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Social media and digital intellectual property

Dealing with copyright infringements that arise from social media can be difficult, whether you are being accused of an infringement or having your own copyright infringed.

Social media and digital intellectual property issues?  We can help

Dealing with copyright infringements that arise from social media and other online activity can be difficult, whether you are being accused of an infringement or having your own copyright infringed.

The law is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the digital world, including social media such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Contact First4Lawyers for guidance on how best to protect your intellectual property rights.

What is social media?

Social media has changed the way we publish our work and run our businesses. The terms and conditions of the social media websites we use determine our legal relationship with those sites, which is important to understand so you can protect your work.

For example, any content you publish on social media is protected by copyright. If you are publishing as an individual, then the copyright belongs to you. If you are publishing on social media on behalf of a company or organisation, then the owner of the copyright will be determined by the terms of your employment or any agreement you have with that organisation.

However, once you publish your work on social media, it becomes subject to the terms and conditions of the sites you have published it on. This may mean that your work will be used by others in accordance with those terms.

It might be that social media websites require you to agree to terms and conditions that state that you own the rights to any content that you upload.

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My copyright is being infringed on social media – what should I do?

The responsibility for any unlawful content published on social media ultimately rests with the person who published that content.

If your work has been uploaded by someone else without your permission, or if it has been modified, altered, or misrepresented by a third party, you can pursue the infringement via the website’s copyright complaints procedure in order to have a takedown notice issued to the infringing party.

This can be a difficult process, given that large social media websites deal with so many requests, but we can advise you on the best ways to go about this.

If you are successful in having the infringing content removed from social media, but you wish to take action against the third party that published it, then you can either contact them directly to negotiate an agreement, or you can consider taking legal action against them through the courts with the help of a solicitor.

If the site refuses to remove the infringing content, you may also be able to take legal action against it.

I am being accused of copyright infringement on social media – what should I do?

The terms of most social networking and media sharing websites state you are responsible for any claims brought against that site relating to content you have published.

These are known as indemnity provisions, and it is worth reading the terms and conditions of the site in question in the event of a claim being made against you.

If a claim is made against a website regarding content that you published, the indemnity provisions may make you liable for any legal costs – even if no copyright infringement is eventually proven to have occurred.

First4Lawyers can help find the solution

To give yourself the best possible defence against claims of new media copyright infringement made against you, or to take up a case yourself, speak to us and our legal advisors will provide initial guidance free of charge. If you wish to instruct one of our solicitors, we will put you in touch with an intellectual property solicitor.

Need a hand? First4Lawyers will...

  • Review your legal requirements for free
  • Recommend the most appropriate action based on your personal needs
  • Assign you a pre-vetted solicitor from our expert panel

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