Time To Let Go On Overly Protective Brand Management

from the calm-down-people... dept

A consulting firm that helps companies "manage their brand" is touting a new study where they're positively horrified to realize that most companies don't spend time embedding copyright info in their online images and then tracking that info online to make sure no one else ever uses them. This is an example of marketing thinking that misunderstands the internet. It's looking at things from a "how can we protect this brand" perspective, rather than a "how can we spread this brand" perspective. In the internet world, the second is much more important than the first. That isn't to say brand protection isn't important. Monitoring how others use your brand is obviously a part of brand management. However, wasting your time by embedding copyright info into your images, and worrying if anyone happens to use those images is a waste of time. Companies should be focused on spreading their brand message, and should be happy if others are making use of their brand images as it helps spread that brand further. The consulting firm seems to think that it's somehow possible to have full control of your brand online, but part of the joy of being online is learning that's simply not true -- and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. The ease with which others can spread your brand is a benefit of the internet, and worrying about embedding info in graphics is a step in the wrong direction.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Steve Mueller, Oct 20th, 2004 @ 12:05pm

    Copyrighting Images

    Copyrighting images may be a good idea, actually. If somebody used the Techdirt logo on a Techdirt Sucks site, you could get them on copyright violation.

    You might not want to try policing all online use of your logo, but having the copyright information could make it easier to shut down uses that were brought to your attention that you don't particularly care for. Sites that used your logo in a way you approved of, you'd let go.

    I'm no lawyer, so I don't know if there are dilution or selective prosecution issues in this strategy, but it seems a reasonable compromise between protecting the brand and allowing it to be spread.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Oct 20th, 2004 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Copyrighting Images

    Ah, but an image already has protection. What they're talking about is going above and beyond by including that info embedded within the graphic -- which is basically a useless waste of time.

    Besides, by this point, I think it's pretty clear that I have no problem with someone using the Techdirt logo on a Techdirt Sucks site. Go ahead.

    In fact, I'd be impressed (and honored) if someone thought there was reason enough to create a Techdirt sucks site. It would be more of a statement about the success of this site than anything else (which, in part, is why I doubt anyone would really do it).

    If you're in brand management, there are a lot more important things to do than watching to see if some random people happen to use your images (for good or bad).

    There are a ton of sites out there that use Techdirt content on their own site -- often within the context of their own blog postings. Most of them credit us. Every once in a while, they don't. Sometimes, I'll send them an email politely requesting more obvious attribution, but for the most part, what's the big deal? How many visitors are we going to "lose" because some other site copies our content? Not many. Besides, it may actually introduce more people to Techdirt, once they realize where the content really originates.

     

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  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 20th, 2004 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Copyrighting Images

    A friend of mine was sent a nasty-gram from a company claiming that he was stealing their images without their permission.

    On his website, he had a deep link to a jpg from a webcam.

    My comments:

    1. Deep linking is a bit rude, especially if you don't give credit.

    2. Deep linking is NOT theft.

    3. You can't actually get permission to steal somthething from the owner.

    My friend could have generated a lot of bad press for the webcam owner (a high-end hotel at a tourist attraction), but decided to just use better manners instead, and removed the link.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Steve Mueller, Oct 20th, 2004 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Copyrighting Images

    1. Deep linking is a bit rude, especially if you don't give credit.
    Deep-linking is not rude when you link to text content where the Web master can include their header, copyright, etc. Deep-linking directly to an image is a bit rude depending on whose site it is. If it's the site of a big company and you're linking to a product image for a review or to promote it, I don't think that's rude at all. If it's a small or personal site, it is kind of rude. But more on that in a second....

    2. Deep linking is NOT theft.
    It's not theft, but linking to images or videos is often considered "bandwidth stealing". For small sites that pay for their bandwidth, people linking to images can eat up a large chunk. The Legal page on my site gives my feelings about image linking and bandwidth "stealing".

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 21st, 2004 @ 8:28am

    Re: Copyrighting Images


    "Besides, by this point, I think it's pretty clear that I have no problem with someone using the Techdirt logo on a Techdirt Sucks site. Go ahead."
    At face value, use of the Techdirt logo for that purpose would probably be protected by fair use doctrine anyway.
    "If you're in brand management, there are a lot more important things to do than watching to see if some random people happen to use your images (for good or bad)."
    The problem isn't "random people", it's people using your copyrighted materials for their own commercial benefit and/or your detriment. You are obligated to protect your copyrights and trademarks. An embedded mark makes it a lot easier to prove ownership.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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