The explosive growth of blogs and social networks has allowed Americans to easily share a plethora of information, even if that information is not their own. Technology has made it effortless for anyone to click and share things – a quote, a recipe, a cartoon. But it’s important to remember that almost everything you find on the Internet belongs to someone else.
Obviously there’s A LOT of information on the Internet, so let’s be clear about what is protected under the copyright law. According to the United States Copyright Office, copyright “is a form of protection grounded in the U.S. Constitution and granted by law for original works of authorship fixed in a tangible medium of expression.” It protects “original works of authorship including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works, such as poetry, novels, movies, songs, computer software, and architecture.”
Let’s say you came across an amusing cartoon that’s relevant to your business, and shared it on your business page. Your actions might be determined to be an act of copyright infringement. The cartoonist is the copyright owner. Therefore, when you took his original work of authorship and posted it on your social media page without his permission, you may have infringed on his copyright rights. And that could be a very costly action. If you infringe on a copyright, the amount of damages owed can range from $200 to $150,000, based on a court’s determination of several factors, including whether the infringement was intentional.
There’s no denying that social media platforms are a useful tool for businesses. But the risks of copyright infringement should not be ignored. Before posting any content on a social platform, consider the legality of it. If you are unsure, pursue another option. Social media management and marketing companies like Ideal Solutions can always create original content that is relevant to your business and free of legal ties.
Want to make sure your social media is free of copyright infringement? Email me to discuss a digital marketing strategy for your business.
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