Guides & Advice

Copyright confusion: three key things online content creators need to know

Published: 22nd January 2021
Area: Corporate & Commercial

Online platforms such as TikTok and YouTube have made sharing content easier than ever before.

From music and dance routines to video game streaming, people can now show off their talents to a global audience at the click of a button.

However, this can leave them open to copyright infringement, whether that be the infringement of their own work or someone else’s. So, what do content creators need to know before clicking upload?

1. Sharing is part of the package

Content creators must be aware that the purpose of these online platforms is for people to be able to share material freely. For this to work, the ‘terms of service’ and ‘community guidelines’ generally include provisions granting very wide licences for the platform and other users to share and reuse content posted on the site without further payment.

This runs contrary to the point of copyright, which aims to encourage creators to publish new works by enabling them to charge royalties if they are to be shared or reused.

2. You can’t copyright an idea

Users of these platforms should also bear in mind that copyright protects the expression of an idea and not the idea itself, so it can be hard to stop copycats taking themes from original content and applying them to their own creations. However, music and video material is capable of being protected if it is downloaded and distributed outside of the platform’s terms.

Read more about copyright and how it can be a valuable asset to your business.

3. Keep valuable content protected

Although the basic principles of copyright remain the same regarding online content, creators do not have the same leverage when trying to police their rights through platforms as they might enjoy against more traditional forms of infringement.

Therefore, for content considered valuable by the creator, it may be wise not to upload it to an online platform that encourages sharing, unless the creator is willing to spend money policing it themselves.

Protecting your intellectual property

The pace of change of content creation platforms means copyright law has been playing catch up for some time and will likely continue to do so for a while to come. However, it is not so much that the law has become unsuitable, but that such platforms have become so large that they have almost become untouchable. As such, online content creators must ensure they are aware of the risks they are taking when uploading their creations to sharing platforms.

Contact us

If you have concerns or queries around copyright infringement then our team of intellectual property lawyers can guide you through the process and advise you on the options available – contact Martin Noble for advice and support.

From inspirational SHMA Talks to informative webinars, we also have lots of educational and entertaining content for life and business. Visit SHMA® ON DEMAND.

Our free legal helpline offers bespoke guidance on a range of subjects, from employment and general business matters through to director’s responsibilities, insolvency, restructuring, funding and disputes. We also have a team of experts on hand for any queries on family and private matters too. Available from 10am-12pm Monday to Friday, call 0800 689 4064.

How can we help?

Our expert lawyers are ready to help you with a wide range of legal services, use the search below or call us on: 0330 024 0333

SHMA® ON DEMAND

Listen to our SHMA® ON DEMAND content covering a broad range of topics to help support you and your business.

Employment: Jab or no jab – mock employment tribunal

29 Sep

Natasha Jasinska, Paralegal | Robin Gronbech, Solicitor | Lubna Laheria, Solicitor | Emma Oliver, Associate | Helen Hughes, Legal Director | Michael Hibbs, Partner | Matt McDonald, Partner
Employment: Jab or no jab – mock employment tribunal

Join us for a 3 hour virtual employment mock tribunal as we lead you […]

Legal dos and don’ts for fast growing tech businesses

29 Sep

Helen Molloy, Partner | Kerry Russell, Legal Director
Legal dos and don’ts for fast growing tech businesses

We will guide you through the legal life cycle of a fast-growing tech company, […]

Grandparents rights: when there is a family dispute involving grandchildren

1 Oct

Katherine Marshall, Partner | Matt Parr, Legal Director | Tom Ansell, Partner
Grandparents rights: when there is a family dispute involving grandchildren

The first of our series of three family webinars will align to Grandparents Day […]

Retirement housing: Avoiding costly planning appeals: what needs to change in national and local planning policies

5 Oct

Louise Drew, Partner & Head of Building Communities | Simon Stanion, Partner
Retirement housing: Avoiding costly planning appeals: what needs to change in national and local planning policies

In this webinar, we will be joined by a panel of experts to explore: […]

Our Latest Thoughts

All the latest views and insights on current topics.

Menopause policy and the gender pay gap

17 Sep

Employment

Menopause policy and the gender pay gap

Read article Right Arrow

Our teams complete £369m AUM transfer for Mobeus Venture Capital Trusts

17 Sep

Firm News

Our teams complete £369m AUM transfer for Mobeus Venture Capital Trusts

Read article Right Arrow

Certain key insolvency measures to be phased out

10 Sep

Corporate & Commercial

Certain key insolvency measures to be phased out

Read article Right Arrow

Recruitment challenges lie ahead for the social care sector

9 Sep

Business Immigration

Recruitment challenges lie ahead for the social care sector

Read article Right Arrow

Immigration expert joins Shakespeare Martineau

7 Sep

Firm News

Immigration expert joins Shakespeare Martineau

Read article Right Arrow