What social media lessons can come from the recent multi-million dollar court case?
The family of Marvin Gaye will receive nearly $7.4 million after a California judge ruled that Gaye’s music was stolen by Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke and used in the 2014 smash hit Blurred Lines. Williams and Thicke claimed they were inspired by, but did not use any of, Gaye’s 1977 soul tune Got to Give It Up.
It is difficult to write new music, just as it is difficult to write a thought that has never been recorded before. After all there are only eight notes on a scale with twelve intervals. Even for three octaves of notes, there is a limit to the number of different compositions available, right? Yes, but the numbers are astronomical, according to a report from Gizmodo. The report states that the music site Gracenote lists more than 130-million different songs. No one will ever be able to hear all that music. If a person played one after another it would take more than 1,200 years to complete the Gracenote library.
The courts do not take kindly to copyright infringement violations. This is the case in music, sports, photography, logos, visual arts, graphic arts, writing and…social media. It is a fact—individuals share all kinds of copyrighted material on their social media sites and one rarely hears of any litigation resulting from it. You can be certain of this, though: the risk is much greater when a for-profit or not-for-profit organization or corporation shares content. If you are using social media for marketing, that means you!
Social Media Lessons
Make note of these things to reduce your risks:
- Giving credit on photos from another source does not satisfy copyright permission. Contrarily, cropping an image you use from another source will tell the judge that you maliciously violated copyright laws. Williams and Thicke testified that they talked about Marvin Gaye’s song during their recording session.
- Content from a “free” site does not automatically give permission for use of the content. Look for “royalty free” when using content and pay the subscription fee for all other sites.
- Read every “user’s agreement” of every social media platform you use for your business or organization. Most of them state that by building a profile you agree that you are the one responsible to comply with all legal strictures.
- If you claim that your business is a professional enterprise don’t use social media amateur staff. Find a professional social media marketer that fits your marketing and branding needs.
Original, creative content is so important in social media marketing that it’s important to pay attention to these lessons. Original, fresh, engaging content not easy to regularly create. It is, however, the best content for your business.