Running a business can be tough. Intellectual property rights can help protect your business should someone try and pose a dispute over a post. Here are suggestions on how to protect your business when posting on social media, including Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.
A good way to think about copyright is that if you didn’t create the content on your business social media account, then you might not be able to post the work on the account without permission from the original owner. This may not apply to content that you obtain in the public domain. Copyright includes everything from using images that are not yours, copying and pasting written content that is not yours, and using music in a video for your company’s YouTube channel or other video postings. In most cases, the law will side with the original owner, not your business.
Any business, no matter how large or small, needs to understand copyright laws when it comes to company social media accounts. Copyright allows some use of copyrighted material for educational purposes, but there are legal standards that need to be applied which are case specific. Your business should monitor its use of copyrighted material on social media or you may risk exposing the business to liability.
Federal trademark registrations should be used to protect the branding that makes your business unique. Examples of branding that should be protected are your business name, product names, logos, slogans, program names, and designs. Your trademark should be distinctive to allow it to communicate to consumers that the associated products originate from your business. As a business, you should protect yourself against others using your branding, name, and/or image on social media by registering your trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Beware that if you don’t register your trademark or don’t register it properly, your business may not have enforceable rights to use in a courtroom against competitors that are stealing your customers and sales. The best thing to do with your company’s branding is to contact an attorney to assist in registering your trademark as soon as you determine that you wish to use the branding. It can be very advantageous to file federal trademark applications even if you are not ready to start using your brand. To prevent your trademarked branding from being diluted it is critical to monitor social media for infringement of your trademark registrations. Failure to do so can result in your registrations, and all associated rights, being lost. The attorneys at Garcia-Zamor offer an exclusive trademark monitoring and enforcement program, TRADEGUARD ®. This unique product offering allows small businesses to more effectively and affordably enforce their federal trademark rights than priorly possible.
Protecting your business
The best way to protect the business intellectual property is to post it judiciously. Remember that by posting on social media you are probably giving the site permission to show it and others to view it. When in doubt, it is suggested that you contact the patent, trademark, and copyright attorneys at Garcia-Zamor.
Social Media Policies regarding copyright
Twitter is a site where you can post tweets about the services your business offers, or about your company. It is a snapshot of the business in 280 characters. However, when you post a tweet, the terms of service say you are offering twitter the ability to make tweets available to all users or the site or app. This could include competition and a business who has a similar style to yours.
The copyright of what you post on this site is similar to Twitter. You grant Facebook a royalty-free worldwide license, that anyone can see the post you make unless you have various settings on. Should your company delete the Facebook account, you will lose all the content that has been posted unless you saved everything.
Pinterest is a site where users can share photos, and other users can save the images to a board they assign. The content on this site, such as photos, can be uploaded from other websites across the internet. The copyright on this site is like the ones that can be found on Twitter and Facebook. In the Pinterest Copyright statement, there is a link where you can take a copyright issue to Pinterest if you feel someone has violated your copyright.
Social media is still fairly recent, but it’s become essential to our society and to business especially. Want to learn more about protecting your intellectual property on social media? Contact Garcia-Zamor today for more information.