Copyright, Trade-marks & Social Media: A Primer


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A presentation at Podcamp Toronto 2011 on how Canadian copyright and trade-mark law impacts what you can and cannot do in social media.

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Copyright, Trade-marks & Social Media: A Primer

  1. 1. Copyright, Trade-marks & Social Media: A Primer Lorraine M. Fleck Podcamp Toronto 2011 February 26, 2011
  2. 2. Copyright Right to reproduce content and stop others from reproducing content. Means that you must get others permission to use their content (e.g. articles, photos, logos) unless your activity falls within an exception to infringement.
  3. 3. Copyright General copyright term = Life of the author + End of the calendar year in which the author died + 50 years after the year the author died. Usually, person who creates the content is the owner. Exceptions: employees, photographers.
  4. 4. Copyright Get written permission to use content (license) and keep permission on file in the event of a dispute. Includes material from the Internet!
  5. 5. Copyright For photos, need to consider beyond permission from photographer/ person who commissioned photo. E.g. If a person is depicted, publicity and privacy rights may apply. If artwork depicted, artist’s permission may be required. Consider stock photos from reputable sites.
  6. 6. Copyright Moral rights (right of author attribution and integrity of copyrighted work) can prevent you from altering content. Obtain a waiver of moral rights.
  7. 7. Copyright Exceptions to copyright infringement (“fair dealing”) under specific circumstances: 1. Research/private study. 2. Criticism/review 3. News reporting. Exceptions do not apply to advertising. Parody is currently NOT an exception in Canada; may change.
  8. 8. Copyright If you plan on using user generated content (UGC), you must obtain the right to use/modify the content. Two ways to do so: 1. Written transfer of ownership (assignment). 2. Perpetual, royalty free license.
  9. 9. Copyright Reform Copyright Modernization Act (Bill C-32). “You Tube” exception would allow mash ups for non-commercial purposes. New fair dealing exceptions under specific circumstances for: 1. Parody. 2. Satire. 3. Education.
  10. 10. Trade-marks Depending on the circumstances, displaying a trade-mark in social media may constitute “use”, meaning you could get sued for trade-mark infringement, passing off, or depreciation of goodwill. Using logos without permission can also be copyright infringement.
  11. 11. Trade-marks If using a trade-mark in advertising – obtain permission. If using trade-marks with permission, find out how the owner wants the marks used to avoid “genericide” (e.g. escalator) and do not alter logos!
  12. 12. Best Practices It’s often cheaper to ask for permission than forgiveness. Just because it’s on the Internet does not mean its free to use! There may be multiple stakeholders in a photo. Don’t forget about moral rights.
  13. 13. Best Practices Current copyright infringement exceptions do not include parody. Obtain the right to use/modify UGC. Be careful with trade-marks to avoid lawsuits and undermining the value of your business partner’s trade-marks.
  14. 14. Thank you…Questions? Lorraine M. FleckBarrister & Solicitor | Trade-mark Agent E-mail | Website | Blog | | @lorrainefleck
  15. 15. Copyright, Trade-marks & Social Media: A Primer Lorraine M. Fleck Podcamp Toronto 2011 February 26, 2011 These slides do not constitute legal advice.