in Misc

Does Copyright Exist On Social Media

Social media platforms are kind of an enigma when it comes to copyrights. Many people still wonder if they have the power to use images or content that doesn’t belong to them on these platforms. There are cases where you could take it down, while in other cases you can’t, so take a look below at some important information regarding this topic.

What is Copyright?

When someone creates something, they own this piece of content, whether it’s a picture, song, video, or anything, literary. It’s an exclusive legal right that is given to the person who originally created that piece of content to dictate what should or should not happen to it. Usually, it’s given for a certain amount of years and then it gets expired, so it’s a limited assignable right and does not last forever. It’s made to protect the owner’s right of owning their original idea, so no one should steal it or use it without permission. For example, if you created an image or captured it, then you could have it protected under copyright laws, and people would need your permission to use it. It can also be bought if you reached a satisfying agreement.

How Copyrights Work on Social Media

It should be known that social media platforms you use don’t own what’s posted on them because copyrights are still retained by the original content creator. However, most platforms and the extra add-ons have a term in their agreement that states that you can post or use whatever you like on there, but fully agree that it will be reused, and this includes the content seen by the extensions or Facebook profile view notification add-ons that show who visited your page. You basically sign an agreement that gives that platform or extension a sort of license to use your profile and its content. You are giving them permission/license without getting paid. This is what most people don’t like, but unfortunately, there is nothing to do about it since we agree upon this when we sign up to the site. We usually skip reading that term and do not notice it.

The Owner’s Right

Regarding the content itself, if it’s not yours and you just took it without permission and posted it on any page that you have, then the owner has the right to get it taken down. They can contact the platform themselves whether it’s Facebook or Twitter and provide legal proof of the copyright and who owns this piece of content, and you will be forced to take it down or get punished with a possible ban. In most cases, they take it down themselves and give the person who used it without permission a warning if it’s their first offense.

What You Should Do

If you find something you like and would love to use it, then you should contact the owner of that piece of content and ask if you could use it with their permission. Usually, some creators would agree if you give them proper credit and a mention stating that they are the ones who created it, or you could come up with some sort of deal where you could pay for using it. Sometimes it’s a recurring payment because using it might be for a limited time, or it’s a one-time payment and you could use it forever.

What Most Platforms Do With Your Content

Each platform has its own rules, but if we are talking about Facebook, then your content is fair game for them to reuse if they want to do so. Pinterest has the same term; when you sign up and log in, whatever you post can be used, re-arranged, or modified to provide services to you and other people. Think of it as a non-exclusive and royalty-free license given to them to use your content however they like. Luckily, you could always leave a platform if you don’t agree and delete your account, which will result in having everything you posted there deleted for good. In other words, you don’t have to worry about them using your content if you aren’t comfortable with that.

Copyright infringement is a very serious offense, so you need to understand that it’s not worth the hassle if you decided to use content that may be taken down later in the future. Just use simple and royalty-free content or get permission from the owner. Otherwise, you can always buy the actual imagery or video if you reached a mutual agreement with the author. And keep in mind that on certain social media platforms, the content can be reused whenever the platform owners want.



Bogdan is the founder of Top Design Magazine. You can find him in Bucharest-Romania so next time you want to drink a beer there and talk about web and stuff, give him a message.