In a world where employee tenure is shrinking and where independent workers are on the rise, organizations are struggling to find a new way of working with employees. Employees in the meantime are thinking of ways they can develop their careers while always keeping an eye on “the next best opportunity” to come their way. Read More…
Following up on my post around the 7 Principles of The Future Employee, I wanted to share another concept which is the 10 Principles of The Future Manager. When it comes to the future of work it’s not just employees that are changing, managers are also having to change the ways in which they lead […]
The one stat you need to know
“Nearly 1 in 4 workers say they don’t trust their employer and only about half believe their employer is open and upfront with them.” Read More…
When you think of the word “thought leader”, what pops to mind?
For me, it’s someone with years and years of experience. Someone who’s been practiced well before they preached. Read More…
We’ve all heard the rallying cry:
“We need to get our employees on social media” Read More…
*This wouldn’t be a proper blog post about legal “watchouts” if I didn’t include a disclaimer. The following post includes best practices, suggestions and my own interpretation of the laws. I am not an attorney – just a cautious social media marketer. Consult your brand’s legal team for specific guidelines and processes for your online communities.*
Pumping out quality content for your communities is one of the most rewarding, creative and fun activities in the life of a community manager. It’s natural, and even a best practice – to take inspiration from the things happening around you – trending topics, pop culture, breaking news, industry news and events, and even other brands.
But, there are “rules” for brands using social media that do not apply to the average citizen, media outlets and bloggers. One treacherous area for social media marketers is the use of third-party copyrights without permission.
Freedom of Speech?
For US-based businesses, this liberty doesn’t apply. Everything you say as a brand is a commercial. You wouldn’t say something, if it didn’t in some way help you meet a goal. The FTC further enforced this notion in March 2013 when it updated the .com disclosure document to apply to forms of social media.
Common Third-Party Copyrights
As a savvy marketer, you’re probably already familiar with copyrights. But, it can’t hurt to refresh your memory. Some examples of the most common third-party copyrights are:
- Images of People
- Images owned by other people & brands
- Music, Songs, Lyrics
- Books, Literary Works
- Videos, Movies
- Songs, Movies and Show Titles
- Anything that is trademarked
What is NOT a Copyright?
- Works in the public domain, which would include intellectual property whose rights are expired, such as a sonnet by Shakespeare.
- Words, names, slogans or short phrases, blank forms, works that are not original, and government works. Examples include the popular expression, “attagirl!” or a government building code.
Lastly, don’t look for the absence of the © symbol as a license to use the content – works do not have to have © to be copyrighted.
What’s Copyright Infringement Exactly?
Copying or displaying copyrighted material without owner’s permission – Ex: sharing a copyrighted photo. Think of it as the business version of plagiarism.
It also includes:
- the knowledge of infringement
- the distribution of a product used to infringe
Who’s At Risk?
- The brand uploading the material
- In some cases, those who facilitate the upload/download
- Agencies or vendors who provide the material
- Those that have the ability to supervise direct infringement and receives direct financial interest from infringement
The key takeaway: Any time a brand uses another’s copyrights for their own marketing purposes, they are at risk for copyright infringement. Take for example, this meme of Dos Equis’ The Most Interesting Man in the World.
Had a brand used this meme in a Facebook post without permission from the copyright owner, that brand could be penalized. Copyright violations often carry hefty fines, so, ironically, the subject of copyrights isn’t at all an irrelevant legal concept.
Yet, it’s easy to find real examples from brands, which are likely all too familiar with copyrights themselves, that use a third-party’s copyrighted material in their social media channels. Take Denny’s use of this popular “Imminent Ned” meme from Game of Thrones.
Technically, Denny’s should obtain permission from the copyright holder before using this image. Which they very well may have done.
Having a basic understanding of copyrights can keep you out of hot water. The world of copyrights is complicated and varies by state and country. But, having a basic understanding of third-party copyrights creates boundaries in which to operate safely. As a result, your content creation process may become more deliberate or arduous, but you now have guardrails to help you play within the (legal) lines.
Stay safe out there!
Other Helpful Resources:
Understanding Image Copyright, Social Media Today
Today is “Question of the Week” day here at Duct Tape Marketing. I’ll tackle a specific question I received via readers or in places where I’m speaking. Submit your question here and if we use it we’ll highlight you and send you a signed copy of Duct Tape Marketing.
It wasn’t that long ago that our digital behavior and presence was something completely strange and unwelcomed by employers. Organizations used to lock access to the Internet, then to social media and any other kind of possible distraction. The Internet police state was patrolling in full force. Then smartphones came along and companies lost complete control over their employees Internet behavior. In addition to that our presence on the Internet became a kind of a reference point. Recruiters wanted to know more, to understand more about their future choices- like a game where everybody tries to find out more about firms but also firms try to learn about people and scout professionals by following or identifying who is what, says what, does what.
Are you ready to connect your connected workforce?
With all of the discussions around social media and how it improves the opportunity to engage customers and build more meaningful relationships, we tend to lose sight of another important group…employees. As technology impacts behavior and connects customers and businesses in new ways, the same is true for employees.