Business Copyright Rules for Social Media Marketing
If you’re using Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media marketing tools to promote your small business, you may already be well aware of some rules. But did you know that there are business copyright rules that you must follow to stay out of expensive legal trouble? Don’t fret. We’ve compiled some common tips to help you follow the most basic business copyright rules when promoting your business and engaging with your audience through social media marketing.
Ready for business copyright 101? Let’s break it down so you don’t find yourself breaking the law.
According to Inside Counsel, copyright law applies to original works of art in all forms of media, including photos, music, articles, videos, and certain website content. The law offers automatic protection to works fixed in a tangible medium. Additionally, copyrights can be transferred, licensed, and inherited, and rights can live on after an author’s death. Copyright law gives the owner certain exclusive rights in the work, such as the right to display the work (including posting the work on social media), to make copies of the work (including re-posting), and to prepare different versions of the work. One must have permission to use a work—it is not enough to credit the author. Also, always, always remember that just because a work is publicly available does not mean it is in the public domain.
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Your Business Copyright Checklist
- Always check image ownership and obtain permission before using imagery on your site, products or communications
- ask third-party designers for copies of licenses for any images you purchase on their behalf
- keep copies of permissions and licenses from image owners on file
- make sure you own it or have permission to use it before you publish it
- always inquire about the origin of music, photos, videos and artwork
- If the company obtained permission to use a work on a social media account, ensure all planned uses (especially any off-platform uses) were disclosed to the rights holder.
- When using a web template that includes imagery, ensure that you have assurance from the template seller that they have a license to resell this content.
- Source and license royalty free stock imagery and video from sites like Getty Images to ensure you’re using content with all the requisite permissions in place.
It’s important to understand business copyright law so you can avoid some pretty unpleasant surprises.