Frequently Asked Questions
How are people allowed to post copyrighted material on social media?
When a brand or individual posts original content on social media, the creator retains ownership. However, licensing terms for most popular social media allow the sites to publish user-generated content. For example, Facebook’s statement of rights specifies that while the user owns all content posted to the site, “[F]or content that is covered by intellectual property rights... you specifically give us... a non-exclusive, transferrable sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post.”
Original content, such as writing, photos and music, is protected by copyright; without obtaining permission from the owner, using the material outside of the social media space infringes copyright. Sharing music, photos and other material copyrighted by others without their permission is therefore unauthorised. It is important to keep in mind that allowing access to unauthorised materials, such as through a link, infringes copyright law; the page that is sharing or facilitating the sharing of this material is likely to be liable, not the person who shared it to the page.