social media tips - when is it sharing and when is it stealing?

Important Tips for Sharing Content on Social Media

According to U.S. copyright law, it is illegal to publish someone else’s work on your website or blog without their permission. It doesn’t matter if you give proper attribution and link to them. If the artist or writer never gave you their permission, then it is theft.

Content Theft On Websites Vs Social Media

Now, that’s how it works when it comes to scraping text or copying photos, cartoons and videos off other people’s websites and publishing them on your own. But when it comes to sharing on social media, things are a little different.

Sharing someone else’s work is very different from stealing it. You don’t have to look very far on social media to find users who will copy someone else’s images, erase their signature or watermark from the images and then share them as if they themselves had created them. That is theft, and if you do that sort of thing, you will eventually get reported and have your account shut down.

Social Media Sharing: Best Practices

To protect yourself from crossing the line into copyright infringement and content theft, there are a couple of simple steps you should take before copying and sharing someone else’s art, photography or writing on social media.

First, look over the person’s profile to see if they specifically request that people not share their work without permission. Remember, many of these creators are making a living from their work, so they are losing money when people share their work without permission or without attribution. So if they specifically ask not to share, then don’t share without their permission.

Most content creators and influencers will be happy to have their work shared with attribution – that’s why they’re posting their work on social media in the first place. But it doesn’t hurt to check their profiles first.

Second, when you do share, always tag the writer or artist or account from which you took the content. This is just good etiquette and common courtesy. But don’t just tag them in the photo. Instead, tag them in the caption or text so that your followers will see the tag and click through to see more from that creator.

Many content creators love shout-outs like this to grow their business. So if you enjoy their work and want to support them, then be sure to give attribution in a way that will send more people to their page. But, do be careful not to share from the same person over and over. There’s a fine line between sharing content and scraping/stealing.

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