How Does Copyright Work on Social Media?

How Does Copyright Work on Social Media?

Social media has taken the world of the internet by storm - it has transformed the way we communicate and share information. Today, every social media user is a publisher of sorts as it provides a platform for publishing and publicizing instant information about almost anything and everything under the sun. Besides, it also provides marketing opportunities for an instant, mass-publication of content including everything - from tweets, photos, videos, blogs and links to content.

However, many publish content on social media without any consideration of the existing copyright laws. Often, users take images and content of social media feeds and use them in their work. This can lead to copyright infringement or violation, resulting in civil and criminal penalties.

What is Copyright Infringement?

Copyright infringement is the use or production of copyright-protected material without the permission of the copyright holder. It means that a third party cannot breach the rights afforded to the copyright holder (such as the exclusive use of a work), and doing so may lead to contingent liabilities.

Individuals and companies register their work for copyright protection, to ensure that they can profit from their efforts. Other parties can be granted permission to use those works through licensing arrangements or may purchase the works from the copyright holder. 

Social Media and Copyright

While social media platforms and sites including, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and others may allow you to post copyrighted material online, they do not own the material that has been posted on them. The copyright remains with the owner of the material. However, by agreeing to post your work on their sites and platforms, you sign an agreement that gives them the license to use your work.

For example, the terms of service of Facebook states that you own all of the content and information you post on it and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. Besides, intellectual property rights also protect your content. When you leave the social media platform, all the content is deleted from it.

Whereas, the policies of the Pinterest state that it can use your content as you have given a license by agreeing to its terms. Further, the copyright statement of Pinterest includes a link that helps you in filing a case or complaint against someone whom you find violating your copyright.

Tips To Avoid Copyright Infringement

In 2020, business owners and marketers need to have a clear idea about copyright laws, to protect themselves from online embarrassment, potentially expensive litigation, and even permanent damage to their public image. Hence, if social media is a part of your business strategy, here are a few tips that might help you to stay out of trouble on social media:

1. Attain permission

The best way to utilize copyrighted content is by seeking the author’s permission. If you receive permission, you can then use that content after giving credit to the original author and linking it with your post. It is also advisable to keep records of the permissions you receive.

2. Use Images from Public Domain

It is always ideal to use images from websites that are devoid of copyright restrictions. Websites such as Pixabay, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons, and others, offer a plethora of images for users that do not have copyright restrictions.

3. Give credit

Many people think that it is permissible to use copyrighted content by simply giving credit in their posts. However, without prior permission, the author can still sue you even if you have given credit to the concerned person in it.

4. Review ownership rights on social media pages

Every social media page has certain guidelines on the use of copyrighted content. You can read those norms on ownership rights before posting or using any content.

5. Consider buying content

Purchasing copyrighted content is always a safe way to avoid any kind of legal hassles for your organization, and there are many websites where you can purchase content for a nominal amount. For images, Shutterstock, Bigstock, and iStock are some websites that allow you to purchase images for use.

Let Us Help You!

Are you a business owner or a marketer who wants to keep away from copyright infringement while using social media for your business? At Turiya Communications LLP, we can help you to increase your knowledge about copyright violations and keep you out of such legal troubles. Visit our website to know more!

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