It seems innocent enough. Taking that meme or picture you found on the web and sharing it on your Business’ Facebook page, right? I mean, who can be expected to generate fresh original content every day, multiple times a day? Grabbing a cute pic from Pinterest and posting it to your business’s Facebook page is something “everybody does”.
But this process can get you into trouble. Stock photography brokers are crawling the web, and finding their photographer’s images being used without permission and pursuing the matters with cease and desist letters and some pretty steep fines. Meron Bareket does an excellent job of explaining the problem in his article, “Are Getting Images Suing You For Copyright Infringement Over Photos For Blog?”
I’m no lawyer, so please don’t construe this article as legal advice. Consult much smarter people if you’ve recently received one of these letters. For a very intelligent explanation of copyright and how it applies to social media, check out this article by Social Media Examiner and this comprehensive legal guide for professional and amateur photographers in the US and the UK.
In the mean time, I’ve created this tutorial that will teach you how you can continue to use third party content for your social media in a way that shouldn’t land you in hot water. The trick is to always use the built in share features on websites. Never save an image to your own machine and then upload it to your website, blog or social media. Don’t even take a screen shot of the image.
By using the built in share features wherever the original content comes from, you’re directing users back to the original source of the content. That’s how the web is built, on sharing and links and giving acknowledgement and backlinks for content that you wish to “borrow.”