When I wrote about Terms of Service basics, I noted that the rules that apply to Pinterest and other social sharing sites apply to Facebook as well.
We have big problems, HUGE problems, on Facebook Pages. From blogs to businesses (and many blogs are businesses), the rampant copyright infringement is, well, it’s just unacceptable. It can cost you your Facebook page. And it can cost others their livelihoods. Neither are a good thing.
Since I started If Emily Posted, people email me with questions all the time. I love these conversations because it tells me what I truly believe: most people want to be doing what is right, but many don’t understand what they need to do and why.
So, here are some Facebook Page Basics everyone with a Page should be following:
FACT: From your cover photo to your content, anything you upload you must either own the copyright to or have permission to upload. Facebook makes this very clear:
Before sharing content on Facebook, please be sure you have the right to do so. (via Facebook TOS)
FACT: In uploading ANY content you take the legal responsibility for it. And if others share, it could come back to you because you uploaded it and gave them the permission in the first place.
For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content)… you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it. (via Facebook TOS)
FACT: Your Facebook Page can be removed for copyright infringement.
Facebook respects the intellectual property rights of others and is committed to helping third parties protect their rights… When we receive a valid notice of IP infringement, we promptly remove or disable access to the allegedly infringing content. We also terminate the accounts of repeat infringers in appropriate circumstances. (via Facebook TOS)
I just wrote about Burberry facing a suit for using an image on their Page that wasn’t theirs. But I hear about this from bloggers a lot. I’m hearing it more often than I wish I did. And most bloggers are learning it from fellow bloggers and readers who recognize their work.
FACT: You need to do your homework when finding content to share. From Pinterest to Google Images, you can’t simply take images you find online and upload them to your Page. That’s breaking their Terms along with Facebook’s.
Before reusing content that you’ve found, you should verify that its license is legitimate and check the exact terms of reuse stated in the license. (via Google Images TOS)
Except for User Content, the Service itself, all content and other subject matter included on or within the Service, and all Intellectual Property Rights in or related to the Service or any such content or other subject matter (“Pinterest Content”) are the property of Pinterest and its licensors… you agree not to use, modify, reproduce, distribute, sell, license, or otherwise exploit the Pinterest Content without our permission. (via Pinterest TOS)
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE CONTENT THAT ISN’T YOURS ON YOUR PAGE?
Take it down. I know, it isn’t what you want to hear, but unless you truly think you can fight it with under fair use and want to risk losing your Facebook Page, your followers, and face legitimate copyright infringement complaints from those you’ve taken content from, hit delete. Fair use is generally misunderstood (I have a piece on Fair Use 101 up on Friday, I now wish I’d done them the other way around…sorry). There are few cases where I see it properly used in social media sharing situations. Be very, very careful.
If someone comes to you and says you have their copyrighted content on your site, please do the following:
1. Take it down, and let them know you have. We all make mistakes. What is important is that we do something about them.
2. If you had been given the impression elsewhere it was public domain, let the person know where you got access to their content so they can pursue that.
Copyright gives all content creators the priceless ability to control how their work is used. To say that placing something on the internet means someone should expect their work to be misused or that if it’s online it is public domain is wrong. We must respect the many ways people share their work online. Assume everything is under copyright unless you know otherwise. The © symbol isn’t necessary – it’s simply a reminder.
WHAT ARE THE ALTERNATIVES?
UPLOADING vs LINKING: If you choose to link to something, it creates a thumbnail image. Links take the reader to the original source. Again, do your homework and make sure you’re linking to an original source. If you like something on Pinterest, click through to the source and share that link, not Pinterest.
ORIGINAL CONTENT: From sharing old posts that your FB followers may not have ever seen to Instagrams to simply asking questions and creating conversation, you can make your Facebook Page a communal space without the risk of content theft or copyright infringement.
Let your professionalism and respect for the blog community shine on your Page. It’s a smaller web than you think – better to err on the side of caution than lose readers who recognize another blogger’s work on your site.
FACT: Facebook has ways to help you have your content removed from someone’s Page, here.
ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVE
I prefer to talk about the fabulous things online rather than give much attention to the less than fabulous. That said, I am thrilled to say that this happened just after I’d written a piece that mentioned some Instagram third parties use Pin It buttons breaking copyright and the IG TOS:
It just proves my point that many people want to do the right thing. Mistakes happen. A big thanks to Copygr.am for being so responsive and caring about Instagram users. I only wish they’d develop a site widget! (Hint, hint…)
ASKING THE STUPID QUESTIONS SO YOU DON’T HAVE TO: #BlogHer12
There are no stupid questions. What is stupid is to not ask and miss an opportunity or decide ignorance is bliss end up getting hurt.
When I first saw someone mention that people should be careful about misusing the #BlogHer12 hashtag, I quickly took it out of my twitter profile. I’m speaking at the conference, but was I misusing the hashtag by mentioning it? I contacted and asked if it was OK to use it in my profile and they were fine were fine with it. They want people who are going to the conference to talk about it and share.
I asked. They answered. Super easy. Nothing stupid.
But it did get me thinking: what is the right way to use a hashtag that represents a company that’s not your own?
Let’s use BlogHer as an example because, well, it’s a perfect one. Conference season is upon us and people will now use that hashtag for what a hashtag is truly for:
the missing link until a sarcasm font can be found a search tool. I think hashtags, like this one, are about gathering community. If you’re using it in all of your individuals tweets, even if unrelated to the conference, I think it creates a kind of white noise, static that clogs the twitter machine and sort of nullifies the reason for it to begin with.
Also consider how you use hashtags if your tweet has commercial purposes. In the case of a social media conference, people are looking for sponsors and to sell products to attendees – in the past, I’ve used event hashtags for TYPE A branding, but I try not to take advantage of a hashtag that represents a another company or event. A little goes a long way.
Think of the 80/20 rule – use the hashtag as part of the twitter cocktail party. And have fun!