Perhaps to your surprise - maybe to your chagrin - CrossFit has exploded worldwide. This is good for everyone: pulling people toward higher levels of fitness changes the paradigm. If you run a yoga class, 'boot camp,' or spin class, get ready to benefit from the trickle-down effect.
Driving this tsunami, at least partially, is the tectonic-size social effect of CrossFit. Our pictures are everywhere: beautiful, inspiring pictures of performance and the athletic aesthetic. Well-written essays, professional photography, motivational stories, and professional video. Heck, we're on ESPN2, and every shoe company is trying to get on the bandwagon with their own training videos.
It's tempting, isn't it? There are pictures of our athletes everywhere. Some have motivational text added. Some have incredible abs. It's so EASY to right-click, or drag; to save and re-post as your own.
What is Intellectual Property (IP) ?
Just because something appears on the internet doesn't mean it's free. Though it may be intangible - just a bunch of organized pixels - the concept is owned by its creator, just as surely as if it were made of clay. Use a picture that I own? You might as well break into my house and steal it off the mantle. Less broken glass, sure, but still theft.
The difference between 'Sharing' and 'Borrowing'
Hitting the 'share' or 'like' button on social media is okay, because it gives attribution to the creator of the picture or essay. Hitting 'like' denotes your passive acceptance - you 'like' something, obviously - of something you find on facebook. Hitting 'share' means you think it's important enough to show your friends.
Saving a picture to your own hard drive, and re-uploading it - modified or in its original form - as your own, without permission, is theft. Permission is NOT implied online. When in doubt, ask for permission, or don't use it.
Can I use the term, "CrossFit' on my website if I'm not a licensed Affiliate? No.
Can I take pictures from CrossFit.com and make them my profile picture? No.
What if I crop them? No.
What if they're REALLY awesome? No.
What if someone else did it first, and I take it from THEIR site? No.
What if I'm a hippie with a sense of entitlement? No.
What if I'm not a corporation, but just a tiny person? No.
What if I'm a supplement company? No.
What if I'm a hyoooooooge fan? No. Sorry.
What if I'm just registering a .com so that I can have it when I Affiliate? No.
The really tricky stuff:
What if my web designer uses copyrighted material, and I'm not aware? You're liable. Call 321GoProject.com - 435.901.2173
What if I take a picture from a third-party site, instead of its original owner? You're liable.
Take a picture found with Google image search? You're liable.
Copy a block of text that you found REALLY motivating on LisbethDarsh.com, and paste it on your own blog? You're liable (and lazy. Just ask permission and give credit.)
A New Fitness Landscape
As gym owners, we're accustomed to carrying insurance for liability, damage, theft, and fire. Some of it seems a bit overboard...but it's necessary in our litigious climate.
The new coverage you'll be considering when you renew? IP Defense. In case you're sued, your insurance provider covers your attorney fees up to a certain amount. It may seem superfluous, but some gyms to whom I've spoken have been hit for up to $1800 per picture.
NO ONE wants to pay a lawyer with money that could go toward a new rower. Be careful out there.
The Real Solution
Affiliate. Join the movement. CrossFit has the lowest barrier to entry of most new businesses. Do it right.