What Are Your Social Media Intellectual Property Rights? 

Social media can be a great way to connect with a potential audience, helping you build your business and brand. Many businesses today focus on online sales and services, contributing to many successes. However, intellectual property theft is also common on social media.

If you are a business owner of any kind, protecting your intellectual property is vital to safeguard your business and brand. Fortunately, there are measures you can take to maintain the rights to your name, your social media handles, and any other intellectual property under trademark or copyright protection. Consider the following steps to create agreements, secure trademark or copyright protections.

You Have Grounds to Protect Your Intellectual Property

When you post any type of media, brand information, or business name on social media, this information is not simply free for anyone to use as they wish. You have legal rights in social media spaces, just as you would in the physical world. Be sure you understand precisely what grounds you have to protect your intellectual property.

Protecting Your Business Name

Establishing your business name and brand is foundational to strengthening your enterprise when navigating the business and social media worlds. Because of this, trademark registration, as described by the The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), for your business name and social media handles can provide security for your assumed personal handle and create a cause of action if another party infringes on that trademark. While you will have to monitor and enforce your rights, acquiring trademark rights now can help you take action later if necessary.

You Have Copyright Law Protection

If you are an artist or creator of any kind, you may need to consider copyright law and the assets you want to protect. Copyright law protects both published and unpublished works, including literary, musical, graphics, and more. Once you have created an original work that meets minimal standards of creativity, copyright protections automatically cover your work, even if it is not registered with the United States Copyright Office.

Licensing Agreements Can Help Intellectual Property Be Used More Fairly

One of the first items in the fine print of any social media platform is typically a licensing agreement that allows the use of your intellectual property on social media. This grants the company rights to host your work on their website, but knowing your licensing agreement and enforcing your rights is crucial to protecting your business. You may also need to consider creating a licensing agreement for other platforms across the internet when allowing others to host your social media assets.

Steps You Can Take to Protect Your Intellectual Property

A key step to protecting your trademarked or copyrighted material is to take quick action whenever you find out about an infringement. While a manual search of different platforms is viable, you can also set Google alerts or use monitoring tools to help you spot unauthorized use of your intellectual property. Monitoring for these things can be somewhat time-consuming, but it can help you avoid major issues in the future.

Another part of protecting your intellectual property is to enforce any agreements for licensing of your intellectual property. Part of that process is enforcing the terms if your licensing agreement is violated.