Monday, May 4, 2015

On Being Oprah without the Budget and Legal Team By Angelia L. White


I am no different than any number of online, digital and print publishers when I say that Oprah is my muse.

At the beginning and end of all of my dreaming and planning for Hope for Women magazine was this desire to be like her and create my best version of O magazine within my niche. That is a pretty lofty goal to achieve, especially when you do not have Ms. Winfrey’s budget and team of professionals. That didn’t stop me from publishing, though, and it didn’t stop me from learning some valuable legal lessons.

Look at all of the pretty pictures
Have you ever been issued a cease and desist letter from Getty Images or some other stock image company? Have bloggers or photographers ever contacted you to ask that you remove their images from your site? Maybe you have received a gentle nudge from an online publisher who asked you to credit her photo on your site properly. Or maybe you have had be the enforcer. If you have experienced any of the above scenarios, then as a publisher you have learned the value of copyright permissions as it pertains to images. Many photos will make content so much richer, but if you have not obtained the proper permissions or made the proper attributions, then you are stealing. Ouch. To ensure you are within your legal rights, purchase the right to a photo on a stock photo site, and type the photo credit where appropriate on your content.

Those darned copycats
Plagiarism is real, people. Some individuals take no care in reprinting other people’s words without their permission. If they don’t ask permission, then they are likely not attributing the words to their sources. Plagiarism can become the unwanted gift that keeps on giving, so it is important to scour the web for the source, ensure your work is copyright protected and obtain permission to use something before publishing.

Oh and the “expert” advice
It seems minor enough, but often bloggers, blog site contributors and even publishers write something that is thinly veiled expert advice. To avoid scrutiny and legal problems, it is good to offer a disclaimer stating that it is not expert advice or an endorsement but merely the words and opinion of the writer. The Federal Trade Commission has a GUIDELINE that is a must-have and must-read publication.

Sticks and stones
Defamation is something we all should avoid, both as publishers and citizens. One harmful word written without well-documented proof can send you right to court. It is OK to criticize and inform your opinion on fact, but it is not OK to defame character or reputation. Remember Oprah’s cattlemen case? I do, too.

These are only a few legal matters to consider as a publisher. There are many more, and you can find them online. If you haven’t studied any of the above issues as of yet, please do. Make it your business to do so STAT.

Publisher, president, and CEO of Hope for Women Magazine Angelia White decided to step out on faith with her dream of creating a lifestyle magazine for today's inspiring woman. One thing is certain: she is illuminated by her passion for life, encouragement to change and inspiration to women to live, dream and inspire their ways to greatness! She is definitely a woman on the move! Check out her website at: hopeforwomenmag.com.

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