A Question of Ethics
It's important to exercise this attention to content throughout your business. The Internet is just as big a problem. People are looking for content to put on their Web sites. And let's face it, trying to come up with decent pictures and text is one of the worst things about building a Web site. From time to time, some people copy and paste from other Web sites thinking "it shouldn't be a problem to post this information to my Web site. It won't hurt anyone." Well, that isn't exactly true.
In one recent case, a dealer simply copied word-for-word a document that had been used in one of the CEDIA courses he had attended. Those materials are copyrighted. You can't use copyrighted material without written permission. Do your homework, know your subject, and write your own content or pay a professional to write it. You'll stay out of trouble, but most of all you will have done the right thing.
In order to be responsible and keep yourself out of trouble (beyond an ethics violation with your association), there are a few things you should always do. First, ask the person preparing your advertising where the image or document comes from. Do you own the material? Do you have written authorization to use the images or documents if you don't own them? Also, find out whether you are using pictures of actors or other recognizable images on the screens in your photographs that may be shown in your ads. Make sure the person putting together your ad (the advertising agency) gives you the written authorizations for all images used in the ad. Make that a condition of your contract with them. That way you know up front you have done the right thing.