In a recent article discussing the challenges that social media influencers face when trying to protect content that is intended to "be shared and liked as much as possible," Bloomberg Law spoke to Washington, DC Intellectual Property partner Michael Justus, who believes there will be a rise in litigation concerning the scope of licenses granted on social media platforms. "If you just have your own website and you post a video, you retain all copyright in that video, and you're not licensing it to anyone necessarily. But if you post that same video on a social media platform, you are automatically granting a license to the platform in those cases and also other users who use it," Michael said.
Since likes, comments and shares are how influencers make money, one of the issues with IP violations on social media is that it’s hard to distinguish between protecting influencers' rights and making enemies of those who help to promote their content. As such, many intellectual property attorneys are careful about how they represent influencers, and with regards to minor violations, tend to issue warnings or cease-and-desist letters rather than file lawsuits. IP attorneys also have to ensure that influencers do not infringe on IP rights, from making sure they are cautious about how they choose their social media name to examining what they can and can't do in their endorsement deals with brands.
(Read the full article,"Influencers Find It's Tricky to Keep Content and Fan Following," in its entirety; published on June 27, 2019).