When a business invests in the creation of original content or when a creative professional releases new work online, such as music, video, photography or art, the intent is often to profit from those original works and continue developing a brand. Catchy tunes and funny videos sometimes go viral with little warning, bringing massive public awareness to a creator or company.
Unfortunately, the sharing practices made common by social media frequently cross the fine line between the fair use of copyrighted items and blatant attempts to profit off of someone else’s work by re-releasing it. Musicians, personalities and those who produce videos, works of art or animation could find their original creations reposted on video-sharing websites like YouTube or going viral on different social media platforms to the benefit of others who have posted that work. How can copyright holders, including creators and businesses, effectively manage infringement scenarios like these?
Many platforms remove copyrighted materials
Platforms like YouTube and the major social media networks already have specific systems in place to allow those that hold copyrights to challenge the use of their original works in the videos released by others online. Copyright holders can submit requests directly to the website or platform hosting the questionable shared content.
Those who have located a video playing their song in the background or replaying their entire original work can ask the social media website or the video hosting platform to remove the offending content. In scenarios where the violation is ongoing, significant or motivated by monetary gain, it may also be possible for both creators and businesses to litigate a copyright infringement issue.
The courts often uphold copyright protections
It can be a bit of a gray area to argue whether or not someone who releases reaction videos on social media platforms infringed on another party’s copyright by playing part of their video or song. Nuanced details, including how much someone plays at once and whether or not the commentator makes money from their work can influence what options the copyright holder has.
From demanding takedowns to pursuing damages, there are often multiple options available for those who have been harmed by copyright infringement. Discussing what seems to be the inappropriate use of copyrighted materials in other people’s online content with a legal professional can help those who hope to effectively assert their rights.