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Category Archives: Social Media

What Every Copyright Owner Should Know About Pinterest

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What every copyright owner should know about Pinterest

A relative new kid on the social media block, Pinterest is growing quickly, with rating figures suggesting that UK traffic increased almost 50% between December and January alone.

Perceived as being particularly attractive to women, the attraction of the site is obvious: users can create virtual “pinboards”, grouping together images and other content under their own profile, then sharing them with their followers.

Pinterest’s terms and conditions require users either to own, or have obtained the right to use, any content which they pin. One estimate, however, is that 99% of pins don’t comply with this requirement.

Should you worry if your content is being copied without your knowledge or consent, or without linking back to you as the original source? The consequences are potentially serious: you lose control of how your images are seen and presented, risking real damage to your brand.

What Can You Do?

Pinterest offers two tools for copyright holders to use:

  • “Pin It” Button. Added to your website, as with Twitter and Facebook buttons, this acts as a kind of virtual permission slip and means that if your customers pin your content to their boards, your details and description go with it. On the site’s Goodies page, there are instructions and a video tutorial on how to install the “Pin It” Button.
  • “Opt Out”. Within its “Help” section, Pinterest have now added a line of code which website owners can use to block their content to help business start up and small business owners protect their online content. Anyone trying to copy content which has been protected will receive the message: “This site doesn’t allow pinning to Pinterest. Please contact the owner with any questions. Thanks for visiting!”
  • If your material is already on Pinterest without your consent and you want it to be taken down, the site also offers the option to submit a Copyright Infringement Notification.

    © Suzanne Dibble, small business law expert 2012

    Social Media – what you can and can’t say

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    Social Media Checklist

    Do you use social media?

    Did you use social media in setting up a business?

    Of course you do, you’re a business owner who is reading this blog post online.

    Do you use social media in your business?

    Chances are that you do.

    Do you know the law around using social media in your business?

    Chances are that you don’t…

    I’m here to gently suggest kick your butt and tell you that you need to wise up about what you can and can’t do on social media.

    But first I will tell you a little story. Actually a very sad story. About a virtual assistant from Milton Keynes.

    Mrs Kemp was working for a client in the Middle East who was late paying one of her invoices.

    So she thought it would be a good idea to post something about it on Twitter.

    Not a good idea. The Middle Eastern company sued her for defamation for a little under £120k.

    After several months of the legal process, very fortuitously for Mrs Kemp, the Middle Eastern company dropped the case but Mrs Kemp commented that “the whole experience affected me terribly. It has been a living hell.”

    Now for the gentle suggestion butt kicking – if you are using social media for your business, there are a whole host of things you need to know about. Right now.

    The CAP Code and the marketing regulations that you may not even know exist. Defamation, confidentiality, endorsements, affiliate promotions, intellectual property, copyright and trademark infringement, how to deal with employees’ use of social media… the list goes on and on.

    It’s a complex area and there are numerous different laws that apply – unfortunately there isn’t just one ‘social media law’.

    A simple way that you can find out what the law is on social media and to discover what you should most definitely not be posting on social media is to get your hands on one of my complimentary Social Media Legalities Checklists.

    Just click on the link below and we will email you the Checklist over for you to start using with your social media straight away.

    Get your free Social Media Checklist by clicking here.

    © Suzanne Dibble 2014 – all rights reserved

    Disclaimer:   The information contained above and in the Checklist is based on English law only and is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this article and the Checklist are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this article. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the above contents. Suzanne disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this article and/or the Checklist. 

    Competitions, prize draws and Facebook…

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    Office workplace with facebook screen.
    On 27 August 2013, something quite miraculous happened….

    Facebook performed a momentous u-turn on its previous position on completions and give-aways on Facebook pages.

    You no longer need to run your Facebook competitions and prize draws through third party apps. You can post them directly on your Facebook page and you can even ask for likes and comments as a means of entry.

    Happy days!

    Now Facebook wouldn’t be Facebook without having a few rules about prize draws and competition terms and conditions.

    Facebook still requires that the competition entrants absolve Facebook of any responsibility related to the competition or give-away by including the following rules:

    ii. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:

    a. A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
    b. Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.

    We are no doubt going to see even more competitions and prize draws on Facebook but what you need to be aware of is that just because Facebook has relaxed its own contractual rules doesn’t mean that your jurisdiction’s law on competitions and prize draws has changed. You can also ask a business attorney for free legal advice online UK.

    So what is the UK law on competitions and prize draws?

    Here in the UK, the Gambling Act 2005 makes it a criminal offence to run an illegal lottery – and that is what you will be doing if you require payment for entry into a prize draw or sweepstake. Now you really don’t want to be caught running an illegal lottery as you would be liable to a fine of up to £5,000 and/or imprisonment for up to 51 weeks.

    You can charge for entry into a competition as long as you think that the skill requirement will either deter a significant proportion of potential participants from entering or prevent a significant proportion of entrants from receiving a prize (such as crossword puzzles).

    If questions are too easy and the main route of entry is a premium rate telephone number or some other paid for route of entry, you must provide a free route of entry (which could include using a first or second class stamp or making a non-premium rate telephone call or text). Interestingly however, web entry may not satisfy the free entry route requirement. You must make this free route of entry clear and not discriminate between any methods of entry (so for example you must keep the completion or prize draw open for long enough so that a letter can reach you).

    The CAP Code also applies.  Under the CAP Code, the promoter must ensure that the terms and conditions of the promotion are clear and well publicised – examples of what should be included are:

    • the full name and address of the promoter;
    • any restrictions on, or conditions of, taking part (for example, age, number of entries and geographical restrictions);
    • any requirement for a proof of purchase;
    • the closing date;
    • judging criteria;
    • the number and nature of prizes including those that are available to win and those that are guaranteed to be won;
    • how winners and results will be announced and if the promoter intends to feature the winners in post-event publicity;
    • who will own copyright in entries;
    • whether the promoter reserves the right to amend the rules; and
    • whether the promoter is allowed to provide a cash alternative for any prize.

    So, if you are going to be running prize draws or competitions on Facebook or anywhere else, here’s what you must do:

    1. have clear terms of promotion well publicised.
    2. if the competition does not require sufficient skill or knowledge to discourage a significant proportion of the population from entering or it is a prize draw, then you must provide a free route of entry – web entry may not be sufficient, so in your terms you must say that people can enter by sending a letter to you at X address.

    © Suzanne Dibble 2013