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Content Marketing Legal Requirements

Understand the crucial legal requirements for content marketing. Learn how to avoid copyright issues and protect your campaign with our comprehensive guide on Originality.ai.

Disclaimer: Although this article contains legal information, please note that it is meant for informational purposes only. It should not be used in place of professional legal advice, and does not create any kind of an attorney-client relationship. If you require advice in this area, consult an attorney or other legal professional.

There are a lot of important elements to a successful content marketing campaign. You need to come up with a content strategy, create high-quality content, optimize it for search engines, and distribute it to your target audience. But if you want your campaign to truly go off without a hitch, then you need to consider one important element throughout the process: the content marketing legal requirements.

Not only can a legal error derail your entire campaign, but it can also lead to the type of lawsuits that have serious financial and reputational consequences for your company. So, in this article, we’re going to give you an overview of the various laws that can impact your content marketing efforts, and some best practices for navigating them effectively.

Copyright Law

With so many online articles and images available at your fingertips, it can be tempting to just copy-and-paste them into your own content. But while they may seem ripe for the taking, this is a mistake. 

Sure, it may make your content more engaging to readers, but you may also find yourself in violation of copyright law. This is when you use a third party’s content for commercial purposes without their consent.

People often think that you need to officially register something with the U.S. Copyright Office in order to claim intellectual property like copyrights, but this isn’t the case. Registration is only required to enforce copyright law, not have it in the first place. This means that the second a content creator writes a post or creates an image, they have copyright.

Best Practices for Navigating Copyright Law in Content Marketing

  • Don’t use images, articles, music, or any other type of content without permission from the original creator. If you need images for an article, it’s safest to go with a source that provides a license to alter and use them for commercial purposes, like one from Creative Commons.
  • Give credit where credit is due. Be sure to link to or otherwise attribute content to the original source when applicable.
  • If you’re receiving articles from your own writing team or freelance writers, then use a plagiarism detector to check for any potentially copyrighted content.
  • You’ll also want to obtain the rights to that content from freelancers. By getting written permission, you’ll be able to prove that you own the content and can repurpose it however you like.
  • The safest thing you can do is create your own original content. That way, you can be 100% certain that you’re not infringing on copyright law.

Trademark Law

Another law to be aware of in the content marketing world is trademark law. This gives someone the exclusive rights to use a certain logo, symbol, design, or word to help identify their brand and distinguish it from the competition. An example of this in the fast food and restaurant industry would be the McDonald’s Golden Arches.

Of course, there’s a good chance that you’re not going to unknowingly use these famous arches in your content. But you may accidentally use another, lesser-known brand’s registered trademarks. And if you’re using it in a way that can confuse customers about that company and its goods or services, you can get into legal trouble.

Best Practices for Navigating Trademark Law in Content Marketing

  • If you’d like to use a registered trademark in content, then it’s always a good idea to obtain permission from the trademark owner.

Truth-in-Advertising Laws

If you prioritize honesty in your content marketing materials, then you shouldn’t need to worry about the Truth in Advertising laws enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). These laws help stop scams and prevent fraud by requiring that advertising materials be truthful, whether they’re in print or online.

Content marketing isn’t always thought of as a form of advertising, but at the end of the day, its purpose is still to help sell something. So, if you want to avoid legal trouble from the FTC for this purpose (we’ll get to them again shortly), then follow the best practices below.

Best Practices for Navigating Truth-in-Advertising Law in Content Marketing

  • Stick to the facts. Don’t include any kind of false or even misleading information in your content marketing materials.
  • Be especially careful with health or financial-related content, including food, tobacco, alcohol, over-the-counter-drugs, or dietary supplements. The FTC takes a particularly close look at these subjects.

Influencer Marketing Regulations

If you’re working with influencers, then you’ll also want to pay close attention to the FTC’s Endorsement Guides. This set of influencer marketing regulations basically echo that of the truth-in-advertising laws, as they require that any product or service endorsements be honest and transparent. 

The idea is to clarify the distinction between an influencer’s personal recommendations and content that they have been paid to post. There is arguably a lot more value in an influencer endorsing a product for free than for financial gain, and these regulations help prevent companies from taking advantage of that.

Best Practices for Navigating Influencer Marketing Regulations in Content Marketing

  • Encourage influencers to disclose any relationship with your agency. For example, including a #Ad or #Sponsored at the beginning of the social media or blog posts they’re using to endorse your products or services.
  • If you’d like them to provide a review, then make sure they have actually used the product or service in question. They can’t honestly talk about something that they have no experience with.

Final Thoughts

There are no doubt many important aspects of a successful content marketing campaign. But throughout the content creation, optimization, and distribution processes, you need to make sure that your company is meeting the various content marketing legal requirements if you want to avoid any legal trouble along the way.

While this article provides an overview of some of the most important content marketing laws, we encourage you to do more research in this area so you have a clear understanding of what you can and cannot do in your particular situation. For example, there may be specific state and industry laws that can also affect your content marketing efforts.

After all, the content marketing industry is competitive enough as it is - don’t derail your campaign on a legal technicality.

Jess Sawyer

Jess Sawyer is a seasoned writer and content marketing expert with a passion for crafting engaging and SEO-optimized content. With several years of experience in the digital marketing, Jess has honed her skills in creating content that not only captivates audiences but also ranks high on search engine results.

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