A report by the Globe and Mail reflected that almost 40 percent of all Canadian business utilise Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as a medium for marketing their products and services. With a projected growth of 15%, almost 3 out 4 business owners aim to devote greater resources towards social media marketing in the future. Hence, it is crucial for companies to be able to use different digital platforms without engaging a multitude of complex legal problems.
In the previous post, we discussed a few major problems concerning the use of social media for advertising your business. We highlighted issues associated with the commercialisation of Intellectual Property (IP), the violation of advertising standards and the problems related to electronic discovery.
Here’s a closer look at other key legal issues with social media marketing:
Unsanctioned use of Intellectual Property
Artistic or scientific works protected under a copyright are an exclusive domain of the owner of the intellectual property and necessitate express consent or licensing rights from the holder for commercial usage. As the collection of resources available online is virtually limitless, businesses may end up perpetuating copyright infringement. To avoid unnecessary IP litigation, it is important to consult an IP lawyer/agent before utilizing any third party content for promoting your business.
Usage of products or names registered under a trademark may also lead to IP infringement. Trademark violation is most commonly perpetrated by dilution of the trade mark or an unfair comparison of the brand protected under trademark. To understand the legislation associated with the use of trademark protected works and the terms of fair usage, consult your IP lawyer/agent.
Some of the key benefits associated with social media marketing are accessibility and vitality. However, this access to real-time distribution of information may also lead to defamation litigation for businesses. Since the extent of circulation of the defamatory content online can be difficult to determine, it is important for organisations to be extremely careful with the type of content used for promotional purposes. Your lawyer can also help you include provisions in your employment policy to mitigate the use of slanderous content online that lets you avoid similar problems in the future.
Violation of Privacy
Use of digital media platforms for advertising your services allows businesses to promote their products with a minimal investment. However, organisations may also inadvertently post content such as videos and photographs online breaching the privacy rights of their employees or clientele. This issue is especially relevant for businesses which are a part of the financial or the healthcare sector. Publishing content related to a client’s medical condition or the release of his financial records can lead to heavy litigation on the part of your company.
Endorsement of Content
Most businesses employ native advertising for promoting their services. However, Advertising Standards Canada has introduced some stringent regulations regarding the use of paid content for the use of commercial expansion. The use of endorsed posts without the mention of a clear and inclusive disclaimer can lead to the flagging of your social media account and investigation by the advertising community of Canada.
Keep in mind these legal issues with social media marketing to avoid litigation for your business. To understand the nuances of the IP law and its application for your operations, consult our professionals today.