With the freedom of the internet and social media comes so many positives. From curated content to sharing images and everything in between. But with that freedom comes an increase in intellectual property theft. Since joining IMA/Limo U, a lot of you have brought up issues you’ve had with individuals stealing your content. So, I’m here to help you not only report those incidents, but to help you prevent it from happening again. During my time at Facebook, sifting through trademark and copyright infringements daily, I (obviously) picked up a few tips on how to prevent the stealing of your content as well as how to report the infringement. Hopefully these will help you in protecting your intellectual property and allows you to keep sharing your content open and freely!
When you notice someone has stolen your content or is selling your products, the initial step you should be taking is contacting the copier (preferably in direct messaging) and asking them to take your content down, or crediting you correctly, should that be sufficient enough for you.
If they do not comply with your request, then it’s time to get the social channels involved. I for one have not seen much success with sending cease and desist letters regarding the stealing of your intellectual property online. The process takes too long and will cost a pretty penny for your lawyer’s services. Side note: should you go this route, the cease and desist will only have legal bearing if it comes from a lawyer. Printing off a cease and desist template from a website will NOT work.
Should you decided to go the free and most appropriate route, the best way to get the offending content taken down and the user stricken, is to go through the social channel that the content is being shared.
To get the stolen content taken down from Facebook and/or Instagram is a very easy process once you get past the gatekeeper questions. With Facebook being the largest social media network in the world, to get a report submitted, you’ll have to answer a series of questions to be sure that your inquiry cannot be resolved manually. Once you get through these questions, you’ll be asked to enter information regarding your account and the offending party. Your request will be placed into a queue and a member of the intellectual property team will be in touch with you in 24 hours with either a decision or to touch base and get more information from you.
Since I’ve been on this team and it’s grown exponentially since I’ve left, once they’ve touched base with you (for incomplete reports), depending on how long you take to respond, it could take 3-4 days for the content to be taken down. Mind you, if someone blatantly steals your image or trademark, then it will most likely be taken down and you will be informed. However, if it’s being used in another manner such as parody, differing goods and services or the content is being used in a different jurisdiction, then the content will remain up. With copyright, the latter rarely happens, but it is a possibility.
Below is a step-by-step screen grab on how to report a copyright infringement on Facebook. To be taken directly to this form, follow this link and bookmark for future reports >> https://www.facebook.com/help/contact/634636770043106/
Step 1: Select ‘Copyright’ and determine that this isn’t a community standards issue
Step 2: Select the final option to continue with a copyright issue
Again, this is where the form is confirming that what you’re wanting to report is in fact a copyright issue, if you select any of the other options you will be redirected to a FAQ form.
Step 3: Provide your contact information and links/proof to the infringing content, as well as links and proof of your original work
Reporting a trademark infringement requires a more in-depth report as well as providing more legal information on your end. Getting a trademark infringement taken down will take longer as it involves much more paperwork, trademark registrations (if applicable), and jurisdiction restrictions and regulations.
Step 1: Select ‘Trademark’ and confirm that this is the correct report
Step 2: Confirm that someone is violating your trademark (selling goods, pretending to be you, profiting from your name)
Step 3: Confirm infringement and provide all legal information
Once you’ve confirmed that you’d like to proceed with a trademark infringement report, you will be given the definition of a trademark to once again determine that you’re positive this is the report you’d like to submit. You will then be prompted to provide all of the necessary legal information and confirm your declaration statement.
If someone is using your content on any of Google’s platforms, you will be able to submit a report similar to that of Facebook. Below I will be giving you a visual step-by-step on how to report copyright infringement on Google and it’s accompanying platforms. Here is the link to the infringement report, please be sure to bookmark this for future violations >> https://support.google.com/legal/troubleshooter/1114905?hl=en
For this visual, I will be giving a step-by-step flow pertaining to infringing content within a Google Ad.
Step 1: Determine where the violating content is housed
Step 2: Confirm the violating content location
If the content is located in the Google search results, then select the corresponding issue. If it is still a copyright issue, select that option and continue with your report.
Step 3: Fill out all of the corresponding questions
Step 4: Once confirming all the following information, you will be taken to another submission form to provide all of the necessary information and submit your report >> https://support.google.com/legal/contact/lr_dmca?product=adwords&visit_id=1-636643417488124581-2710828578&rd=1
Hopefully these submission steps will help you when you come across infringing content. Unfortunately there’s a lot of stealing throughout social media, but all of the companies have set in place teams and strategy to prevent and punish those who violate your rights. Facebook and Google experience the most copyright infringement posts, so utilizing these forms will not only save you money, but will make sure the content is being handled with the utmost legal sensitivity.
PLEASE remember to NEVER use a photo you find on Google or Facebook without properly giving credit. Otherwise you’ll end up on the receiving end of an IP violation and could be kicked off of the platforms entirely.