Friday, 6 November 2015

Social Media Copyright Issues

Just like with privacy issues, copyright on social media is another issue that most of us tend to ignore.

It is very easy to share, post or upload material to social media platforms whether or not we are the owners of the copyright. Most of us are unaware of the laws in regards to this issue. With Pinterest we will can collect images from all over the web, and on Facebook we can share any post we come across. The line seems to be hazy between sharing things which give credit to the creator, and things that give no credit to anyone at all – also merely giving credit isn’t the same as gaining permission. We usually don’t even think about copyright implications and simply post away.

As it is so difficult to govern anything on the internet, it makes it very easy for us to breach copyright laws, often without realising we are doing anything wrong. Even though we really want to uphold copyright laws, we are often very confused about what is legal and what could get us in trouble.

When using social media for professional purposes, it is very important that we understand what is acceptable in regards to using copyrighted material in our social media accounts. Not only is the individual accountable, but the organisation will also be held responsible as well.

It is important to gain written consent from individuals if you wish to upload their personal content on your social media platform.

If you wish to use a song in a video you are posting, you need to get the copyright holders permission. Never assume that promoting their work equals fair use – people get sued for doing such things.

“Social media users should not assume that providing credit for a work or perhaps a link to a webpage avoids copyright infringement. This is not true. The holder of a copyright has exclusive rights to publish his or her work. Simply giving credit will not immunize a secondary user from a possible infringement claim. 
Renee Hykel Cuddy, Esq. Attorney, Hykel Law in Copyright Issues for Social Media
While we are innocently posting, pinning and sharing all over our social media accounts, we may be unaware that most social media sites have a term of use similar to the following: users agree to not infringe, violate or in any way misuse the copyright or trademark of another party. Users are liable for any costs and fees connected with a legal claim.

To use copyrighted material without infringing copyright laws, you must ensure that you comply with the policy of ‘fair use’. However sometimes our ‘fair use’ can be deemed ‘miss use’ – see here for a good example about this issue:

The following site discusses the difference between fair use and infringement when sharing copyrighted content on social media. It is an essential read for anyone wanting to post or share copyrighted material on social media. Along with many other important points to consider, the article states the following essential tips to keep in mind:

  • Check the original source of content for copyright notices or information about how the content may be used. When in doubt, obtain a license from the copyright holder.
  • If copyrighted content is posted by other social media users, check the social media network's terms and conditions for authorization to re-post the content. For example, under Pinterest's Terms of Service, a user who posts content on Pinterest provides all other users a license to use that content on Pinterest.
  • Instead of posting copyrighted content directly on your social media page, post a link to the original source containing the content. While giving attribution to the original source is not a defense to infringement, it may help reduce the likelihood of receiving a complaint and supports a fair use defense.
By Holland & Hart LLP in Sharing copyrighted content on social media – fair use or infringement?

Another great article about Fair Use laws:

“With the popularity of social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, many people may assume that pictures, videos and other online content are free for the taking. After all, social networking is all about sharing, isn’t it?However, nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, there are numerous legal implications, especially with regard to ownership and infringement.
From Avoid Interfering with Fair Use Laws When Using Photos in Social Media by Serban Enache

This link is specifically for how businesses can use Pinterest without infringing copyright laws:

This is important to read for any social media user, personal or professional:

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