Carlton Reid of Bike Biz UK reports that Wiggle have been caught out using a Chain Reaction Cycles image in Wiggle social media.
Chain Reaction Cycles ran a blog post, a laborious blog post about wrapping a full suspension mountain bike in wrapping paper for Christmas. CRC achieved their aims with over 1000 shares through Facebook and other social media platforms such as Google+ and Twitter. In this respect, sharing-it-around is intended, spread the word and draw attention back to the online retailer.
But you don’t expect your competitors to integrate your marketing into theirs, a Twitterer’ Brent @shedfire picked up the ‘theft’.
Copyright, in most countries clearly protects the creater of the original work and traditionally the work can’t be taken and reproduced. However there is an element of artistic freedom to adapt original work – in some countries a variation / manipulation of over 10% allows copyrighted work to be adapted however depends on the situation as a samples from a song, such as a drum beat, can’t easily be extracted and re-used. But Vanilla Ice didn’t know that when he ripped off Queen’s Under pressure.
And social media changes everything, on facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest and imgur copyright theft is rampant. However once content reaches the public domain then it is hard to keep it protected – especially if it appeals to others. And hence meme’s and even Viral marketing detaches the content from copyright and explodes into the sharing space for #Lol’s and #Rofl’s
But they are the users
And Wiggle is not, so they have a responsibility to check the content they use, and use it with permission. This goes for any business, using content belonging to another individual, business or entity without permission is risky and plain unprofessional. It call’s for clear marketing and communication strategies that staff responsible for outside communication understand the policies and protocol for publishing information.
The Wiggle response was fairly casual,
“Yeah sorry, we were sent it a while back from someone, cannot find the source. & had it in a folder.”
In the grand scheme, CRC benefit by making Wiggle look incompetent and earn bonus points in the eyes of their customers. Wiggle should have had a better response:
1. Praise CRC for their creativity,
2. Make a formal apology (due to an internal error which won’t happen again) and,
3. Use it as a marketing opportunity for example, their own wrapped bike or a social media gift to CRC or highlighting their benefits.
CRC are not worried, or should not be (as they come out on top) however can consider watermarking. It would limit the number of competitors who use their images but also add a small promotional effect when the image is shared. It may however lead to some rejection and fewer shares when consumers ‘reject commerce’ and want to own content without commercial influence.