Businesses and individuals can easily build brands and share ideas through platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and TikTok. While these capabilities are undoubtedly powerful, they could also create problems when it comes to using other users’ content without permission.
For instance, though you may be the owner of the content you create and put on most social media platforms, others may misuse it. While copying someone’s status may seem harmless, the fact is that it can do serious damage, especially when the person who takes that content earns money from it.
Copyright infringement hurts
For a recent example of how serious copyright infringement involving social media content can be, we can look at a case involving U.S. singer/songwriter Lizzo and her song, “Truth Hurts.” According to statements, she did not write the first line of the song; she saw it in a tweet by another singer, Mina Lioness.
Lioness has since been credited as a writer on the song, and she did not pursue legal action.
However, one takeaway from this situation is the fact that using other people’s social media content does happen. In some cases, these actions are intentional; in other cases, people don’t realize they are infringing on someone else’s copyrighted content. And rarely does someone take a tweet and turn it into a number one song, but the creator can still experience damages.
Being careful with your content
To avoid costly lawsuits and damaging claims of copyright infringement, be mindful of how you use material on and from social media.
As a content creator, use discretion when deciding what you put in the social media environment. Once you put content out there, others can use it without your permission and without properly licensing the material. With this in mind, you might decide against putting something on a particular platform. If you do, understand that, while you may own the content, ensuring others do not misuse it requires a concerted effort.
If you plan to create something based on something you saw on social media, proceed with caution. You could be accused of infringement. However, you may be able to make an argument for fair use or submit a request to license the material.
Copyrights and social media are complicated areas, but an attorney can help you assess your legal options and pursue an appropriate resolution.