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6 creative ways to get employees more involved with social

September 2nd, 2014

We’ve all heard the rallying cry:

“We need to get our employees on social media” Read More…

What Community Managers Need to Know About Copyrights

November 25th, 2013

*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.

Dos Equis Meme

Source: Troll.me

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.

Game of Thrones Dennys Post

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

5 legal issues to consider when planning a sweepstakes

Updated FTC guidelines – What It Means for Marketers

Updated FTC Guidelines Impact on Influencer Marketing

Can You tweet That? Social Media and the Law

Pinterest Copyright Problem and How it May Hurt Brands

Comments

What Are the Best Tools for Note Taking at Meetings and Conferences?

October 28th, 2013

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.
Read More…

Are Employers Ready for the Connected Generation?

September 30th, 2013

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.
Read More…

The Disconnect Between Aging Management and the Younger Workforce

September 3rd, 2013

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.
Read More…

Managers as Mentors, Third Edition by Chip R. Bell & Marshall Goldsmith – Book Review

August 12th, 2013

“What is mentoring? At its most basic level, it is simply the act of helping another learn. However, the relationship between helper and helpee changes significantly when performed as a learning partnership rather than the traditional teaching “parentship (master teaches apprentice)”, write senior partner with the Chip Bell Group, Chip R. Bell; and internationally recognized thought leader Marshall Goldsmith, in the completely revised third edition of their very practical and engaged partnership based book Managers as Mentors: Building Partnerships for Learning, Third Edition. The authors describe a fresh approach to the concept of the relationship between the mentor and the protege that emphasizes the relationship as a mutually beneficial partnership in place of the traditional teacher and pupil dynamic.
Read More…

FIR Interview: Tansley Stearns and Patrick Rooney on employee social media training

July 22nd, 2013

While between 30 and 42 percent of companies (depending on which research you cite) still block employee access to social media, research increasingly suggests that training employees is more effective than trying to stop them engaging.
Read More…

7 Critical Success Factors for Managing a Virtual Team

July 8th, 2013

Can you believe in this day and age that there are plenty of small business owners out there who resist hiring virtual staff?

Seems kind of silly to me. It’s a great way to miss an opportunity to get the absolute best person for a job.

Now let me take a quick minute and clarify that I’m not talking about businesses that need employees to be face-to-face with customers like retail businesses or personal businesses such as hair salons. I get that it would be pretty tough to have virtual employees in those businesses. :-D

Read More…