Social Media Influencers and Intellectual PropertyAAA IPRIGHT5
It is hardly surprising that social media has developed into a successful industry. Influencers on social media, also known as key opinion leaders (KOLs), are both popular and impactful because they forge close relationships with their followers and have the power to shape how consumers see brands, which in turn affects how they behave when making purchases. They have become a crucial marketing channel as a result for many domestic and international firms. Through their profiles on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and other social media platforms, influencers collaborate with these firms and earn money through sponsorships or other types of support.
By producing unique material, where multiple intellectual property rights may exist and should be appropriately managed to preserve and optimize its worth, influencers and KOLs build up and expand their reputations and market prices. The fact that influencers and key opinion leaders frequently base their posts and articles on images and videos that have been formally released by the leading companies in the market, many of which have patentable intellectual property rights, makes it possible that they fail to consider the possibility of violating the rights of others when doing so.
Why should KOLs and influencers be concerned about their own and others’ intellectual property?
On the internet, sadly, there are many incidents of intellectual property rights violations. In comparison to unregistered rights, trademark and copyright protection that has been granted through registration is easier to enforce in case of a dispute.
It is made clear to others that intellectual property rights are protected through registration. This reduces the likelihood of plagiarism because other influencers won’t copy the content in the first place if they are aware that it is protected.
A social media account gains more credibility when its intellectual property rights are registered since followers and brands regarding the contents to be more reliable and risk-free.
What kinds of intellectual property should influencers protect?
Photographs, videos, posts, works of art, sound recordings, and other original authorial works are all protected by copyright. The social media influencer or KOL is the proprietor of the content they produce, and as such, they are free to share, copy, and monetize the original works. Unless a legally recognized exception, such as “fair use,” applies, others must first get permission or a license before using such copyrighted contents.
In some jurisdictions, work with copyright does not need to be registered because the copyright therein automatically arises upon the production of an original work. However, if a copyrighted work has considerable value or is at risk of being stolen by a third party, the social media influencer may want to register or deposit it for the sake of enforcement.
Additionally, a trademark is any image that distinguishes one company from others in the marketplace, such as a design, logo, phrase, or graphic. The brand name that needs to be registered as a trademark is the social media influencer’s or KOL’s given name or online nickname in order to protect and increase its value.
Furthermore, although the domain name of a website does not by itself constitute an intellectual property right, it frequently incorporates a word, a name, or a phrase that constitutes the KOL’s or social media influencer’s brand name and is registerable as a trademark.
Social media influencers or KOLs frequently produce a variety of original items that are very vulnerable to legal risks in an effort to increase reputation and recognition. Because of how quickly the internet is developing, IP rights infringement on social media platforms will rise and take on new, sophisticated forms. Therefore, in order to protect their original works in the future, social media influencers and KOLs must exercise greater caution and initiative. The idea that since nothing bad has happened so far, they will continue to be safe going forward, should not be taken for granted. It’s also crucial to respect others’ intellectual property rights and refrain from copying other people’s content without their consent.