Ten Issues to Consider in Your Company’s Social Media Presence

  1. Businessman with social media concepts

 

 

 

  1. Trademark, Cybersquatting or Impersonation-

Social Media sites do very little to prevent anyone from adopting usernames and using trademarks that belong to someone else. They can misdirect traffic from your customers and create confusion. Trademark owner bears the responsibility of monitoring these sites.

  1. Trademark Infringement is Rampant in Social Media-

Bloggers, video posters and chat room participants frequently use trademarks without licenses. These individuals believe they are just chatting and do not realize they are infringing. Enforcement of this is almost impossible because of the sheer volume of infringement and the speed at which the infringement can spread.

  1. Unsolicited Ideas and Brand Damage-

With social media posts in the hands of the consumers, they are impossible to control. The company needs to actively monitor the posts for intellectual property infringement.

  1. No Back Up of Intellectual Property-

Often social media sites have terms and Conditions of Service that allow them to shut down at any time, without notice to the account holder. Failure to back up the company’s posts and blogs may result in a loss of intellectual property.

  1. User Generated Content-

This is material generate by the public and uploaded to a company’s site. This is a very important piece to social media because it creates the interaction between the company and their customers. The company should have posted policies to prevent the submission of material that are copyrighted.

  1. Are Tweets protected by Copyright?-

The answer to this is generally, No. The company needs to decide if it is valuable to them to make their thoughts available to the general public in a format that may not be protected by copyright.

  1. Unauthorized Disclosure of Trade Secrets by Employees-

This is a risk a company takes when they do not have appropriate internal policies in place regarding sharing confidential information or trade secrets through their social media sites.

  1. International Laws govern Social Media-

Users and reach of social media are international. Companies who are looking to protect their trademarks have to try and keep up with monitoring them globally. This is a huge undertaking.

  1. Ownership of the Social Media Account-

Frequently a company will ask an employee to set up and manage their social media site. Who owns the account? Companies should consider clearly addressing the ownership of company social media accounts in agreements with their employees, such as employee proprietary information and invention assignment agreements. Agreements like this should state, in part, that all social media accounts that employees register or manage as part of their job duties or using company resources – including all associated account names and handles, pages, profiles, followers and content – are the property of the company, and that all login information and passwords for such accounts are both the property and the confidential information of the company and must be returned to the company upon termination or at any other time upon the company’s request.

10.  Ownership of the Followers-

If an employee is asked to manage a site they essentially become the “voice” of the company and his or her style and personality may be essential to the success of that site. As a result, the lines between “brand” of the company and the “brand” of the individual may become blurred. And when the company and the individual part ways it can create issues regarding the ownership of the related social media accounts and followers.

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