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Intellectual Property Disputes and Social Media

An intellectual property dispute can happen when an individual or a party’s intellectual property is used without permission by another party. Intellectual property disputes are most commonly infringement cases and deal with copyright laws.

You may have seen this before on social media: If you’re attempting to share a video or image that’s not your own, you may receive a pop-up or message stating that you cannot share that video or song audio because another individual owns it. That alert is letting you know you’re about to share someone else’s intellectual property, also known as IP, which covers patents, copyrights, trademarks, and trade secrets. You’ll typically be given a prompt and options for how you’d like to proceed.

But what happens when you find someone else or another business using your intellectual property on social media?

Your Business and Your Intellectual Property on Social Media

In recent years, there’s been a bigger push for IP rights on social media. Even just a few years ago, almost anyone could republish or reshare information that was owned by someone else with little to no recourse. However, with the recent development of new social media platforms and technologies, it’s easier than ever to report and find users who are using pirated video, audio, imagery, and copy across the web.

There are certain actions you can preemptively take to ensure others aren’t stealing your content and sharing it online. For example, you can upload your own copyrighted content to YouTube, and their platform will automatically flag and alert you if another user attempts to share your same content. YouTube uses a system called Content ID:

“Copyright owners can use a system called Content ID to easily identify and manage their content on YouTube. Videos uploaded to YouTube are scanned against a database of files that have been submitted to us by content owners.

What options are available to copyright owners?

Copyright owners can choose different actions to take on material that matches theirs:

  • Block a whole video from being viewed

  • Monetize the video by running ads against it; sometimes sharing revenue with the uploader

  • Track the video’s viewership statistics

In addition to YouTube’s tools, there are options on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and other platforms to set up similar flags to report misuse of content before it happens.

What if I Find Someone Using My Intellectual Property Online as Their Own?

If you do find someone using your IP on social media and attempting to pass it off as their own, you can send that party or individual an injunction, file a complaint, or even file a suit. Intellectual property laws protect you in these situations, and that user can be asked to pay a penalty fee or compensation to you, remove the content, or be asked to shut down their pages or total operation. They may even be asked to do all of the above.

If you have questions about intellectual property laws and would like to speak to one of our lawyers about a civil litigation case, please contact us. Our offices are open, and we’re looking forward to hearing from you.