Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A to Z Challenge - Day 21: U is for Unauthorized.

I'm participating the this crazy challenge on 2 of my blogs. This one and Paranormal Lounge. The A to Z Challenge is a blogging event that takes place every April. The challenge is to write a post for each letter of the alphabet and post nearly every day during April, omitting Sundays.

My theme for this challenge is: Marketing is like war. I'm going to try to stick to that theme as much as possible, but I may have to deviate. U is for Unauthorized.

Today I'm talking about one of my biggest pet peeves: Using copyrighted content with out permission. It drives me crazy. It may be the fact that I create my own promotional images and the fact that I sometimes do that as a side-job that makes me so crazy about this.

Okay, lets imagine you are a celebrity. You've had your picture taken millions of times and they are everywhere. Now let's imagine someone taking one of those pictures and using it to promote their product. They are basically saying that you, (as the celebrity) endorses their product. You've never even heard of this product before, yet your face is plastered all over it and you never signed anything saying it was okay.

Now, before you get offended, let's talk about the difference between using unauthorized content and having casting contests or dream cast posts.

Using unauthorized content like photos or images to help promote your book is wrong. Putting your book in an image with a celebrity or image of another book that is similar is wrong. You need permission to do that. It's also against the law. The likelihood that you'll be prosecuted is slim, but that doesn't mean you can do it.

Now, I see casting contests on Facebook all the time and that is perfectly fine as long as the images of the celebs are not combined with the product. If you want to know who your fans would want to play one of your characters in a movie, go for it! But, don't photoshop those images of the celebs with your book. Personally, I don't run those contests. It's a little too close to copyright law and putting words in he mouth of celebs for me. I do have a Pinterest album with my dream cast, but I don't really advertise it. It's more for me than my readers.

I'm sorry to have such a negative post today, but I just feel that I see this way too often. Put yourself in someone else's shoes. If you created content, or took a picture and someone used it without your permission, how would you feel? There are plenty of other places to get images for free or paid. My favorite FREE site is check it out and make your own ORIGINAL content, or ask for help from your favorite cover designer. There are inexpensive ways to get professional looking content without stealing copyrighted images.

So, if you are an author trying to make it, please be fair and buy your promotional images or get images from the free site I listed. Don't use unauthorized images, please and thank you!