Everyone who has a computer, smartphone, or other Internet-connected device has probably spent at least some time perusing photos or videos of cute pets or babies, or of the latest amazing (or sometimes amazingly stupid) things that people do. Broadcasters, in particular, with an audience to reach both through their over-the-air facilities and on their websites and mobile apps, may well want to share the content that they have found online. But, a recent spate of lawsuits filed against radio broadcasters for using photos on their websites without permission makes clear that this can lead to issues if done without permission. There have even been claims made against TV stations for taking video found online and repurposing it over-the-air or online as part of their locally-produced programming. Just because someone has posted photos or videos on a social media site does not give anyone else to take those photos and use them in other media. When an individual posts something on a social media site, what they have done is to give that site the right to use the material that they have posted in accordance with the rules of the site on which they have been posted – but the mere fact that a photo or video has been posted on one of these sites does not give others the rights to take those photos and videos and use them elsewhere.
When I make a statement like this in one of the many seminars that I have done on digital media issues, people are always quick to jump up and say – “but isn’t the Internet all about sharing?” While in some ways it is, it really is more a medium for the dissemination of content in one way or another. And just because a creator of content wants to share that content in one fashion does not mean that the content can be reused by others in a wholly different context.
Continue Reading Beware – Using Online Photos and Videos in Radio and TV Productions and on Websites Can Bring Lawsuits for Copyright Infringement if Rights are Not Secured in Advance