Tag Archives: social media

Promoting Business Social Media

How to Promote Your Business on Social Media – My Trials and Tribulations

Promoting Business Social MediaOver the last few years, I have really enjoyed creating content to share my thoughts about brands and IP because that is how I refine my thinking and develop new ideas. In the process, I have come up with a framework that moves the needle for business owners. It’s a product called Brand Tuned, which my next book will cover.

Yet in consistently putting out content on a range of social media platforms I have sometimes wondered whether there is any point in continuing these marketing efforts given that I do not get a lot of engagement on any of the platforms. There is the odd hit piece of content, but as a rule, I might typically get 4 or 5 likes on a LinkedIn update for example.

Is it worth continuing is something I ask myself a lot?

Although they say not to compare yourself to others, it is difficult not to do so, and to feel you are lacking in some way. Inevitably I have found myself wondering what content would have more impact.

I know Gary Vaynerchuk’s advice is to engage more with others’ content if you want engagement with your content. He should know. He runs a 1000-person social media agency. So, that’s something I definitely intend to try, but so far I’ve not made time for it because there are so many other priorities, such as running my business, producing the content I’m putting out on social, overseeing the delivery of client projects, writing my new book, creating my new product – Brand Tuned, and a myriad of other things, such as doing a marketing plan for my upcoming book as my publisher expects a really robust one.

Overcoming the Temptation to Give Up

I have often been tempted to give up. Why not save my time, and just not do any social media marketing? This was my thought when a video guy once remarked to me that my content was not getting much engagement. At the time I thought, ‘if he’s judging my content in this way maybe others are too’? So, am I doing myself more harm than good putting out content that is seen to not be engaged with? Should I continue? Is this person’s judgement an indication of what everyone else is thinking? Is there any point to my providing education and information for the world to freely take and use?’

You may wonder why I continue to put out a weekly video, a weekly blog, get my team to create content from it to share on all social media platforms given that it feels like nobody cares about what I’m putting out if you measure it by the number of likes and comments.

It is because I know this is a long-term game, and deep down I am confident the lack of massive engagement does not really matter, that I continue.

Likes and comments aren’t the right metrics to focus on for anyone. Anyway, I feel I can plug some of the gaps down the line once I double down on one or two channels. I am still developing my ideas and working out what I can do to really move the needle for entrepreneurs and business owners when it comes to supporting their business journeys. I feel I am nearly there.

In the meantime, what gives me the courage to continue is that I get plenty of work coming through which I attribute to my blogging and social media efforts. These put me top of mind for people who know me from other areas of business life. They notice my content even though they do not necessarily do anything to engage with it. However, they turn to me when they need IP support because in their minds I am associated with IP and brands. Given that I am everywhere online, I am there in front of their noses wherever they hang out, so that when they have a need for services that I can help with, they contact me.

Often someone will tell me they noticed a video I had put out, or that my content is amazing. You could knock me down with a feather is my thought when anyone says this to me because they have never once liked or commented on my stuff anywhere on social media.


In my quest to be omnipresent, I have gone on to produce a podcast Brand Tuned – Successful Brand, Successful Business. It does not get massive numbers of downloads judging from the download figures other podcasters occasionally mention getting. So, I know there’s room for improvement. I should be featured on other people’s podcasts, improving my interviewing skills, and taking other actions.

However, I try to focus on the positive, that I’ve got a podcast out there, that it’s gradually getting more known, that it brings me to the attention of people who would otherwise not notice my content.

The thing is you cannot do everything well from the get-go. We have all got strengths and weaknesses and can grow and learn until the day we die. Continuous improvement is something to strive for in every facet of the business, if not in life.

While there are different schools of thought about the right way to approach social media marketing, I have my own views.

Some say you should just focus on the most important social media channels for your business and double down all your efforts there. For me, that would probably be LinkedIn and Twitter.

Apart from the low engagement levels, I seem to be doing well enough on LinkedIn judging from the fact that my Social Selling Index Score is in the 80s. I have even been granted access to LinkedIn live which I’ve not yet used because I really can’t find time to think what a good approach to use for LinkedIn lives would be.  I do not prioritise it because I do not see the point of doing a live video when I might, at most get a handful of live listeners. Why not just record a video instead? Why do all these social media platforms get us running around doing live videos? Haven’t people got better things to do than to watch live videos?

