Copyright Infringement Involving Social Media
When a company uses your written words, photographs, or images on social media without permission, you may have an action for copyright infringement.
Federal copyright laws protect individuals who create original content. Historically, the US Copyright Act applies to people like photographers, authors, playwrights, artists, and writers and the materials they produce. Their copyrights exist the moment their work is made. There is no need to register a copyright, although it can be beneficial for collecting damages in the event of a violation.
With the rise of internet usage, copyright issues have become more difficult. When someone posts on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, you do not surrender your rights to your images and words.
If you think someone has violated your copyright, contact Liebowitz Law Firm for help. We can determine whether someone owes you money for using your work without your permission.
You Retain Ownership of Your Work
Unless you grant copyright ownership to someone else, in writing, you own your work. No one may use it without a license. You determine the terms of that license agreement. For example:
- You can grant permission for unlimited use
- You can limit the way your work is used
- You can limit the length of time something may be used
- You can charge a flat fee
- You can grant a license for free
When You Post on Social Media, You Are Granting a License
When your posts are uploaded to social media sites, you retain ownership over them. Whether you take photographs, record music, or write poetry, if you put your copyrighted materials “out there” you do not lose all control.
You do, however, grant a license to the website. The terms and conditions vary from site to site, but by posting, you agree to those terms. For example, Twitter’s terms and conditions state that by using Twitter, you are giving them a license to make your Tweets available to other users. Usually, you are permitting the sites to use your work in specific ways. However, you still own the rights to the intellectual property.
Ways in Which Someone Can Violate Your Copyright
How do online users violate copyright laws? If you are a photographer, writer or musician and someone uses your work without your permission, it may be copyright infringement. If you post your work to social media, or on another web platform, it does not mean that anyone can “take it” and use it without receiving permission. When someone takes your original material and posts it on social media, their own website, or uses it in a blog post, it may be copyright infringement. Consider the following scenarios that may support a claim:
- A blogger downloads one of your images to accompany a blog without your permission
- A writer uses your poem in one of her articles without permission, or credit
- A website designer uses your photographs to create sites without your consent
- Your original photographs are posted on social media by someone without a license
- A musician uses a sample of your original music from your website to create a new song without your permission
Keeping track of your images and work may be hard. By placing material on the internet, there is always a chance that someone will use it for their benefit and without paying you.
Hold People Accountable for Copyright Violations
If you are a professional blogger or photographer, you deserve to receive compensation for your work. You, like most people, work hard. It takes skill, patience, and many hours to create material that is creative and original. Why should anyone be able to use your work product without your permission? Why do people think that you don’t deserve to get paid for your efforts?
The original creator of the work is the only person who can claim that an individual or business has violated copyright law. It is up to you to enforce your right and ensure that no one makes use of your work unless you specifically allow it. Hiring an experienced copyright lawyer can help you determine whether someone has infringed upon your rights. Your lawyer can draft a cease and desist letter, ask that materials be removed from a site and file a lawsuit to recover monetary compensation. If your copyright is registered with the US Copyright Office, you may be eligible to collect up to $150,000 for a copyright violation.
Contact Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC When Someone Violates Your Copyright
At Liebowitz Law Firm, PLLC, we care about the creative community. We understand the time and dedication it takes to create original work, and we take pride in protecting the rights of photographers, writers, and creative artists across the globe. You own your work-it is your property, and you determine who may use it and under what terms.
When your work is used without permission, consider whether you have a claim of copyright infringement. We work on a contingency fee basis meaning we don’t get paid unless and until you do. Call Liebowitz Law Firm and let us evaluate your case. Call our copyright lawyers today at (800) 778-1660.