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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

IBO Best Practices

Those of you who have attended an IBO event or an Amway event may have seen a message or sign that says video and audio recording are strictly prohibited.  You may be uncertain as to the reasoning.  It is actually for your protection . . . as using music, video, books, photographs, and other items, without permission, would infringe on someone’s copyright or trademark . . . their intellectual property (IP).  In general, avoiding infringement of IP is simple; if you didn’t create it, you need to get written permission from the owner(s) to use it.  (See Rule 8 – Marks and Copyrighted Works and Rule 4.14 – Compliance with Applicable Laws, Regulations, and Codes).

IP is a work that is the result of creative effort, a trademark, a design, or an invention.  And, just like other types of property, IP cannot be taken or used without the owner’s permission.

Musical, literary, and artistic works (such as music, books, poems, videos, photographs, and software) are types of IP protected by copyrights.  Logos, product and corporate trademarks, and slogans are IP that fall under trademark protection.  An individual’s “likeness” (name, image, signature, etc.) can even be a special type of IP called a “Right of Publicity.”  If you copy, distribute, or in any way use materials that are created by someone else, without proper written permission (such as a license), the owner of the IP may assert infringement claims against you, your AP, and even Amway.  The fines for copyright infringement can be as much as $150,000 per infringement. And remember, just because you can find it on the Internet does not mean you can use it.

Based upon the concepts above – let’s break it down:  If you create a video and you decide to add a song – you must get written permission from the owners of (1) the music, (2) the recording, and (3) the performance rights for use of the song (IP) – often for a substantial fee.  This is true even if you bought the music from the iTunes® store or another music source.  Purchasing music for your own listening on your own mobile device is not permission to re-use it in videos.

When considering the inclusion of photos in a video or placement of photos on a social media page or public forum – be sure that you have permission from the photographer to use the photos and from each person appearing in the photos.  They have their own special rights, called rights of publicity and rights of privacy. This includes permission to use photographs or articles from magazines and other printed material that may contain IP that falls under copyright or trademark protection.  If you take photos at functions or events, be aware that your photo could capture images of people or other material, such as business logos, that are protected by copyright and trademark laws.  Again, permission from the copyright or trademark owner is required before you can republish the photos you took at the event or function.

Literary pieces such as books can be invaluable in keeping us motivated.  Talking about a good book is fine – just remember even if you’ve learned the lessons of the book – limit your comments to your experience with the book.  Always give the title of the book along with credit to the author, but make sure you do not share the specific contents of the book.  The book is the IP of the author who benefits from the sale of his or her books.  It is ok to encourage others to read the book.  It is ok to put in your own words what you learned from the book, but you should avoid directly quoting from the book.  And do not forget about poems – if they are the creative property of another, permission is needed to reproduce them.

While we would like to use the images in the materials created by Amway – the rights to reproduce the images often do not extend to IBOs and others outside the Corporation.  A good example of this is the image of Theresa Palmer or athletes that may be featured in Amway-produced materials.  Publicity rights restrict where, how, and who can use these photographs and their images. For corporate images – simply send your customers and Prospects directly to Amway.com.

While we talked about photo images – it’s important to also remember copyrighted images or trademarks such as those of Partner Stores offered by Amway.  While we appreciate the excitement and desire to shout to all about these partnerships – we do not have the rights to duplicate the logos.  Definitely talk about the associations but refer to Amway.com for the proper usage for Partner Store visuals.  If we had to simplify the above, we would say – if you did not create it, do not use it and at best you need to get permission from the owner to use it.

Any materials used with your customers or Prospects, at your meetings, on the web, or any of your social media connections are considered business support materials and your AP submits those to Amway for authorization prior to use.  This applies to any business-related materials produced on your behalf by your AP.

Please note any and all BSM (including tickets to any meeting) must be submitted to Amway for authorization prior to use by your AP.

Once you start your own Independent Business powered by Amway … you have now entered into a commercial enterprise.  By engaging in this commercial activity, you take on new responsibilities relative to your use of music and/or videos, whether on social media or at any type of IBO gathering.  We appreciate you and your creativity in building your business.  But just as we support your good ideas and value your creativity – we must be respectful of the creativity and ownership of the intellectual property of others.  Let’s continue to work together in looking for new ways to share your enthusiasm for your business, the Amway™  Opportunity, and all of the products offered by Amway.

Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.