Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Legal Story - Getting in Trouble Without Even Leaving Home

I tend to live a very safe and low risk lifestyle, always following the rules and avoiding dangerous or risky situations. I work from home and rarely go out which also minimizes the chances of ever running into a bad situation. Because of these reasons, I would never expect to find myself in any sort of trouble. However one time recently I did manage to get into some trouble as you will see.

So my main job involves working in sales and customer service for a large company that sells products online. A little while after working there I got the idea to start my own website related to the company to help promote the products and bring attention to the new items released each day. I figured there were not really any websites or blogs doing this for this company so it might be a niche market to explore.

I started my website and slowly built it up trying to write a new article each day. I figured after a while I might be able to join an affiliate program and generate a little income by promoting the products. I also figured if I got enough traffic, I might be able to make some money with ads on the website.

Over the months the website started to gain traction and get a decent amount of traffic. Then one day I was contacted by the legal team at the company. I had been using images from the company website to help promote the products on my blog. I don't think they had a problem with most of the images but at the time I had used some images that apparently they did not want published yet. They had accidentally published them already which is where I got them in the first place, but then they unpublished them and wanted me to do the same.

Of course I complied and took the images down immediately and actually unpublished my website until I got confirmation from the company on what was ok and not ok to use. Still before I even had a chance to reply to them, they contacted my website host and then the host contacted me telling me I had to send them all my information.

Overall I was pretty worried. I didn't know what kind of trouble I had gotten myself into. I was just trying to make a website to help promote the products for the company and now it looked like they were trying to sue me for using images from their website.

So I replied to them and explained the whole situation letting them know I had removed the images and was willing to take down my site or modify it as needed in order to comply with whatever was required.

Luckily they were understanding and seemed to be ok with it since I was cooperative and took down the images as requested. I was able to keep writing articles on the website but I no longer use any images for the articles just to be on the safe side.  Thankfully the issue was resolved without any serious trouble.

My site however did take a hit from the whole situation. I lost a lot of traffic by having to unpublish it for a while and take down all the images. I did continue to keep working on it and with time the traffic came back. This situation turned out ok, but it shows you can get into trouble pretty much anywhere even without even leaving the comfort of your own home!

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