Yesterday, I wrote a little post about Angie's List, and the fact that I'd been found by a potential client through a review on Angie's List.
I actually considered "clipping" the Angie's List logo for use in that post, figuring "who's going to see it?", and they probably wouldn't have a problem with me using it, since the post was very complimentary to Angie's List, anyway. I decided, however, to honour their copyright (I know, I know, very big of me)... 'cause I'm heavily into that "not stealing copyrighted materials"... It's not that I'm just so honourable, it's more like I can't afford the potential damage and penalties that might ensue. Not to mention the risk I expose Active Rain to!
In that same post, I copied & pasted the review I had received (It was a very nice one), and highlighted it in red.
Anyhoooo... The post hadn't been live more than about a half an hour (maybe less), when I received an e-mail from the Director of Communications at Angie's List. The subject line to the e-mail stated "Saw your post on Active Rain", and she thanked me for my kind words about Angie's List, and then ever so politely asked me to amend my post, as Angie's List's policy doesn't allow their members to copy & paste entire testimonials from the list, and post them elsewhere.
I amended the post immediately, as I hadn't realized I was breaking Angie's List's policy.
She went on to say that they DO allow you to excerpt from it, or describe, even say it was highly favorable, but they'd appreciate it if I wouldn’t post the whole report. They walk a fine line, in admonishing members... but they do have to protect their copyright and intellectual materials. In our e-mail conversation, I asked if I could use the logo, given the nature of the post, and she said absolutely yes, and they even sent me an email copy of a good clean version. Nice.
The point of this post, isn't to say "gee what a fine bunch they are over at Angie's" (although they are)... the point of the post is... "if you think you won't be discovered, if you 'knick' a little graphic here and there... think again". They were on me like white-on-rice, within minutes of my post going live. It's a brave new world (Aldous Huxley would be proud), and information makes it's way around the world in nano-seconds. You will be discovered. Companies and corporations have staff dedicated to searching through social media and online references to their companies and protecting their images and copyrights.
Let's be careful, and honourable, out there.