If ‘fair use’ laws relating to social media content allow others to reproduce that content with only slight modification, based on the agreements users tick when they sign up, it’s almost inevitable that people’s is going be used by others to make a profit, regardless of whether they grant permission or not. Thus, it’s very possible that our laws need updating to keep in-step with the rapid evolution of our communications landscape – but given the length of time it takes to put such legal updates into effect and the ever-increasing rate of change, is keeping in-step even possible?
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Yesterday I received an email from someone asking for permission to use a photograph I had taken and used on coffeeni.com. It was a simple image of a beer can but nice to be asked first eh? Of course… and, I don’t think it’s being sold on for $100,000!
Using original content online is something that I have to challenge often with my work. The grey areas surrounding what is now acceptable have left many people unclear on what is ok and what is not. A sneaky use of someone else’s image or written content is considered to be fine by millions of web users, both recreationally and professionally.
There are lots of opinions about what we can and cannot do. One thing is for sure, your social media content is not really your social media content.
Photographs, words, ideas, quotes, recipes, strategies… if you are going to use it, give people credit! It’s easy!