When you include certain details to your postcard design and copy, remember to consider laws involved in communication. You may not be aware of it but you could be violating someone’s rights. It’s worse if you are totally aware of it and are deliberately doing it to gain controversy and ultimately, popularity. If the latter is your purpose, keep in mind that fame is short-lived, but the losses you will incur in a legal battle could leave you suffering for a very long time.
You may have heard of the term ‘Intellectual Property’. This law pertains to the field in legal practice that covers the protection of creative works found in different forms such as songs, books, inventions and as simple as drawings.
If you, in any way, ‘steal’ these ideas, you can get sued for it.
Be careful when you use materials or creative works like stories, articles, jokes and other original outputs in your postcard design or copy even if you do not charge for it, like if you are planning to give out these postcards for your marketing campaign.
You need to ask permission from the individual or institution who owns the work, whether or not you intend to make money out of the creative material. And care should be taken so as to ensure that the contents or its message are not taken out of context.
The symbol that represents copyright is the superscript letter C enclosed in a circle. If the material is not registered, it gets limited protection. But that does not mean that you cannot get sued. Think of the money you will be spending and the hassle it will cost you to attend to these legal matters. It is best to be careful.
Properly and regularly acknowledge the person or people behind the work, big or not.
Trademark is another form of intellectual property protection for names, words or phrases, slogans or catch phrases, logos or symbols.
An example of a violation against this is using a famous slogan. In some cases, some advertisers, in an effort to draw attention, advertently rides with the popularity of some established products and brands by using the brand logo and manipulating minor details but the result still bears a striking resemblance to the original symbol. Using a famous cartoon on your ad without permission is another violation.
Trademark has assigned superscript symbols of TM or encircled letter R. The R is for registered trademark which is much like the copyright symbol. However, the TM symbol is not exactly or not yet registered (or possibly in the process of) so it does not get the same level of protection, unlike registered trademark. For some, recognizing the owner of the intellectual property and citing that it is a trademark is enough to avoid committing a violation against this.
One of the harming results of copyrights and trademarks violation is the loss of earnings of the person or persons whom you infringed the rights of. As for you, if you lose the case, you may end up losing more than just that. To be on the safe and good side, be creative and use your own materials for your postcard design and copy.