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How to Protect Intellectual Property on Social Media

I am looking at you, aspiring influencers and Instagram divas. Learn more about protecting the content you create, so you don't miss out on monetizing on it later.

First of all, let's talk about what constitutes your "intellectual property". Generally, everything you create will fall into either copyright, trademark, right of privacy, or right of publicity. Who knew that your selfie can fall into a legal category, eh?

So, what is this legal mumbo-jumbo?

Copyright protects your exclusive right to control your creative work, including visual art, music, and text.

Trademark protects your name, logo, and any slogan you use to identify your products and services.

Right of privacy protects a person from public exposure of private information.

Right of publicity protects your ability monetize your own name or likeness (image).

Before you post, make sure you have the right to use the intellectual property (IP) contained in your post. Graphics, art, photography, or music posted on the internet may be subject to someone's IP rights. Paying a small licensing fee is far less costly that defending an infringement lawsuit. If you cannot find IP owner, it is best not to use the materials. By the same token, if any photograph or art you want to use contains an image of another person who can be identified (they don't have to belong to the Kardashian family or be otherwise famous). You have to obtain their permission to use their image. It is a simple one page consent, nothing to fret about. Your outside general counsel should be able to make one for you in no time.

Last, but not least, make sure to comply immediately with any request to remove somebody's IP from your blog or web-page. Practically speaking, if you did accidentally post somebody else's IP, you are likely to first receive a letter called DMCA (The Digital Millennium Copyright Act) Notice. There is a lot more to it to discuss in this blog post, but make sure to comply with it.

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