Is it okay to share copyrighted information on social media?

cat 300x225 Is it okay to share copyrighted information on social media?Anyone who uses social media – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. – is well aware that there’s lots of information sharing going on.  Information shared may be original or it may be used from another source.  Not all of this information legally can be shared and that is what social media consumers should be aware of.

Quite often, pictures, news articles, interesting quotes, recipes, blogs, videos, updates, etc. are shared, and a user may not think twice about doing this.  In fact, the culture of social media, or call it peer pressure, encourages sharing, but there are times when this simply shouldn’t be done.

So how does one know when not to do this?

  1. For starters, one should avoid sharing information of a personal nature about other people. This gets people into trouble with their friends/followers at times, although not everyone is willing to sue over it.  Still, why take chances?
  2. Another faux pas would be sharing information regarding children under age 13, unless they are your own.  For Do’s and Don’ts regarding complying with Children’s Online Privacy Protection, visit   Even if the information is about your own child, BBB cautions you not to be too eager to share basic information about your children; this can open opportunities for fraudsters lurking in the background.
  3. Here’s a hard pill to swallow:  You know that recipe or that blog that you found online that was so compelling that you just had to share it on social media?  Be careful about those.  Just because it is on the internet does not give you rights to copy and share it with your friends. This is the type of stuff people get sued over. Look for the social-media share icons on the website to ensure that the author of the recipe or blog grants permissions to have their work shared. Otherwise, contact them directly for permission to avoid problems in the future.
  4. Even when a blog, recipe, video, etc. is shared on a social media site and goes viral, that doesn’t make it safe to pass along. If someone else was negligent and copied and pasted another’s original work, not only is that a no-no for them, but it’s a no-no for everyone else who spreads the fervor.

As long as an author or artist posts his/her own work to social media and it is shared, generally, that is safe to share but only within the site and if it is unaltered. In the “Terms of Service” upon signing up, users agree to this.  For more specifics though, see the “Terms of Service” on the particular site.

Now that we’ve provided some Do’s and Don’ts to sharing/reposting information, you know what to do!  If you have questions, of course, let us know.

Image courtesy of budcaddell.

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About Kristal Heffley

Ad Review and Social Media Specialist of BBB serving Northern Indiana. Kristal spends a great deal of time learning, writing about, and educating the public on scams of the day. She also is quite the social-media enthusiast and community partner. You can follow her posts, i.e. BBB serving Northern Indiana on Facebook, Google Plus, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, and of course, our blog.