Steps to Take to Embed Content on Social Networks

Estimated Reading Time: 7 minutes

The internet has created a stage in which possibilities to interact with new tools, together with a new public objective interested in sharing, expressing and communicating, have shaped a new model characterized by vigor, the transcendence of content and communities of users. In this context, as already pointed out in previous posts, new challenges are produced in the legal securities of companies and digital business models. To do this, the current post offers a series of guidelines that facilitate estimates of risks and legal obligations with respect to sharing and integrating content on social networks with particular emphasis in YouTube and Spotify.

In addition to e-commerce platforms, there are a multitude of applications and web services focused on the generation of content. Two of the most known tools are YouTube and Spotify with which users can upload, share and see videos and music. Furthermore, a guided non-exhaustive list, are also very popular in other audio platforms (SoundCloud), videos (Vimeo), photography (Instagram, Flickr) or streaming (Ustream).

The Legal Context

In the legal Web context, as a general principle, one cannot utilize work and matter protected by intellectual property in social networks, unless they fulfill the following assumptions:

  • Any work that has been created that always does not yield to exploitation rights from third parties.
  • Work with authorization from its copyright owner, either explicitly written or through a Creative Commons license.
  • Work in the area of public domain.
  • Permanent exhibits on public mediums.
  • Speeches and public lectures, always done with an informative character and not a purely commercial manner.

YouTube establishes in clause 8 of its conditions of service that when sharing a video in the platform, the user grants YouTube a license of use. It also states that the user concedes an identical license to the rest of the users “for utilizing, reproducing, distributing, making projects derived from, displaying and performing such content to the extent permitted by the functionality of the service “, with no commercial objectives. It must be stated that both licenses are canceled when the user removes or deletes your videos, but not the comments, whose assignment is “perpetual and irrevocable”.

With respect to Spotify, whilst this platform also allows you to enjoy rapid music sharing on Facebook sending links to songs and reproduction lists, the final user agreement on Spotify finds that it is for personal use, not commercial. Therefore, in agreement with the license, you can only connect to Spotify by a Facebook profile, not by a fan page for business purposes. Nevertheless, “free” content is spread out via Creative Commons licenses, of which in some cases allows the use of music in commercial projects depending on the license utilized by the author or owner, on platforms such as Jamendo, Vimeo music store, Flickr, YouTube or Soundcloud.

Content Management

As a conclusion, management of integration of third-party content and embedded web content that minimizes legal risk requires the following safeguards:

  1. Edit conduct rules and recommendations for social network account use by the part of the users in agreement with the conditions of use of the platform and the valid legislation.
  2. In line with the previous written recommendation, proceeding to the withdrawal or moderation of content in the social network account in a way that clearly violates the rights of third-parties.
  3. Prepare an inventory of photographs, graphics, texts, animations, sounds, musical compositions, videos and remaining work that may have been totally or partially reproduced, with the objective of normalizing their license of use.
  4. Check over the conditions of use of the Web 2.0 platform where it may find content that you can use to verify if its reproduction is allowed for commercial objectives or for publicity.
  5. Obtain a written authorization from YouTube or negotiate directly with the owner of the exploitation rights in order to get a release, preferably free, of the video or song with the argument that the spread is going to give to your work.
  6. Define publishing policies and corporate style guides in social networks.
  7. Train managers and community managers about the legal aspects of social networks.

Jose Manuel Pérez Marzabal (@jmperezmarzabal) is a lawyer specializing in the Internet and e-commerce in MTNProjects. Additionally, he is an external professor at  BES La Salle and educational consultant at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC). He has a Master in International Law (LL.M.) from WWU Münster and a diploma in Estudios Avanzados (“DEA”- Advanced Studies) in Law and International Economy from la Universidad de Barcelona.