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Instagram re-posting can get your company into deep trouble

(SOCIAL MEDIA) This blowup over a shared Instagram pic is why many companies are doing their due diligence to not land in hot water.

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Can’t ignore it

The perfect Instagram shot is social media gold.

For a business, this is especially true if that shot demonstrates a product or service of theirs. Many of us walk around with the attitude of “Eh, it’s out there” and don’t give serious consideration to the sharing or tagging of our pictures by celebrities or businesses (heck, I think it’s rather flattering).

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Sharing is caring?

Entrepreneurs and small business owners should embrace that the best advertising is free: real people sharing real successes that cost no money to produce. I certainly understand and support any business who wants to use smart social media skills to make money and expand the customer base.

That being said, there are some times you need to really consider the use of your photos, and certainly a lot of businesses are giving thought to asking users about them.

This post captures a bad experience with a company who shared a photographer’s image and didn’t particularly care for that photographer’s response.

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tl;dr: Max makes a most excellent case (Instagram’s terms of service would demand that you are responsible for paying the royalties of any image you post, after all).

Take action

A majority of companies are asking before using media for a few reasons because it’s not just the polite thing to do, it’s the legal thing to do. Whether or not you’re a professional photographer or a creative professional, you own the content of that post to Instagram, with some small concessions to Instagram itself.

Now, you need to exercise that right, but copyright privileges are not an exclusive power of the MPAA or any major media company.

You have some leniency as well. You may choose to let one company use your media and charge another; it’s within your rights to decide how you want that media to be shared. If someone is using content on Instagram and not crediting you, or using an image without your permission,report it.

This is another consideration if the production of photos or videos is part of your job. Making money off of content that you don’t own without permission is illegal, and small time photographers or image creators should be vigilant about ensuring their content is providing for them, not just someone else. The law is on your side, and for some additional information about registering your copyright for artists, here you go.

A lot of businesses are doing a great job using social media posts from customers, and that’s a trend that no matter how big or small, the businesses will and should continue.

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Don’t be lame

Key rules here: respect and follow the wishes of the person who created that media. Whether it’s about money, or even something more intangible, businesses should respect social media convention and talk to their customers about how they want to use their media, how that person feels about that media being used, and of course, always crediting the original creator (unless you sell them the image in a contract).

Following the law, social media terms of service, and online decency is a trend everyone should be on.

#sharesmart

Kam has a Master's degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and is an HR professional. Obsessed with food, but writing about virtually anything, he has a passion for LGBT issues, business, technology, and cats.

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