In the era of social media, companies have unprecedented opportunities to connect with their customers. However, with this inundation of information—that can be viewed and shared with the click of a mouse—comes elevated risk that a company brands could be misused or abused. May companies have developed social media policies, which dictate the ways in which their content may be used. However, policies alone have not proven adequate at thwarting the pervasive problem of intellectual property infringement on social media.
Facebook recently released its ninth transparency report in which—for the first time—it includes information about requests to take down content due to alleged intellectual property theft. In the first six months of the year, Facebook received upwards of 377,000 complaints related to intellectual property violations. It responded by investigating the complaints and removing more than 3 million posts from its site. Facebook received complaints in three main categories of IP infringement:
- Counterfeiting: 81 percent of complaints resulted in post removal
- Copyright: 68 percent of complaints resulted in post removal
- Trademark: 47 percent of complaints resulted in post removal
Methods of protection
It is important for owners of any form of intellectual property to be proactive about protecting it. After a company obtains the appropriate federal trademarks, it should then register these with social media platforms. In addition, it’s important to continually monitor social media for possible cases of infringement. Facebook offers rightsholder a tool to help detect such infractions.
In the event that content is misused, an experienced intellectual property attorney can be integral in pursuing litigation.