In today’s high paced world, social media plays a significant and powerful role in the way we conduct our businesses. Various social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, Google, Instagram, Pinterest, and others, help small businesses, well-established firms, and startups by providing them with great marketing strategies and publicity tools. With the help of social media, companies can come in direct contact with their clients by offering 24/7 support. Although there are endless benefits to social media, there are many issues as well that may pose a threat to your Intellectual Property (IP) while engaging with your clients via social media. With easy access to all the images and content on the web, it seems as if everything is free to use. However, most of the images uploaded are copyrighted whose unauthorized access can get you in a lot of trouble. Therefore, social media platforms can cause infringement of certain Intellectual Property Rights related matters like copyrights, trademarks and privacy rights.
PROTECTION OF IP IN THE AGE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
As the interplay between Intellectual Property and social media is becoming an emerging area of concern, it is highly advisable for the businesses to be proactive in minimizing potential Intellectual Property threats by involving their employees in strengthening intellectual property strategies. With that in mind, all companies should make an effort to set up a policy for social media while ensuring its implementation by their employees and clients.
The social media policy should outline and summarize the points mentioned below:
- Confidential information and agreements;
- How a company or a firm protects its confidential information;
- How a company uses and stores shared information;
- Information about the management, enforcement, and protection of IP Rights;
- How to use the company’s Intellectual Property Rights related matters like, trademarks, copyrights, logos, brands, etc.;
- The steps, remedies, and procedures for addressing the issue of IP infringement;
- Conventions for online rules of conduct and activities of employees.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND IP INFRINGEMENT MONITORING
The rapid advancements in social media are coming up with new challenges for the firms and business as the existing laws about Intellectual Property were written without keeping social media in mind.
The following measures and strategies can help a company protect their IP Rights on the social media platforms:
- With a strong market competition and the prevailing gray area in the law governing Intellectual Property, companies should develop, and execute strategies to determine the major types of IP threats, and abuses that adversely affect their company’s reputation. The companies should make an effort to regularly keep a track of their social media accounts, as they are often hacked, which can compromise a company’s security.
- In the Intellectual Property agreements and contracts, businesses must include a social media statement to protect their intangible assets of human intellect. They should also keep in mind to modify these agreements or create new ones as per the changing provisions of social media. The companies must also ensure that their employees sign a confidentiality contract including, the social media amendments and provisions.
- It is imperative for the employees of a company to realize the fact that Intellectual Property Rights are valuable assets, and should therefore be safeguarded against unauthorized access. Every employee should understand that the Intellectual Property is an important aspect of a company’s brand name and the reason behind the overall success of a business in the market.
- As social media is entirely made for content distribution, businesses should make sure that their shared content is not copyrighted material and should promote the concept of “fair use” in their terms and conditions.
Having a well-documented plan for protecting your IP assets in this age of social media is the need of the hour. Social media marketing strategies for businesses require caution; therefore, business owners and consumers should protect their intangible IP Rights on all social media platforms. Companies should also stay aware of the changes made in the IP law to safeguard both their personal and clients’ information.