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Don't Get Caught by a Copyright Troll

Clubs continue to post images and other media (cartoons, songs, etc) online in disregard of copyright laws, resulting in a considerable increase in claims activity under the U.S. Rotary Club & District Liability Insurance Program ("Program"). 

The U.S. Rotary Club & District Liability Insurance Program provides all U.S. Rotary and Rotaract clubs and districts with general liability and directors & officers / employment practices liability insurance.

Over 40% of the Program's open claims now pertain to copyright infringement. Since claims activity determines state-by-state insurance assessment rates, your club could raise the rates for all of the clubs in your state.

Copyright owners hire companies offering software that "trolls" the internet in search of copyright violations involving their images or other media. These companies are commonly referred to as copyright trolls. When a troll finds a violation, they contact the party who mis-used the image or other media and make a demand to settle the violation. Failure to respond to the demand increases the difficulty of resolving the claim.

It is your club's responsibility to comply with copyright laws.

Here is what your club can do to prevent receiving a notice of copyright infringement:


  • Review your club's social media accounts and websites and delete any content using images or other media where you do not have the copyright owner's permission. This includes bulletins, newsletters, and other documents and forms, even if they are 10+ years old.

  • Contact Rotary International's Risk Management team immediately if your club receives a notice of copyright infringement. The Program may provide coverage depending on the way the image or other media was used.

Going Forward:

  • Instead of lifting images or other media off the internet, use images or other media created by members of your club (first receive their permission) or use the Rotary Brand Center.

  • Never use images or other media without permission.

  • Purchase images or other media online.

  • Consult the United States Copyright Office's website.

Contact your Club President for more information about the Program or reach out to the District's Public Image Resource Team.