Here’s the truth, social media has become a BIG (maybe too big?) part of our lives, with millions of users sharing their thoughts, lives, and businesses on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok.
Here’s the thing, in the process of sharing our content/lives/businesses, many people forget to take necessary measures to protect themselves from committing copyright infringement and the results that could happen from that…aka, when you get a cease & letter, aka when you could have to pay a fine, aka when your account could get shut down...
In legal mumbo jumbo, copyright infringement is the unauthorized use of someone else's creative work, such as text, images, videos, or music, without their permission.
IT IS a serious offense and can lead to REAL legal action, penalties, and damage to your business. Therefore, it is important to learn how to avoid this scenario, so let’s dive in shall we?
Here are some tips to help you avoid copyright infringement on social media:
TIP 1: CREATE ORIGINAL CONTENT
HELLO No Brainer! The best way to avoid copyright infringement is to create your original content. I know, crazy right?!
Whether it is a blog post, image or video make sure that you own the copyright to it. If you use someone else's work, make sure you have their permission or use it under a license that allows for reuse (more on this below).
TIP 2: READ THE TERMS OF SERVICE
Each social media platform has its own terms of service, which outline the rules and guidelines for using the platform. Make sure you read and understand the terms of service before posting any content. Some platforms may have specific rules for copyrighted content, and violating those rules can result in your content being removed or your account being suspended.
TIP 3: USE IMAGES CORRECTLY.
If you do not have the resources to create original content, you can use royalty-free images and music. (I actually wrote an article on using images in social media for Social Media Examiner years ago, check that out here). Royalty-free images are creative works that are available for use without paying any royalty fees. Many websites offer royalty-free images and music that you can use for your social media posts.
TIP 4: GIVE CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE
If you use someone else's work, make sure you give them credit. This can be done by tagging them in the post, mentioning their name, or linking to their website or social media page. Giving credit not only shows respect for the creator's work but also helps you avoid copyright infringement. However, you should be aware that even if you give credit, you may still be committing copyright infringement, giving credit is not the same as PERMISSION.
TIP 5: BE AWARE OF THE FAIR USE DOCTRINE
The fair use doctrine is a legal principle (aka legal thing) that allows for the use of copyrighted material without permission under certain circumstances, such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. However, fair use is complicated AF - the main thing to know is that if you are just using “snippets” of something to teach or make a point, typically it’s okay.
So, what is the bottom line? Copyright infringement is a serious offense that can lead to legal action, penalties, and damage to your reputation, OH MY! To avoid copyright infringement on social media follow the 5 tips outlined above. By following these tips, you can enjoy the benefits of social media while protecting yourself and others from copyright infringement, win-win!