Copyright on Social Media – What are your rights?
Social media sites have become an integral part of our lives. We use them to share our thoughts, ideas, and images with one another. Unfortunately, many people forget that the images we share on social media are not always ours to do with as we please.
What’s worse, websites are constantly trying to crack down on copyright infringement by using an algorithm to search for any images on their site that have not been credited.
In this blog post, we’ll explore the rights you have with regards to copyright on social media. Here are all the dos and don’t you need to know before posting images on social media.
Image Copyright: Think Before you Send
Number 1 - Don’t dismiss copyright laws
They may not be at the top of your list of priorities right now, but copyright laws do still apply to your social media content.
You wouldn’t take pages from another person’s book to put in your own or web page copy from another website. The same is true when you need to find pictures for your social media posts.
Just because an image shows up in Google doesn’t mean it’s legally ok for you to use it. You’ll need to click through to the information that accompanies the image to check the licensing rights. Start by asking the owner if you can use their media, and get this in writing. Remember there may be a charge.
There are a wide variety of written, musical and graphic works that are automatically protected under copyright laws from the moment they are created. It is best to assume everything falls under copyright legislation.
For verification, here is a list of works that are covered by copyright legislation.
Copyright laws cover any original:
- Artistic works.
- Literary or non-literary works such as web content.
- Dramatic or musical works.
- Sound, music, film or television recordings.
- Broadcasts or publications.
Social media content, blog posts and web page content are all subject to copyright laws.
Number 2 - Do check images are licensed for public use
In most cases, an image taken straight from a search won’t be ok for you to post on your social media feed.
Instead, you’ll need to use websites dedicated to providing searchable images licensed for public use.
Number 3 - Don’t post without thinking
The internet is like a rabbit hole. Once something’s let loose on the web, it’s hard to keep track of it.
Think carefully before posting any of your original images on your wall. Once any content is on a social media platform, the platform has a legal right to use your content as they choose and make it possible for other people to access it.
So if you don’t want to run the risk of an image being plagiarised, don’t use it on your social media wall.
Number 4 - Do know what you are protected from
Copyright laws protect you from having copies of your content:
- Distributed, rented, adapted or lent out – both for money or for free.
- Performed, shown or played in public.
- Displayed on the internet.
Although copyright protection is automatic, you can register any of your original works so that you have solid, verifiable evidence if you ever find your work is plagiarised in future.
Copyright registration provides you with an impartial witness you can call on to prove that you are the author of the original work in question.
Number 5 - Do display the copyright symbol
Make your copyright protection visible to the public. Put the copyright symbol on your work and website. You should also add a copyright clause, your name as the author and the date of creation to the details on any image or content files you create.
Number 6 - Do act immediately
If your images or content is plagiarised, don’t hang about. Duplicate content can have a terrible effect on your business so gather all the evidence you can straightaway and take decisive action.
Number 7 - Do launch a DMCA Takedown Notice
You'll need to file a DMCA Takedown Notice, which will request the offending website's web host takes down the duplicate copy.
The web host will also need to explain to the website owner why they must remove the plagiarised content.
Now the website owner can, in return, send you a notice claiming the content is theirs, and this is where registering your content from the outset comes in handy. If this does happen, you may well need to get legal support if you or the offending party decide to take things further.
Number 8 - Do check each platform’s guidance
When posting content on any of the big platforms like Insta or Facebook, remember that although the content still belongs to you, as I mentioned before, the platform has the right to display, amend and use your work at will.
However, if you do spot an infringement of copyright on a social media platform, you can take actions.
Each platform has its process for lodging a complaint. Most of the networks follow a similar approach to Twitter, whereby you can lodge a complaint through their help centre and have the company request the owner takes the content down.