While Twitter is an excellent platform that small business owners can use to build up their brand awareness and drive sales, there are a few things entrepreneurs should be aware of before utilizing the popular social media site in their marketing efforts.
Using copyrighted images and video
As a way to amuse their followers, many Twitter users will post an image or video clip related to a recent pop culture moment in order to provide humorous commentary. Until recently, the practice was common, but things changed in the middle of October. Fans of the popular Twitter accounts maintained by the sports media websites Deadspin and SB Nation were surprised when they discovered that links to their respective pages revealed that both accounts had been suspended. As it turned out, the National Football League, the Big Ten Conference and Ultimate Fighting Championship had filed Digital Copyright Millennium Act (DCMA) complaints with Twitter because both accounts had been posting clips and GIFs of NFL and Big Ten games and UFC matches without permission. Using your company Twitter account to comment on the day’s events is fine, but don’t use another organization’s IP to make your point. In doing so, you risk losing access to the platform.
Jokes are copyrighted material, too
A few months before the suspension of the sports media accounts, a number of media outlets reported that Twitter had begun cracking down on users who steal jokes and pass them off as their own to build up their follower counts. Under Twitter’s copyright policy, copying and pasting a user’s written content is the same as using their graphical content. After finding that several different users stole her jokes, Los Angeles writer Olga Lexell filed a DCMA notice, and Twitter responded by deleting the joke on all the accounts that published it without attribution. So, if you see a really great joke or inspirational thought posted on Twitter, save yourself a lot of hassle and just hit the retweet button.
Protecting your own IP
In addition to making sure that you don’t infringe upon the copyrights of other businesses and individuals, you should also make it a point to make sure that your content isn’t being stolen. As illustrated by the incidences above, unscrupulous Twitter users see nothing wrong with stealing content. If you’ve noticed or have been informed that another party stole your written or graphic content, you should take action immediately. As this Entrepreneur post explains, Twitter has a simple form that users can fill out if they believe that another user has knowingly violated their copyright policy.
This article was written by Mario McKellop of Examiner.com for CBS Small Business Pulse.