Meta Faces US Copyright Lawsuit Over Facebook Ads

Meta Platforms Inc has failed in their attempt to dismiss the lawsuit filed by artist JL Cook. 

Cook, who is accusing Facebook of infringement on her copyright and that of other creators by permitting counterfeit advertisements, claims that counterfeiters used photos of her artwork in fake ads to sell unauthorized reproductions. 

Last April, she initiated legal action against Meta for allowing the ads to run and for not responding to her many requests to take them down.

In June, Meta claimed protection under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, stating that they had responded to Cook’s notices and therefore could not be held liable.

As it stands, US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers holds that Meta’s claim is not covered by the DMCA in this case. She believes that Meta didn’t act quickly enough to remove the ads, pointing out that Cook didn’t receive a response to her DMCA notice, and Facebook didn’t take action until she reached out directly to their intellectual property department.

According to Rogers, Meta may be guilty of direct copyright infringement by displaying these ads to Facebook users, as well as indirect infringement by not removing them.

The purpose of intellectual property law is to protect and secure the rights of those who produce creative works and of those who own the rights to these kinds of works (which includes artwork, text, music, and inventions.)

Fair use and infringement are both core principles in US copyright law. Even so, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference between them and because of their similarity, the two are often confused. 

Copyright infringement refers to the unauthorized use of a copyrighted work in a way that violates the exclusive rights of the owner. Fair use refers to the use of copyrighted material in a way that doesn’t violate the copyright holder’s rights or cause any damages.

Under fair use, you can use copyrighted works, but you cannot claim ownership. Fair use also requires that you do not profit from using the copyrighted work. On the other hand, in the case of copyright, you can claim ownership of the work and use it commercially.

Courts consider these factors equally in fair use cases:

  • What it was used for and how it was used
  • The nature of the copyrighted work
  • The amount and significance of the portion used
  • How the use impacts value or marketability

Infringing on a copyright is illegal and could lead to imprisonment. Claiming ignorance of intellectual property law won’t let you get out of trouble and it won’t make you exempt you from lawsuits.

Having an understanding of intellectual property laws is essential when it comes to creating content for social media, and this is especially true if you’re new to the field. Making sure your content doesn’t infringe copyright is not only important for your account, but also for your company’s reputation.

Don’t use a photo without permission

You shouldn’t use a photo if you’re not sure who the photographer or owner is. There are plenty of stock photo sites, for example Unsplash, where you can find a wide selection of copyright-free photos. 

Other than that, before reposting a photo on Instagram using a repost app, we also recommend asking the creator for permission.

Make use of the built-in sharing features

Take part in a TikTok duet, post interesting articles for your audience on your Facebook page, or share a post to your Instagram stories.

Use your own content

Using your own original content on social media is the best way to avoid copyright infringement on social media. If you don’t want to shoot your own content yourself, consider hiring a professional photographer for your pictures, a videographer to take some videos, or a content writer to draft scripts for you. 

Getting inspiration from other creators and following trends is perfectly acceptable, but don’t forget to put your own twist on it. Be yourself and make your own statement. Whenever you’re inspired by another creator, be sure to give them credit by tagging their account in your post and thanking them.

Verify the music’s copyright

Do you need a license for the song you’re using in your video? If you aren’t sure or don’t want to pay for one, use royalty-free or stock music. The public domain contains a wide variety of popular music. When it comes to using Christmas songs, this is especially useful. 

It’s good news, however, that most platforms offer already licensed songs in their libraries.

If You Need a Consulting Regarding Copyright Infringement on Social Media, Sanchelima & Associates Can Help

Sanchelima & Associates, P.A. is one of the leading intellectual property law firms in South Florida. With over 40 years of experience, we have represented the IP interests of a wide array of businesses in the US and abroad, including Fortune 500 companies. Whether you need a consultation or prosecution of a patent, trademark, or copyright, we can protect your business’s interests. 

Contact us to book your consultation!

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