By Susan Radde, Assistant General Counsel for True Value Company
If you are a new company launching an online business, the
look and feel of your website is crucial to your success. If you
are a small business, unfortunately you might not have the internal resources
to create the necessary content and images to launch a successful website. You need to ask, how do you get this content
and who's going to own it? This is where many of the intellectual property
rights come into play.
Rights of publicity
The important thing here is to remember to always make sure
you obtain the proper rights of publicity.
An online business that is starting and wants to use someone's image
must have prior written permission to use that person's image, voice, likeness
and name. There are no exceptions to
this rule. It doesn't just apply just to
famous people-it applies to anyone.
It's important when you draft a release that you get the
right to use a person's image, voice or likeness in any media. That way you
could use it in any context that you need to.
Here, the general rule is that unless you are the creator of
material, you have to get the license to use material that someone else
created. Otherwise, you must obtain an
assignment or a contract for work made for hire.
It is not enough just to pay people to create that content
for you. You have to get them to assign
those rights to you. Frequently,
business owners assume that since they paid for the work, they must own it. This
it not always true, so make sure that you have it in writing that you own the content.
Also, it is important to remember that there is an exception
for materials created by employees in the course of their employment. Basically the idea is to make sure that, if
you're getting content, you get a full assignment of all copyright with respect
to that content and negotiate in the alternative a royalty free license to be
able to use that content anywhere else in the world.
Susan Radde is currently
working as Assistant General Counsel for True Value Company. Ms. Radde has been in house at True Value
since 2000. At True Value, Ms. Radde
handles all commercial and intellectual property matters, including maintaining
True Value's extensive trademark portfolio consisting of over 400 US and
international registrations. Prior to
joining True Value, Ms. Radde worked in house at Interstate Insurance Group, a
former subsidiary of Fireman's Fund. Ms.
Radde started her practice at the law firm of Meagher & Geer in
Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she represented insurance companies in litigation
Ms. Radde obtained her
Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Minnesota in 1988 and her
Juris Doctorate *** Laude from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul,
Minnesota in 1991. In 1992, she obtained
a Master of Laws with Merit from the University of London. Ms. Radde is admitted to practice in
Illinois, Minnesota and is a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and
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