Citizen journalism via social media is a major phenomena throughout New York. Everyone using social media makes comments of some fashion from time to time and never know when they may be infringing on terms and phrases that are protected by copyright law. One of the most interesting aspects of copyright law and social media is that anytime anyone posts a comment that is not protected, they immediately have ownership of the statement, including specific terminology. Everyone who posts becomes a publisher when this is the standard, and many of those who use material gleaned from other users could well be violating terms of ownership. While sharing information is the point for some social media citizen journalists, the truth is that this is not acceptable to others.
Avoid copyright violations
Not only do individuals have concerns regarding posting content owned by others, there are many internet businesses that rely on digital communication to generate profits. At times, that includes using material that is copyright protected. All businesses should have a policy of checking the material for copyright infringement before actually completing a post, and in particular when the post includes a video or photograph. Copyrights apply to more than written ideas, and videos are the most commonly viewed posts online.
Protecting your intellectual property
More importantly for many operations using posted material online, it is important for copyright holders to protect their own intellectual property. This is especially true for businesses using trademarks as advertising and identification marketing, as it is very easy for copycat competitors to “borrow” ideas for company symbolism in marketing their competing versions of products or services. It is always vital for companies to have an intellectual property attorney who is experienced in copyright law representing the company when infringement is occurring. Cease and desist letters are not always effective, and litigation may be necessary in egregious social media copyright violations.