Laws And Regulations For Social Media
Social media is the ideal platform for brands to inform and engage their customers in real time. With the ability to actively listen, engage and respond to customers, social media has become the main channel for customer participation. And when anyone with a Wi-Fi connection can be an editor of all kinds, brands should now always be active.
The pressure to be the “first” and the demand to produce content continuously offer many opportunities to violate the intellectual property rights of others. If social media are part of your business strategy, you must comply with the laws and regulations of social media. Here are some tips to reduce common instances of exposure to trademarks and copyrights. Because who has time to face a trial?
Let’s start by understanding the basics.
The Internet may resemble the Wild West: photos and videos go viral overnight. However, it is essential to keep in mind that trademark and copyright laws are the same for social media and traditional marketing. Because brands use social media to interact with their customers, content is considered “commercial” and brands cannot defend themselves against the infringement or misappropriation of the intellectual property of others.
And guess what? The employer’s responsibility exists. If you have an apprentice posted on your official account, you are considered a spokesperson for the company and the employer, not the individual, is responsible. Rest assured that, with proper training, planning and supervision, responsibility for the violation of social media can be minimized.
For trademark and copyright infringement, a rights holder can submit a removal request on the social media platform (e.g. Twitter, YouTube) to remove the infringing publication.
Evaluate the presence and social procedures of your company.
It’s time to look closely at your company’s online presence. Completing an assessment will help you mitigate the risks and understand your company’s exposure. Ask questions like:
- What social media platforms does the company use (for example, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, Periscope, etc.)?
- What types of media are used on each platform (for example, photos, text, videos, music, etc.)?
- Who has access to the account and publishing rights?
- What are the review process and the publication procedure of the company?
- Train your team
- From the marketing manager to the intern, everyone who has access to corporate social media accounts should receive training on the basic principles of intellectual property law. They must understand the laws and regulations of social networks. Whether you have training throughout the company or a reference guide, your team must take these principles into account when publishing (or reallocating) on behalf of the company. Quarles and Brady, LLP Law Firm recommends examining each position for the following:
Are the words, phrases and/or models offered similar to those of other people’s Trademarks?
Do the photos contain products of other people’s trademarks? In this case, remove or tarnish the marks.
- Learn about the origin of works of art, music, photos, videos, etc.
- Get permission to use a job on a social network? Verify that all intended uses (especially all off-platform uses) have been disclosed to the rights holder.
- Avoid posts that encourage subscribers to violate (for example, a tweet that asks subscribers to download their version of the famous pop star song).
- For licensed work, confirm that the license covers the intended use (for example, a license may cover the music played in an event but does not allow videos of the event on YouTube).
Plan your publications (as much as possible). Social media claims to be just that, social. The accounts with the greatest engagement seem effortless and spontaneous. But anyone who has worked in marketing knows that much of the planning goes into social media campaigns. While it is important to have an active pulse in current conversations, this culture of “reactive advertising” can force the balance between legal and marketing.
However, it is possible to maintain the appearance of spontaneity while giving the legal team the opportunity to pre-approve publications. Content calendars are the norm in traditional marketing and should be the same as in social media marketing. Look forward to predictable holidays and events and approve the content in advance. This gives time to buy, license or create content to avoid infringing on the rights of others. Remember to watch for these messages as the time approaches. Many social accounts have been insensitive to the live broadcast of pre-programmed content after a crisis.
Process. Process. Process. Having an established plan helps reduce the liability of social media. Consider appointing a team member to monitor the company’s social media accounts and provide a real-time review of when there is a real need for live publishing. To avoid accidental offensive and embarrassing posting to a company account, consider restricting employees from posting to the company and to individual accounts from the same device. Also, have a crisis plan for nonsense on social networks, a charge of infraction or a poster of dishonest employees.