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Copyright and Trademark Violations are Real and Serious

trademark symbolI received an email in early August from a name I didn’t recognize with the intriguing subject line “Trademark Misuse.” The letter from an attorney’s office said I had uploaded to SlideShare a PowerPoint “which references several of our client’s trademarks.”

Yes, I had developed a program based on a training I’d taken from the company, but I’d mistakenly assumed that gave me the right to share the information. Wrong! And to make matters worse, someone I didn’t know had downloaded my PowerPoint deck and shared it in another online platform and another person edited my PPT and uploaded it to a website. I immediately took my PPT off SlideShare and tried to contact the two who had used the slide deck.

This is a good reminder that, even if it’s for educational purposes, we must follow copyright and trademark laws. Yes, classroom teaching of enrolled students has more leniency, but I’m not as familiar with those details. I thought my short program would have fallen under fair use guidelines since I just used small portions of the book, but the book’s phrases were trademarked. Lesson learned!

Becky Koch, Ag Communication Director, 701-231-7875

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