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What You Need to Know About Online Use Law When it comes to your company's online presence, what you don't know about copyright law can hurt you.

By Gwen Moran Edited by Frances Dodds

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

A bit of code. A few paragraphs of copy. A song or a couple of photos. They may be easy to cut and paste for use on your website, e-mail marketing campaign or other business collateral, but helping yourself can be a big mistake.

"Nearly everything you may find is protected in some manner by copyright law," says Jerrold Neeff, intellectual property attorney at The Bostonian Law Group in Boston and an adjunct professor of intellectual property law at Boston University.

The most common type of business copyright violations occur in the construction and publication of websites, he says. Knowingly or not, business owners frequently use code, characters, photographs, music and other IP-protected works illegally.

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