Approach to Social Media

On balance, although it is sound advice to double down your efforts to one or two platforms, I do believe it is more important to be everywhere first. I guess I prefer to build an omnipresent brand, while gradually focusing on one or two platforms more because if things were to suddenly change so that your preferred platform disappeared, I wouldn’t want to start from scratch on a new platform. Better to keep a presence on them all and then home in on improving your presence on your one or two platforms of choice in due course.

From time to time I buy books on how to increase LinkedIn effectiveness, and I implement one or two ideas. However, I have learnt that there are no silver bullets. I suspect the answer to getting engagement is exactly what Gary Vaynerchuk outlines in his video This requires a lot of time because you have to identify posts to engage with on 10 different hashtags and leave thoughtful comments, several times a day for 3 months. I’m still trying to find a way to implement this that gets my team doing some of the heavy lifting but so far, it’s not been successful, probably because I’ve been half hearted about it.

This is partly because I am aware that the nature of people’s content does impact the engagement they might expect. My content is probably not built for massive engagement compared with someone who is selling something that people are struggling to do, such as to get more traction on LinkedIn, or to learn how to invest in property without having a large sum to put down as a deposit or the like.

Much of the content that I have traditionally put out has focussed on how the law impacts people. This means people will either unfollow me if what I say makes them uncomfortable (because they learn that what they’re doing is not correct for example), or they’ll take note but not necessarily engage to indicate that they’ve taken note. At some point down the line when they see a need for it, they’ll reach out to me.

As mentioned, I have already concluded from what people say to me, that there are a lot of silent listeners out there. They are paying attention, but they are busy thinking about other things, it is a noisy world, and people are only half seeing all the content out there.

At the same time, I am constantly exploring putting out different types of content to assess what content gets the most interest.

Why Am I Writing This?

You may be wondering why an intellectual property lawyer is creating content around how to promote your business online. Well, that’s because the brand building is very much part of what I seek to help my clients to do. My new book will discuss this aspect of my work in more detail.

It is not generally well known that intellectual property refers to many different assets, not just to patents and inventions. In fact, the most relevant form of intellectual property to every business is their brand. The brand is entwined with copyright, trademarks and building your presence online. My approach to IP sits very close to marketing and advertising.

You see the name you use to identify your products and services is the lynchpin to your marketing activities. If you are not using a name that works from an intellectual property perspective, it is like having a colander instead of a container supporting your marketing. You would be pouring time and money straight down the drain if you are using the wrong type of name. A large portion of your marketing time and money will feed your competitors marketing budget instead of putting your business at centre stage.

Also, you need clarity to build your brand, and brand strategy is something I very much help my clients with using our Brand Tuned offering.

Small businesses do not have resources to waste so before you consider how to market your business make sure the IP fundamentals are in place. In this post, I do not discuss these but there are posts on the Azrights site that point you in the right direction such as

Is a Brand Intellectual Property? Definition of Brand and Intellectual Property,

Intellectual Property Rights – Frightening?

How Brands Grow – a book by Byron Sharp

The world of content is getting noisier and noisier. It can be difficult to make an impact, but it will be doubly difficult to do so if your brand is hard to find once people become aware of you.

That is why sorting out your brand name and strategy is so important. You also need to address how to combine your business, product, and personal brand to best effect, and get all your social profiles set up in a consistent way before getting started. When your resources are limited, it is even more important to be strategic, so you make the most of your content.

If you would like to know more, sign up to my next webinar Establish your Brand Strategy which takes place in August.

How are you tackling your brand building? I would love to know. Do leave me a comment

Sign Up Now

Branding is IP

Branding – Why IP Is Intrinsic To The Work

Branding involves creBranding is IPating Intellectual Property (IP). Intangible assets produced during branding should be well chosen to ensure elements like names and logos are available to use and do not infringe on somebody else’s rights. A solid understanding of IP law can help ensure that the choices are also capable of creating potentially valuable intellectual property that is capable of protecting a company’s competitive market position.

Agencies need a way to incorporate IP considerations into their work. The practice of leaving IP considerations for clients themselves to deal with through their own lawyers’ due diligence on names leaves a lot to be desired.

Many clients lack an appreciation of the risks and opportunities that IP presents. The widespread belief that the legal aspects of branding can be passed on to clients therefore leaves them exposed. Many clients do not have access to lawyers with the appropriate skills to do searches during naming projects, or to give advice on copyright or designs.

