Daily Archives: July 6, 2010

IP issues in social media networks

I listened to, and watched a very interesting presentation from Venable LLP’s Jeff Tenenbaum and A.J. Zottola – a webinar entitled: “The Legal Aspects of Social Media: What Every Association Needs to Know“.

This is relatively new territory and the legal world is applying existing rules to new platforms so things are only starting to become clear now.  One area that has much relevance to us is copyright.  In the presentation slides they say:

“Be mindful of copyright ownership.  Social media is primarily about the content… who owns work on social media?”

They went on to talk about the need for a  written assignment of rights to clarify this.  But as we know the copyright issue also goes further than this.  Social media platforms are created to share content, it is therefore imperative that for those participating in social networks to be clear about who owns the content they are disseminating, and the permissible uses of that content by others. The rules of the 3rd party platform need also to be considered.

Again this isn’t new per se, but its common that the use of these things grow organically.  Perhaps when starting with social media it wasn’t clear how much the platform would or could be used, and therefore IP considerations may not have seemed important.  However, if use of a social media has grown and become part of a larger function of your project or organisation it is probably time to revisit that tool and consider terms of use, policies and disclaimers (where relevant).

Venable include a list a useful Checklist for Social Media Legal Notices and Policies, which you might like to consider.

(thanks to Victoria for sending me the link)