Popular social media services such as Facebook and Instagram have billions of active users. In addition to allowing companies to share their personality and brand values, online platforms also function as impressive e-commerce marketplaces. This provides an opportunity for businesses to reach an impressive number of users. However, when individuals or businesses use social media, they may not be considering the following issues related to intellectual property:
- Trademark infringement
- Copyright Infringement
- Rights of Publicity/Right of Privacy
- Licenses to the social media service (i.e., Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
In terms of infringement (whether trademark or copyright), there are two scenarios you may encounter on social media. One involves someone infringing your own intellectual property rights and the other occurs when you infringe a third parties’ rights, whether intentionally or not. There are often several layers of intellectual property involved in a social media post. Common examples include music, photographs, videos, artwork, and brand names and logos. Understanding intellectual property ownership can be complicated, and it is best that you consult with an attorney to protect your work and avoid infringing anyone else’s as well.
Further, using someone’s image or likeness online without their permission could implicate rights of publicity and/or privacy laws. Being aware of these intellectual property issues on social media is a helpful first step. Your business’s social media presence is an important part of your brand that deserves legal protection. Additionally, avoiding actions that infringe other’s intellectual property rights can help prevent financial and reputational harm. We can assist you with your legal concerns regarding you and/or your business’s online presence.
– Courtney Reigel, Esq. and Lily Taggart
(This is not intended as legal advice. Contact a lawyer for assistance in your particular situation.)