Few have access to lawyers with the appropriate skills

Branding agencies are much better placed to provide the necessary legal checks. Any agency that creates intellectual property for clients play an important role in the client’s ultimate value as a business. So, they need to know about

  • Trademarks
  • Copyright
  • Designs

These IP laws are relevant to an agency’s own business, and also determine whether suitable IP is created for clients. For example, a good name is one that does not infringe on anyone else’s rights. Also, it must be the right type of name so it may be uniquely owned. Also, it is vital that steps are taken to protect the name before design work begins.

That is how you ensure the identities or other intangibles created, generate wealth and value for clients if their ventures succeed.

The importance of names

Names are potentially one of the most important IP assets a business uses. Key points are:

  1. Names should not infringe on the rights of others. So, legal due diligence before adopting a name is crucial. If someone else is using the same name it may be appropriate to abandon that name and find another.
  2. The adopted name must be capable of functioning as a trademark. Not all names are capable of being owned.
  3. The name should be ‘clear’ to use before trademarking. Trademarks are cancellable so doing due diligence is essential before registering a trademark.

Unfortunately, there is little real understanding of IP among SMEs, so agencies have an important role to play in educating their clients to help them to succeed with IP.

Inadequate training

However, designers own training rarely equips them with the knowledge to advise SMEs on IP issues. Few design courses cover intellectual property law, except in a cursory way. So designers tend to have to muddle through and learn about IP from hard experience.

If a design professional starts their working life in a large agency they are unlikely to be involved in every aspect of a project. So they are generally unaware of what goes on behind the scenes to clear names, and search logos. By the time they set up on their own, they have little insight into IP laws. A steep learning curve often lies ahead of them. The unlucky ones make serious IP mistakes along the road to wisdom.

Need for suitable IP help

So branding agencies need to find suitable IP help to better manage the complexity of IP laws given the central relevance of IP to the work of agencies.

The vast majority of branding agencies do their own checks during naming projects. However, they lack access to quality advice to interpret the results of their searches. Lack of guidance to interpret the results of searches can lead to perfectly suitable names being dropped.

It is not just when you’re finding a new name for a client that you need to do checks though. It is also important to verify whether a name that clients themselves have selected is suitable. In my book Intellectual Property Revolution which is a best seller on Amazon there are numerous case study examples of what happens when a business is stopped from using its name due to trademark infringement

Risk of leaving due diligence to clients’ own lawyers

The risk of leaving the legal checks to clients’ own lawyers – something many of them will not do – is that the name undergoes no legal clearance at all, and the client is left using a name which might cause problems for them several years down the line.

Alternatively, if the client does engage its own lawyers to do legal checks then the client might be disappointed if the name does not hold up to legal scrutiny. It also puts the agency in a difficult position as to where to draw the boundary unless it has clarified in advance what legal checks the name must withstand.

The fact is there are many different types of searches it is possible to do on names.

Names are just one type of IP issue that branding agencies need to know about.

We have solutions for agencies that want to address the legal issues in novel ways without incurring any overhead costs – something agencies generally associate with legal help.

We’d love to let you know about our innovative way of helping you with the legal aspects of your work, so please contact us or submit an enquiry referencing this blog.

Usernames on Social Media – Important aspects of your trademark

Usernames On Social Media – The Power Of Trademarks

Usernames on Social Media – Important aspects of your trademarkIf you have trademarked your brand name, it can be disconcerting to find that someone else beat you to it and registered it on a social media site.

The latest dispute to erupt on this question involves Instagram where Kalamazoo is objecting to a software company using its name on the platform.

Apparently, Kalamazoo’s parent company has filed a trade mark infringement lawsuit against the registrant of the name alleging that the use of the name has created confusion among its customers, and undermined its ability to communicate with them.

The company is not active on Instagram and consequently had not registered its user name on the platform. However, it does have an app that it markets under the same name as well as a Twitter handle.

Instagram terms of service

The Instagram terms of service for reporting intellectual property violations state as follows:

Trademark violations may involve using a company or business name, logo or other trademark-protected materials in a manner that may mislead or confuse others with regard to its brand or business affiliation.

What is not a violation?

Using another’s trademark in a way that has nothing to do with the product or service for which the trademark was granted is not a violation of Instagram’s trademark policy. Note that Instagram usernames are provided on a first-come, first-served basis and may not be reserved.

