or course. But they do know it’s not their work, and usually somewhere in their work the cracks begin to show.
Paraphrasing In Blogs And Content
Another common problem is copyright and paraphrasing blogs. Again simply copying or paraphrasing someone else’s work is just a lazy way of creating content. And in reality is going to cause problems with your vibration, alignment, and attraction because there is nothing original or authentic about. Now you could argue nothing is ever truly original. But again if you need to copy or completely paraphrase you are not demonstrating true learning.
Make sure when you allow guest posts on your website that the author has not written the content elsewhere. Make sure they agree they will not republish the content as a blog anywhere else as this can seriously mess up your SEO algorithms. Of course, get them to share their guest blog on their social media platforms, etc but not republish as an article or blog.
Recently I found a marketing company that had actually taken quite a lot of my blogs and posted it on to their website. A very lazy way to get their SEO up but to devalue my SEO and my content. Remember the author or creator of the content can sue you for copyright.
Copyright Law – How long does copyright last?
Every country is different and every type of work is different, but here in the UK copyright law can protect your published work for up to 70 years after your death.
Copyright Law – How to protect your work
A few easy and cheap things to do to protect your work from copycats
- Add a copyright symbol, your name and date it was created ( I also include my business name or website domain)
- Then you need to prove ownership/creation you can do this by keeping a hard copy of your content
- Then by sending a copy of your work, your creations to yourself by registered post and not opening it. Have something written on the envelope example at the back to remind you what it is.
- You can also leave a dated copy of your work with your lawyer or bank.
For those of you in the UK who want more information on Copyright Law check out the UK governments rights on Copyright Acts and Related Law
For those of you in the USA who would like more information on Copyright Law check out the USA Copyright Gov Website
For those in Australia check out the Australian Copyright Council Website
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Thank you for sharing this, can you help? When I write something that is my original act of self expression in a blog or a FB post and someone blatantly copies it, but then tweaks it a bit or adds to it, or reproduces part of it in a Facebook Live, what can be done? There is a lot of this going on nowadays and surely it would cost a fortune in legal fees pursuing others who do this, not to mention the time and stress involved. There is one particular “offender” I am keeping an eye on. From anonymous, posted by Tania
I am not a lawyer or technical copyright expert. This knowledge has been gained mostly through personal experience and the study of copyright. But if you produce something on social media you have evidence when it was posted you have technically the ability to take a picture of your post with information as re date when it was posted. And sending copies of your original posts to the offender may be enough to deter the other “offender”
I meet many business owners who complain about this type of problem but the reality is many of us have similar ideas, beliefs, read similar books, do similar training so have similar views etc. So sometimes proving a post even course or product is someone’s individual form of self-expression is not always easy.
Even if you could afford legal costs I think you would have to be able to prove you had some sort of large loss due to the copyrighting. I have a course that is based on tens of thousands of pounds worth of training and experience gained over 30 years of study. Over the years I have had individuals and organisations try to copy content or structure and pass off as there own. This is something that in many ways is probably legally far easier to prove that was my work and could cause huge financial loss. So as they say choose your battles wisely.
You made such an interesting piece to read, giving every subject enlightenment for us to gain knowledge. Thanks for sharing such information with us to read this…