Copyright is a legal right that protects your work once you have physically expressed the idea. This arises as an automatic process and therefore you own the copyright on the content on any social media platform you wish to post it on as long as the content is original and tangible.
Is someone using your content without your permission and you want them to stop using it? Is someone using your content to promote a product which is completely against your beliefs? Is someone using your content without giving credit to your account? Is someone ignoring your requests to give credit to your account?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, here is what you can do to get your content removed from the social media platform whether that be Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any others this may involve…
The first thing you should do is fill out a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) report using the following link:
Twitter – https://help.twitter.com/forms/dmca
Then you should follow these steps:
- Click the option that says there is content on that social media platform that violates your copyright.
- Then add your contact information – you are only required to add your full name (not your username) and your email address.
- Click on “stolen content” and specify exactly what the content is that has been stolen with a direct link to the content.
- Explain why you are reporting the content.
- Add the original image/content that was posted on your timeline (or if this has been deleted send the original image/content from your camera roll).
- Add the direct link to the post on your own account.
- It is a good idea to add additional attachments to help prove you own the copyright of the content.
- Type your name to create a digital signature.
The social media platform will then send you an email to confirm they have received the report. They will also send you a message when they have removed or disabled the content.
But what happens if…
You want to report a profile picture on social media i.e using your photo to catfish?
Follow the steps above, except at step 5, you should directly link the report to the page that has used your image as their profile picture and then add additional information as to why you own the copyright over this image.
What if you have deleted the content on your account but someone is still using your image on their account?
If the social media platform does not take down your stolen content right away, simply reply to their email with additional proof that it is your copyright.
For example, take a photo of your dog in the exact same spot and include a note saying your dog belongs to [your name/account name], if there are interviews by reputable sources that confirm you are the owner of this dog (account) then link to that, etc. Be creative – if you have the copyright then there are multiple ways to prove it besides providing a link to a social media post.
It is a good idea to watermark your images. What is a water mark? This is a simple symbol, word or image places on an image to show that image belongs to you. This can be done in a really discreate way and it will help the social media platform to recognise this image is yours and remove/disable the image as quickly as possible. This also means that;
1) Even if the person who has stolen your content does not give you credit, if people like what they see, they will know the content is from you and so they can contact you directly.
2) People can notify you if they see your content elsewhere.
If you find that your content is stolen on a regular basis, most social media accounts will allow you to make this more manageable by creating a collection called ‘report’. All you have to do is save all of the stolen content to the collection and then only file one report when you have enough time to do so.
For those accounts who constantly breach copyright laws, you should try and put a stop to this. A way to do this is to go through the account that has stolen your content and see if they have stolen any more content, whether that be your content or someone else’s. You can look for this through comments/by looking for watermarks etc. Make the other copyright owner aware that their content has also been stolen and tell them to fill out a report. If they don’t know how to do this, send them a link to this blog. This will also help support your claim and may help your content be deleted/disabled quicker.
However, if you have made a complaint to a social media platform and it was ignored or the content has not been taken down, there are also other options…
If the content contains any personal data (this includes any data that can be used to identify you e.g. image, name, contact information etc. you can read more about what classifies as personal data on the ICO website https://ico.org.uk/for-organisations/guide-to-data-protection/guide-to-the-general-data-protection-regulation-gdpr/key-definitions/what-is-personal-data/), then you could report the image to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO). This is quick and easy to do by filing a report here https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/.
If there is content being used, without your permission for advertising purposes, then you can report this to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA). This is again, an easy process and more information on how to fail a complain to the ASA can be found by following the link: https://www.asa.org.uk/asset/8C4ECE0C-1EFA-43B9-885C0D18480E3F94/.