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Saturday, June 23, 2018

IBO Best Practices

You have certainly attended or hosted an IBO event or an Amway event and know that video and audio recording are strictly prohibited.  You may be uncertain as to the reasoning.  It is actually for your protection as well as your IBOs’ protection ... as using music, video, books, photographs and other items would infringe on someone’s copyright or trademark of 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 and must pay a fee.

Keeping it simple, 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, Intellectual Property 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, products 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/or 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.  In fact, the bottom line here is “don’t”.

Based upon the ideas above – let’s break it down:

  • If you create a video and you want 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).  And pay any and/all fees associated with this which are likely quite high.
    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.  In most cases it is much more than getting written permission.  There is generally a very high fee involved for using music in any way that is not owned by you.
  • Amway has a library of songs that they provide to all IBOs for their use that are available to all IBOs in the Amway Resource Center on the Amway website and on the Amway Resource Center App. 
  • 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.
  • 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’s ok to put in your own words what you learned from the book, but you should avoid directly quoting from the book.  And don’t 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’d say – if you didn’t create it, don’t use it and at best you need to get permission from the owner to use it and pay a large fee.

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 Approved Provider (LOA) 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.

Once you decide to 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 Independent Business Opportunity and all of the products offered by Amway.