Active on social networks and are willing to delight your audience with new and highly engaging content? Have found interesting video/image/post to use? Great, but take your time and consider copyright law because, as they say, ‘better safe than sorry’. Actually, any content published on the internet is under protection and can by no means be used without any warnings. Basically, online content could be: 

  • paid for; 
  • used for free. 

More details on this rather sensitive and important issue would be good to provide. 

Any social media platform, cannot do without a bright and colorful visual content marketing. All of us like looking through the posts packed with nice images and few have ever thought about where this of that image was taken from. In fact, there exist several ways to get a photo and alike of your dream: 

  • make it yourself (no questions and claims then); 
  • ask a photographer to make it for you (everything depends on your mutual agreements: you can either use the picture taken as and where you wish or there may be certain limitations) 
  • you may use a paid site and ‘buy’ what you have chosen (pay attention to the license agreement, see below); 
  • you may use a free version of photo pools such as Unsplash and Pixabay. These kinds of sites do offer a good variety of high-quality and versatile images for free. However, keep in mind: 
  • Firstly, do cross-checking. It may happen that a person took a licensed photo and uploaded it on one of the copyright-free stock picture sites. Do not get into a trap and always check twice before sharing/publishing any visual material on your page. 
  • Secondly, remember about attribution sharing. Simply put, you can just make it a source: author/photographer with relevant linking to the site or social profile. The very link you can add somewhere in your description of the post. Do try to find the information mentioned in order to sleep well and peacefully afterward the image sharing. 

P.S. Sometimes it happens that you want to share the image of the other brand you are a fan of (e.g. a celebrity, a blogger, and so on). The best way would be to ask for permission and provide a visible photo credit: tagging, camera emoji demonstrating and so on. 

“Your video was removed because it appears to contain copyrighted material owned by a third party.” Never received such a notification? Lucky you are! 

There is no chance for you to use licensed musical clips for your branded content or, particularly, for advertising. Remember about copyright, otherwise, the consequences can be sad: you can be fined, banned, rejected, even law suited. Always pay close attention to the license provided. Here you are a short list of the most common ones: 

  • CC BY/CC BY-SA – the product can be used for different aims (both non-commercial and commercial) and in various modifications; the most loyal package; 
  • CC BY-ND – unchanged and the original source to be credited; 
  • CC BY-NC-SA – non-commercials only, the original source to be credited; 
  • CC BY-NC-ND – the most restrictive one; non-commercials only, no changings and the original source to be credited. 

Do not get frustrated though. Modern social platforms have appeared to serve your interests and invented perfect ways to deal with the case: for instance, music stickers on Instagram Stories. The platform offers you a good number of nice music for free. Using the service, you do not have to bother about being somehow punished for copyright violation. 

Another essential part of a ‘working’ SM profile/ad is a text post. It frequently happens that you have come across an idea highly appealing to you and you desperately wish it was yours. Do not allow yourself to get lost in illusions and remember about relevant attribution. There are a couple of ways to do it right: 

  • Copy-paste the whole post and afterward modify or intricate it with your own ideas/thoughts/reflections in the status update section. Both your audience and a true author would have no claims. 
  • You can cut a part of the text found and quote it. Remember about tagging and linking to the very place an original post can be found. 

Keep in mind: a pure linking or embedding do not usually have anything in common with copyright law violation: you do not have to leave the original site. If the services are enabled, go ahead and use them. 

Before using a photo/video/text from the global network, focus on the following: 

  1. look for watermarks; 
  1. look for any relevant image info (owner, author, contact details, etc.); 
  1. check metadata (EXIF data); 
  1. Google reverse search. 

These are some basic moments we have picked out for you to focus on in order to avoid typical mistakes and traps regarding social media copyright law. Interested in more details on separate social platforms peculiarities? Look for more info in our next columns. 

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