Social media is an unchecked wild fire that burns throughout society. Whether the motivation is pure entertainment, the ability to connect and interact, or perhaps the promise of fame and fortune, children and adults flock to the various social media outlets and pour content in. This content, whether created by the user or obtained from another source, is subject to copyright law and may touch on other property rights such as trademark, publicity or privacy rights. In addition, other regulations apply to govern posting of sponsored content. Finally, end-user agreements that are given about as much attention as the wrapper on a candy bar often govern disputes over these rights. These agreements also address the consequences for improper or unlawful conduct and the rights of the social media site to make additional use of posted content, user interactions and data obtained therefrom. Apart from the individual user, corporate users must consider the implications of employee-posted content, sponsored content, third-party posts or interactions with their social media, and infringement of intellectual property rights.
The following series of posts will look at the current legal landscape on popular social media sites to better understand the rights and ramifications relating to their use. This post starts with a comparison of intellectual property provisions in Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and Instagram. Additional posts will look at the user agreements to see what rights users have when they post material, and what rights the social media sites obtain in posted content. Continue Reading