Content creation according to Wikipedia is the contribution of information to any media and most especially to digital media for an end user/audience in specific contexts.
There is a general belief that the internet is a free space and as such whatever is found there is at the discretion of a user to determine how it would be used except of course in an offensive way but this is not true because those works were created by individuals and are copyrighted to them.
When an account on a social media platform like Instagram or Twitter, is created we usually accept their terms and conditions without any thoughts on them. Most times or if not at all times, we accept these terms without actually reading them. By accepting, we are granting a transferable, royalty-free, non-exclusive, sub licensable and worldwide license to the platform to use any content that we share. The license ends when your content is deleted from their system.
If you’re a content creator, it is really important to be aware of this fact and ensure that you fully understand the terms and conditions that you have signed up to.
However, there are ways content creators can protect their contents on social media platforms, they include:
- Clearly state on your contents that you are the creator of the work and that you hold the copyright for it, by using the copyright symbol © with your name and possibly the year of creation, next to your work. This encourages people to seek permission before they reproduce your work.
- You can also add digital watermarks to your images or videos.
- Sharing low resolution images can limit the range of infringements that occur and would necessitate people to seek you out in order to access a higher quality image.
- Link your images and videos back to your website, where you have control of your terms and conditions because on most social media platforms, you’re operating under their terms and conditions.
- Keep track of the contents you publish and which social media platforms they are published on as this would help in the event of an infringement.
There was a case in 2017 where a t-shirt featuring black lettering that read “Why be racist, sexist, homophobic or transphobic when you could just be quiet?” went viral after a singer, Frank Ocean wore it at New York’s Panorama Festival. The shirt was traced to an online merchant Green Box Shop, who soon had 5,500 orders for the shirt. However, it was discovered that this quote was taken from a tweet without the permission of its creator.
The crux of this discussion is that the importance of seeking IP advice when creating contents as a business owner cannot be overemphasized as It could save you a lot of trouble and, in certain cases, money. There are exceptions where a content can be used without permission from the creator such as when these works are used for non-commercial purpose, research or private study, acknowledging the owners and putting a disclaimer that the IP belongs to someone else as well as the criticism, review or reporting of current events or when the use is considered as fair dealing.