Copyright laws protect original works published on social media

The rise of social media has made it easier than ever for talented artists and creators to develop a fanbase and connect with those who might enjoy what they produce. There are successful musicians, novelists, models and actors who started their careers online, only to eventually gain mainstream success.

Social media can easily make or break aspiring creative professionals. Unfortunately, when you share creative works online, you incur the risk that someone else will use or share your original composition, work of art or writing. The better you understand copyright protection, the easier it will be for you to protect your creative, original works while also distributing them online for easier access.

Social media can help or hurt creators

Some agencies and companies won't even consider signing or hiring a creative professional without an existing platform that allows them to reach thousands of people potentially interested in their offerings, whatever that may be. The bigger your list of followers, the more leverage you have to monetize your creative works and achieve success.

As a creative professional or aspiring artist, you likely want to leverage your presence on different social media platforms for your future career success.

Carefully curating your online presence and staying in contact with those who want to follow your creations can help you reach more people, but the wrong social media moves can alienate customers or leave your creative works vulnerable. There's also the potential of people sharing your work without crediting you, which can dilute your brand.

You don't actually need to file for a copyright

The single most common misconception among content creators is the idea that they have to file paperwork for copyright protection. It is true that there is a copyright registry that makes it easier for you to enforce a copyright, particularly in cases where multiple people have an interest in the same phrase or similar works of art. However, you don't need a formal copyright to protect your content.

Although a formal copyright can certainly help in legal proceedings, it is not necessary to protect the work of art you create. The act of publishing original content, whether you put it on your own website or upload it to a social media platform such as YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, extends immediate protections to you and your original work. While enforcing that copyright may not always be easy, the protections exist if you choose to invoke them.

There's a difference between sharing and violating your copyright

Another common misconception among new content creators is the idea that you have to waive copyright protections if you want to make your content shareable by others. Some people may intentionally classify images or other works as public domain in the hope of promoting social sharing.

However, people can and do digitally share copyrighted works on their social media feed and elsewhere without violating someone's copyright. Choosing to make a work of art public domain is always an option, but if you hope to profit from the work in the future, that may not be the best approach.

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