If you are a successful social media influencer or have ambitions to be one, it's vital to avoid any copyright strike.
Indeed, if you are a casual social media user who only frequents the likes of Facebook, YouTube, Instagram or other similar platforms, then you too will want to make sure you stay clear of such an offense for many reasons.
A copyright strike is a punishment handed to you by a social media site, usually handed down because it's thought that you have used audio or visual property in your posts that you don't have the license for.
Some social media platforms give little or no leeway when it comes to punishment; others are a bit more lenient. YouTube allows you three strikes before erasing your entire channel from existence.
Facebook adopts a less clear set of guidelines, but basically, you could be banned from the platform for one strike, Instagram likewise.
Of course, there are more severe punishments for breaking copyright regulations. Criminal proceedings could result from such an act, which comes with the likelihood of significant financial penalties and could even result in a prison sentence (for mass scale infringements).
Always Be Vigilant
When it comes to your social media posts, especially if you are an influencer who depends on these platforms for a living, you need to be super careful. You should never post visual or audio content that you don't own or have permission to use.
It should be front and center in your thoughts. The technology that can locate unlicensed usage within minutes of a post being published already exists.
Do Your Research
If you have the financial backing to be able to use known/mainstream visual or audio content to enhance your social media posts, then you'll have to do the research required to find out who owns the material.
It's not as easy as you'd imagine. Often, just trying to locate the publisher and/or owner of the material is a real pain. Sometimes the ownership is multiple, and on occasion, the information is impossible to reach.
Then there's the cost. The amount it costs to license music or video, of a recognized performer, for example, is high. Very high. Sometimes, the cost fluctuates depending on the amount of time it's used and sometimes based on your audience's size.
For instance, if you are a strong social media influencer with millions of subscribers, a publisher may choose to reduce their costs, as they may see the possible exposure as worth the reduction.
If you are not an influencer with such a massive audience, then the opposite is correct, and the cost could rise.
Ignorance is Not a Defense
Claiming you are unaware of the ramifications of illegal use won't help you. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook make the act of disputing any such claim they make almost impossible.
Entering into a discussion on the matter is pretty much unheard of. Mainly this is because nobody has the time, or inclination, to enter into such communication with anyone.
And when it comes to any legal proceedings, clearly ignorance won't help your defense, and the penalties will still stand.
Err On the Side of Caution
The sure-fire best way to avoid a copyright strike, even one that is unjust, is to stick to getting the music for your social media posts from a royalty-free music provider. There are many of them out there.
Going to a royalty-free music provider gives you the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge of avoiding potentially illegal activity. You can find a great amount of quality music through these services.
Given the size and scope of the social media field, you can't afford to be out of the game for even a day. The competition is fierce, and the penalties, or time-outs, you serve will end up hampering your progress and will cost you money.
Frankly, electing to use unlicensed music or video footage is just lazy. Opting for this path of least resistance will not end well.
Also, there is no need to walk this path, given the services out there designed to assist you in your endeavors to make your social posts look and sound as good as they can.
The sound and visual libraries offered by service providers are vast, and in many ways, using them will help your content stand out more.
So, in short, why take the risk?