Posted on 20 May, 2019
I miss the good old days. I didn’t have grey hair. My friends didn’t order non-fat lattes with caramel drizzle. My colleagues weren’t all posting on Instagram, throwback or not, pictures of their best James Dean. And I was happy, so happy, and now, well, I have content programs.
As an expert on social media – 13 followers on Instagram in just under a year – I think it’s only right that I inform my fellow influencers, and brands and publishers about the re-sharing of content on social media. Content creators – photographers, videographers, publishers and so on – are now more knowledgeable about their intellectual property (IP) and so will be more likely than ever to enforce their legal and moral rights. So, unless you solely use commissioned in-house content, you could have potential legal exposure from the images you use on social media.
So what can you do to mitigate the risks? Easy. Leave social media. Communicate to your readers, consumers and stalkers with handwritten notes, glances, and grunts or maybe just approach them face-to-face and talk to them. Although, if you insist on staying on social media then I have some tips to ensure you won’t be sued for IP or copyright infringement.
A social media platform is more than just a name
We all know Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and the rest. We know them. We love them. But what do we really know about them?
All social media platforms have rules and each of them has their own different rules. Get to know them. They’re more than just a pretty face. They have terms and they have conditions and when you meet their terms and their conditions you’ll be happy together. I always make sure I read Instagram’s Terms and Conditions and discuss it with my followers at least once each day.
I disagree with Grace Hopper
Tagging the rights holder of an image, text, music or any other content type, doesn’t give the poster a legal license to reuse content. Images are so frequently reposted and then that repost is reposted and on and on it goes that the original attribution is lost anyway.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. Avoid reposting other user’s content unless you have explicit permission from the rights holder. Be careful when taking an image from a brand’s social account and reusing it in your publication or website. The brand hopefully has licensed the image legally for marketing usage but that doesn’t give publishers the right to use it for their commercial or editorial gains. Always seek explicit permission.
Sherlock Holmes: the lost novella
As I’m sure most of you are aware Google Images has a reverse image search feature. This allows users to locate every usage of that image. The likes of Getty Images and Shutterstock use similar technology that makes it easy to find instances of unlicensed use of their archive. And they will seek compensation for commercial infringement. And you will need to write a response more than 280 characters long.
So come on, go on DISCO Content Marketplace and get that license for an image or there are plenty of stock photo joints out there waiting for you. When you use a stock service make sure the license you choose allows how you’re using the image. This also applies to designers using stock art to create images or infographics. Wherever you purchase, look for license guidelines.
It’s worth also investing in a digital asset management (DAM) system to track your content licenses.
“Fair use” is a concept misunderstood
Sometimes you order something at a restaurant and your fellow diners want to try a little of the amazeballs on your plate. That’s cool. I’m OK with that. That’s basically “fair use”.
With text, using the headline is generally fair use. Maybe even a part of the first paragraph. With imagery on social be vigilant. As an individual image is a whole piece of work it isn’t fair use. It’s someone eating the entire contents of your dinner and giving you a shout out for that isn’t going to stop you being hungry. Don’t be a hustler. Create a content licensing and permissions policy. And get your Content Strategist, or whoever is your least valued member of staff, to read this and give you the cliff notes.
Aren’t you glad you read this...
It’s the loneliest feeling in the world when everyone loves you but nobody likes you. Sometimes I think I was born with a leak, and any goodness I started with just slowly spilled out and now it’s all gone. At least I thought that until I decided to give you all the gift of understanding more about the right ways of posting content that doesn’t belong to you on your social media. So you like me now, right? I did some goodness, didn’t I?
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Image via Shutterstock.