Difference Between Fair Use and Infringement of Posting Copyrighted Material on Social Media

Social media popularity has increased the sharing of posted content. Users can share their personal or copyrighted content on social media platform.

Good visual content like great images, pictures, and really incredible content gets shared a lot and is viewed by thousands. You can find such contents easily around the internet but finding out who actually owns it becomes complicated.

Intellectual property rights are designed to protect the creator’s original work like videos, photographs, and blog posts. Generally, the person creating a unique masterpiece owns the copyright to this work.

Copyrighters have lots of exclusive rights like rights to distribute, reproduce, and publicly exhibit their creativities. Sharing another copyrighter’s unique work on social media sites suggests several of these elite rights. You can use it within fair use realm or it will be regarded as infringement unless approval is got from the copyrighter.

Fair use completely protects copyright infringement but there are certain ground rules.

Four factors help court to determine if ‘fair use’ defense can be applied –

Purpose & nature of use

Fair use can easily be established, when the copyrighted content is ‘transformative’. It means something new is added with a purpose. For example, the copyrighted images in the form of thumbnails are considered as transformative because it serves a totally different function. The content gets posted, on social channels for entertainment and aesthetic value.

Nature of work

When the copied creative work includes information or function then court finds it tough to establish fair use. Courts can easily protect IP rights, which are not published, not printed, and confidential. On the other hand, on social media channels content is posted and reposted on a large scale. Therefore, the nature of work will decide, if fair use factor is applicable or not.

Importance of portion copied

Increase in the amount of copyrighted decreases the possibility of fair use factor. Court evaluates the nature of copying like was the core or fundamental section copied.

Effect of use

If the copyrighted work interferes in original works marketability then fair use is hard to establish. Social media channels can increase or decrease the copyrighted material’s marketability. In addition, it can possibly help the copyrighter in increasing visibility and demand.

IP protection plan for social media

Intellectual property and social media needs to be handled cautiously. Businesses using social media need to play safe and not post other people content directly.

Tips to avoid social media copyright infringement

  • Find original source, get approval, and then share it on social media.
  • To find the owner right-click to save image and link to original source.
  • Read the social media channel terms to find out how they relate to content & ownership. Could you be held responsible for sharing copyrighted material?
  • Avoid using watermarked images because the water mark clearly shouts image used is not bought legally.
  • If you buy stock photos or music then read the terms of usage on their site to share without concern.

When in doubt avoid using the content and take time to seek out something or create one to avoid risk of copyright infringement.

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