In the present-day business world, digital marketing is essential for survival. Most people turn to social media and search engines for information on products and services they might need.
Forward-thinking businesses understand this and develop strategies to approach these perspectives customers where they are most likely to be found.
Even though the internet makes the world a global village, one must be careful about legal issues associated with marketing strategies in this space.
According to the Law Office of Scott C. Thomas, a firm with a competent Criminal Defense Attorney Near Orange County California, although most business-related cases are civil, they can transcend to a criminal suit.
Data privacy violation
Digital marketing requires direct contact with potential clients/customers. The collection of data can be done directly or indirectly.
For companies with websites, it is possible to collate users’ behavior such as pages they visit and their phone model including social interests.
Newsletter sign-up forms can also help to collect email addresses for email marketing; therefore, used data is directly collected.
All of this information can be used in direct ad targeting. Likewise, leveraging platforms like Google Ads, Facebook Ads and Instagram Ads gives access to customers’ data already collated by the platforms; therefore, used data is indirectly collected.
As much as these processes look straightforward, they can result in legal issues.
In its earnings report for July 2021, e-commerce giant, Amazon, disclosed it was fined about $847 million for violation of the GDPR in its handling of customers’ data.
Similarly, WhatsApp in September of the same year was handed a fine of $255 million due to the way it shared users’ data with Facebook.
People’s works are readily available online and in a bid to assemble the perfect materials for digital marketing, companies are liable to make use of copyrighted works.
- Image copyright
Image is appealing and attention-grabbing but using images of people with consent can land your company in trouble.
Most of the time, it is advisable to get the full consent of the copyright owners before the usage of their work. You might be lucky to get away with it as they might not know especially if you are not in the same country, but it would be costly when you get sued.
There are numerous online platforms for free images and others you can pay for the right to use the pictures.
When sued, the fine for image copyright infringement can cost as much as $150,000.
- Video copyright
The owner of a video does not need to register for its copyright before he can sue you for its use without permission. No matter how well a video tells the story of your brand, if it was not filmed or created by your team, avoid using it.
There are exceptions in this case such as when the video is used for educational or informational purposes.
If this does not apply to you, hire a team to produce your video or search for videos published under the Creative Common license.
Owners of these videos have certain requirements that must be fulfilled before their work is used. Most of the time, they demand you credit them in your post.
- Audio copyright
This is one of the most tricky copyright laws that any brand should avoid. When it comes to audio, more than one artiste may have the copyright to the sound.
Since artists may be signed to record labels, getting the license to use the audio might require reaching an agreement with all the copyright holders. Failure to do this might result in getting sued by other artists or record labels despite obtaining permission from one of the artists featured in the song.
This is important if you are considering content marketing in your promotional strategies. Only hire reputable companies you are sure will not copy others’ work.
Aside from getting sued for plagiarism, the media coverage of such development can significantly damage your brand’s reputation.
It can also result in de-ranking of your site’s visibility when the plagiarised contents are reported to search engines.
Online advertisements are required to be true and in no way constructed to deceive consumers. For example, if your business promise to make a refund, it must fulfil the promise to the concerned customers.
For health-related products, all claims must be supported with evidence and required certifications.