For social media managers, businesses, and social media marketers, it is very important to understand how social media interacts with copyright. As businesses market their brand on social media, it can be very easy to break the law even without your intent. In the worst of cases, you can find yourself being engaged in expensive restitution or even potentially being liable for lawsuits. All these can happen if you Google an image and share it on social media or website without actually asking for permission to use the image or without attributing credit. Therefore, before publishing content it is critical to understand the copyright implications and social media.
Copyright- what is it?
It refers to the exclusive rights of content creators which are legally protected for content like audio, text, video and pictures. The rights regulate the freedom of others to change, sell or copy your content without seeking permission.
How social media and copyright can potentially affect your business
Individuals are mostly left alone after abusing copyright of even codified creations like DVDs and music albums. However, for a business, this is handled differently because they are more likely to be sued if they break copyright rules.
This means that a copyright holder can approach any business that has been using their content for commercial gain without seeking permission and demand the business to remove the content from their website or social media. Additionally, the copyright holder can also opt to sue you and seek payment for using their content. If this happens, compensation payments and legal bills are the results.
Realistic expectations and fair use
If the content is published on social platforms, sharing is encouraged and so this is within reasonable expectations. Therefore, if you share on Facebook, retweet on Twitter or repin on Pinterest, it is reasonable expectations that you are using the content within bounds of fair use. However, in case you decide to download the image on your computer and then later upload it as yours on your social media or website, the realistic expectation does not exist.
Crediting content does not always negate copyright
It is not always that crediting content creators or even linking to original content automatically overrides copyright. Doing this is good practice and actually important, but it does not always absolve copyrights. Therefore, if you are going to use someone’s content especially for commercial purposes, it is recommendable that you ask for permission first.
Royalty free image sites offer perfect means for buying the sharing rights of copyrighted content. Stock images are usually highly affordable and they give you the peace of mind while posting the images on your website or in social media. After obtaining the sharing rights of copyrighted content, you should seriously consider any rules put into place by the content creator. Make sure that you use the images according to the purchasing license. Nonetheless, pixabay and pexels are some of the royalty-free image sites that allow access to images for free. At times, they might ask you to appreciate the content creator by following or liking them on their social media pages.
In order for you to effectively navigate social media and copyright, here are some things that you should always keep in mind.
- Generate unique content for your website or social media whenever you have the chance.
- Retweet, share or repin content from its original owner.
- Ensure you have appropriate licenses for any purchased content.
- When not sure, ask for permission before using content.
- In cases of doubt seek legal advice.
Examples of copyright infringement include;
- Recording theatre movies
- Copying video game or software code without seeking the owner’s consent
- Copying podcasts, books and blogs without permission
- Downloading music or movies without making payment for use
- Creating videos using unlicensed music clips
- Using other people’s pictures on websites or blogs without attribution or permission
Content creation takes time and effort and for only that reason, it deserves respect. Therefore, copyright laws exploitation can profoundly affect any business. To drive the point home, think of yourself as the content creator. You definitely wouldn’t want other people and especially competitors using your material, distributing it or copying it without seeking your consent first or paying you.
Featured image via https://www.lomnitzerlaw.com.