A lot of people in the online space love using memes and GIFs. But if you’re doing it for commercial purposes or for your business, then that’s another story.

People have been fed this notion that all you need is an idea and a laptop and you can make money. But it’s not as easy as that. There are a lot of things you need to do to make sure you’re not stepping on other people’s toes – from a legal perspective.  

Stop listening to street lawyers, street accountants, and all of those amateur people who are going to tell you something who even have no basis telling you that.

You’ve got to understand enough about your money and about the legal stuff so that you stop being dangerous – because you're going to be making decisions all the time every day that could affect you, your people, and your business. 

Bobby Klinck, a Harvard lawyer turned online entrepreneur, shares these online legal basics to help you build a lasting business.

1. Put everything in writing.

Whether things work out well, or not, you want to have an agreement in writing. And it can be hard to have that conversation, but you have to. You also want it to be very clear. And when you have that, it preserves relationships and goodwill. We all need to make money but relationships and what people say about us are also very important.

2. Avoid the “Right Click, Save Image” problem.

The biggest mistake that entrepreneurs make is that they don't honor and respect people's copyright. There’s this “Right Click, Save Image” problem where people are scrolling around the internet. They see an image they like and then with their mouse, they would “right click and Save As” for later use. If you do this, you’re violating copyright laws and you could be charged thousands of dollars. 

Something that has some creative ability in it is automatically protected by copyright the moment it is put into fixed form, which means if it's coming from somebody else, it's copyrighted. You can't use it without permission. 

This also applies to the use of memes and GIFs. And if you're using those in your business for commercial purposes, you're almost certainly violating someone's copyright and you're putting yourself at risk. 

If you want to learn more about more online legal basics, check out 047: Online Legal Basics with Bobby Klinck