Social media is a brilliant way for people to communicate quickly and creatively. You can quickly share thoughts, idea, and emoticon even with your phone. With instant access to just about any image across the web ,it seems harmless to pass around images. Easy access to image ever uploaded to the web is copyrighted and passing them around could get you in lot of trouble.

Social media marketing for business requires caution

When you are using social media accounts to distribute content sourced from across the web, even if you are sharing a copyrighted material, you are likely to go unnoticed, unless you are sharing something pertaining to business. This is because copyright holders don’t appreciate it when people use their images to make money. When a business sells copyrighted material without their permission, they are likely to be sued by the person whose rights are being violated.

Social media is entirely made for content distribution

Since social media is all about sharing content, you might be wondering how it can exist without violating copyright laws every minute. The simple answer is that when you signed up to use their services, you agreed to a set of terms and conditions that granted them rights to redistribute your content to other users. There’s nothing to be concerned about, however. The whole point of using Facebook and Twitter is to have your content distributed to other users. So these terms of use are basically the way social media companies protect themselves legally.

While you have the right to share other people’s content within the same platform, you don’t have the right to take it and use it elsewhere. If you’re doing this for your business, you may end up in a huge lawsuit, like this one.

You need a social media plan

When you’re on a marketing team and part of your job is to communicate and engage across social media platforms, you need a social media plan to outline and explain how your team is going to handle your company’s intellectual property like graphics, photos, and copy.

The entire marketing department should be on the same page regarding how your intellectual property will be stored, accessed , shared, and how licensing will be granted. A social media plan should also include a protocol for how everyone should conduct themselves online to make sure nobody violates anyone else’s intellectual property rights.

Protect yourself and be smart

Because habits can sometimes be difficult to break, having a well-documented plan for how your marketing team will use social media can help mitigate the risk of being sued and keep your IP assets protected. And being diligent about your use of other people’s images just may save your company an expensive trip to court.