Social Media: Can I use that Image?

Guest post by Eric Meerstra:

When using Social Media, the issue of copyright is very important. You don’t want to post copyrighted material and get into trouble, or have other people steal your copyrighted material that you posted. You need to know what content you are allowed to use, where you are allowed to use it, and what the social media and other users of that social media are allowed to do with your work. And before you chase down anyone using any of your work, you need to consider the ‘Fair Use’ defense.

What is copyright?

It is a legal concept that grants the creator of an original work these rights to its use.

  • Reproduce
  • Display in public
  • Create derivatives based on original work
  • Distribute, sell, and rent

Social Media Sites + Copyright

Social media sites all have you agree to their terms of service. They all include a section about how they deal with copyrighted material. They need to define this because they would be breaking the copyright law by displaying things posted to the site, without permission to display it. This only gives them permission to use it on their own site; they do not gain the copyright, only certain specific rights. From the point of view as a user of the social media, you do not get permission to use any copyrighted material you find on social media. It is still copyrighted.

Keywords to look for in Social Media terms of services are:

Non-exclusive; Transferrable; Sub-licensable; Royalty-free; Worldwide License

Follow this link to view an article about Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram terms of Service about copyright

Users + Copyright

There are 4 ways to post copyrighted material to Social Media as a user.

  • Get the creator’s permission and credit him properly
  • Purchase works or content so it belongs to you
  • Create your own Copyrighted Content
  • Use works/content without the owners permission using the Fair use law(next)

Social Media Users + Fair Use

Fair use is doctrine that permits limited use of copyrighted material for specific reasons without acquiring permission from the rights holders.

Specific reasons include:

Teaching / Scholarship/ Private study / Research
Criticism / Satire / Parody
Canadian Copyright Law to view the other reasons

4 Questions to find out if Fair Use applies to you

Do you understand Fair Use?
-If not, don’Copyright_crystal_bluet try to use it.
Why are you using the content?
-Use only for reasons in Canadian Copyright Law
How much of the content are you using?
-Does it fit the “limited” criteria of fair use?
Are you willing to have your content contested?
-Fair use could lead to legal battles if people feel you are not following it properly

Links to more information: