As social media is becoming more and more important, the issue of ownership, which was earlier only hazy in our minds is coming into the picture a lot more clearly. It is important that we do not take this issue too lightly and understand how to define other people’s property in the domain of social media.

Here are some tips suggested by matt singley in his article on ragan.com which are of use.

f006ab895a79f5941. If you didn’t write, record, photograph or design it, it’s not yours. Sometimes the most difficult truths to adhere to are those that are the most obvious.  I don’t think there is much more that I need to say on this point…if you didn’t create it, then you need to give proper recognition.

2. If you’re going to quote a source, use small pieces. The Copyright Act says that “fair use…for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” 

3. Get to know Creative Commons. I have a disclaimer on the right side of my blog that says “Some Rights Reserved” with a brief explanation and links to what it all means. In other words, I am giving blanket permission to anybody and everybody to use material that I write, with some restrictions. I ask that they do not alter what I write, and I ask that they give credit to me. Other than that, have at it…with my site.

4.. When in doubt, skip it. Honestly, this is the best advice I can give. If you want to use some material but aren’t sure whether it’s OK for whatever reason (the site’s terms are unclear, you can’t contact the owner, etc.) then it’s just not worth it. Posting someone’s photo or thought may seem innocent enough, and the reality is you probably won’t get caught unless you have a really popular site.

But in this day and age of sue-first-ask-questions-later (really interesting story, by the way; click through if you have time) only one thing is certain: people are lawsuit happy, and in the end only the attorneys are going to win.

Advertisements