Legal issues with images on social media

Legal issues with images on social media

We now live in an age dominated by social media. Posting images on social media platforms is an effective and increasingly popular way to share, connect and do business.

It’s tempting to be lulled into a false sense of security when posting images using social media, because it’s so quick and easy to do. The ease and speed of posting images means that many users don’t think twice about possible legal consequences.

However, a word of caution! Copyright laws apply to the use of images on social media and copyright violations can result in series legal consequences. Therefore, it makes sense to educate yourself on the rules around posting and reposting images on social media platforms.

Before you post or repost images, read the fine print!

Using some form of social media is a daily part of Australians’ lives, yet you’d be amazed how many people don’t read the fine print when registering an account. It’s vital that you read the terms and conditions for any social media platforms you use so that you know what your rights and responsibilities are.

Please note that most social media platforms’ terms of service state that users retain rights to their original posts. This means that if you repost another user’s image without permission, you are infringing copyright laws and could face legal action.

Ignorance is not a defence! If someone believes you have used their image illegally they can take legal action against you. Familiarising yourself with the specific terms and conditions of the social media platform can help protect you.

What about regraming? Is giving photo credit enough to avoid legal issues?

Regraming is when a user reposts another user’s image to their Instagram account. Instagram is being used more frequently by businesses to create buzz about their brand, and regraming can be an effective tool because it generates interest, creates more followers and ultimately more sales.

Regraming has become a distinguishing feature of Instagram, and while most users are happy for other users to repost their images, there are some who have taken legal action against people infringing their copyright.

Many users believe that merely giving photo credit is enough to cover them legally, but that’s not the case.

Here’s a few tips on regraming best practise

  • Ask for permission to regram another Instagram user’s image. As well as being the legal thing to do, it’s also polite! Most people will happily grant permission if you say something nice about their image when you ask to use it.
  • Once you receive permission to use the image, you must give photo credit. The way to do that is to include the hashtag #regram along with the original source Instagram handle.
  • If you don’t know the original source of an image, don’t regram it! This may lead to legal action being taken against you later on, so be on the safe side.

Reposting images online – important takeaways

  • Read the terms and conditions on social media websites (Facebook Terms & Conditions)
  • Ask permission to repost or regram an image
  • Always include a photo credit acknowledging the original source
  • If you don’t know the creator of the image, don’t repost it.

The world of social media is expanding every day and holds many opportunities as well as pitfalls. To protect yourself from expensive legal action, Lawbase stresses the importance of reading terms and conditions carefully, and think before you post or repost.

If you are seeking advice or believe that your own copyright has been violated, contact the team at Lawbase today. We have the experience and knowledge to offer you the right advice and guidance on this important subject.