With Pinterest, blogs and all the other social media out there, I want credit for my photos that are reposted. How can I protect my work?
In an ideal social media world, those who use your photos will follow what Pinterest calls its short rule: “Always give credit where credit is due.” The challenge is “sharing” anything posted on social media is so easy that many people assume anything is fair game. They don’t give credit as they should.
To protect your content as much as you can, attorney Brandon Prinsen advises to be sure to include your name or some other form of identification on content such as professional photos and slide presentations. You can also mark all written content that has a copyright with the copyright symbol when you post it. Taking this step will hopefully dissuade your intellectual property recipients and third parties from infringing on your rights.
If you use a social media site such as Facebook or Pinterest and are concerned about others using your photographs, then you should first read through the site’s terms and conditions. Most social media sites’ terms and conditions contain language that says by posting images and photos on the site you are essentially granting the site host permission or a license to use the content you post or publish. These terms do not mean that you are granting the users of the site permission to use or reproduce your photos or content.
In fact, websites such as Pinterest and Facebook restrict users from “posting or using content on the sites that infringes or violates someone else's rights or otherwise violates the law.” These sites provide pages to report copyright violations.
If someone uses a photo you posted without permission they may be infringing on your intellectual property rights. If you discover another party is using your posted photos, then take the necessary steps to notify the third party responsible for the unauthorized use. If the third party refuses to remove the photos, report the violation to the site host. If the unauthorized user still does not remove the photos, then contact a lawyer to address the infringement directly with the unauthorized user.
If the other party claims the work as his or her own, Prinsen said a lawsuit might be necessary. “The standard for determining who owns the photos or content is who was the first to create or develop it and put it into commerce.”
Article by Brandon Prinsen, Partner, Johns, Flaherty & Collins, SC. For a business lawyer in La Crosse, call him at 608-784-5678.