Twitter’s approach

I’m reminded of the Girl Geeks case involving a Twitter handle. which I blogged about back in 2011 here Twitter names and trademarks In that case Twitter confiscated the original twitter handle from the original owner.

So I wonder what happened when Instagram was approached? It would be good to find out more about that aspect of this case

Powerful reasons for Instagram to intervene

In this case, there seems to be powerful reasons for Instagram to intervene, so I’m surprised the matter is progressing through the courts instead of being dealt with through Instagram’s intervention.

The points in issue seem serious as Bexio the owner of the Instagram handle is giving away beers. John Wiegard, in his article What’s in a user name? points out that, “if consumers mistakenly associate Bexio’s beer giveaways as being sponsored by Kalamazoo Beer Exchange, it could prove to be problematic for the pub since that kind of contest is strictly prohibited under Michigan law.

Additionally, if the beers in Bexio’s giveaways aren’t available in Michigan, customers could mistakenly accuse Kalamazoo Beer Exchange of false advertising if they get the Instagram handles for the two companies mixed up”.

It will be interesting to see how the case develops.

Before you tweet that picture

Is Posting Photos On Twitter A Breach Of Chef’s IP?

Before you tweet that pictureThis is the first of a series of blogs in which I look at intellectual property issues in different sectors. I will be considering the extent to which IP protections such as patents, copyright, trademarks, designs, and know how protect business models.

This week the spotlight is on the IP issues that arise for chefs, and the visual aspect of their creations, that is, plating. In part 2, I will focus on recipes, and the protection of foods.


The widespread habit of posting pictures of foods we eat in restaurants on social media (so-called “food porn”) has led to a number of comments by chefs complaining about damage to their intellectual property.

For example, FranceTvInfo reported that French chef Gilles Goujon felt deprived of his “intellectual property” as a result of the practice. And in an article in the Eater in 2012 where several chefs of different origins were interviewed, a US chef expressed the view that photographs of his food without his consent involved the “taking of intellectual property” of the restaurant.

The reasons behind the objections to the practice range from breach of etiquette due to the disruption of the ambiance, to the irritation and annoyance caused to other diners. Mainly the chefs object to the poor quality pictures which they feel create a negative impression of their food creations.

So what is this all about and is there an IP problem?

Before it became so easy for anyone with a smartphone to take a picture of a meal, the way we experienced the food of a restaurant was to visit the place to eat the food. So, this is a problem that digitisation has brought about for restaurants and chefs.

A point to bear in mind is that people commonly refer to their “intellectual property” using the words in a loose sense to mean their ideas and creations. They do not necessarily mean to refer to intellectual property rights in the strict legal sense of the words.

However, let’s see whether there is a legal IP problem.

This involves first considering how the dishes are protected under copyright or design law. If there are IP rights, the next question is whether these rights are infringed by the taking and posting of photos on social media.

Copyright in plated dishes

In the UK, and US there is no protection in copyright for a plated dish because the law requires that a work be “fixed” in a more permanent form to enjoy copyright protection. Other possible forms of protection, such as artistic craftsmanship in the UK are unlikely to apply given that the purpose of a plate of food is for the customer’s consumption.

In Europe where there is no “fixation” requirement, the appearance of a dish could be protected by copyright.  And high-end cuisine plates might well meet another of the legal pre-conditions for copyright protection – namely, that they be original.

However, even if the fixation problem mentioned earlier could be overcome, arguing that there is infringement in taking a photograph would be difficult as there would likely be fair use and fair dealing defences. In other words, you might argue that you took the photos for the purposes of doing a restaurant review.

Design protection

There is no design right protection in the UK for a plate of food because unregistered design rights protect the shape and configuration of products rather than their surface decorations.  Surface decorations would be protected under copyright law, which as mentioned above, does not help in protecting the layout of food on a plate in the UK and US.

In any event, design right is only infringed if someone were to make a product to the design (that is, the recipe). Simply taking a photo of the outcome of that recipe (that is, the designed product) would not be an infringement.

Registered design

Registering the design of a plate of food is possible under EU law.  Different types of design are classified for registration under what is known as the Locarno classification, and foodstuffs are expressly allowed for within Locarno Class 1.

However, unlike the large food manufacturers who protect their IP with registrations, (for example the design of spam slices is protected by EU Design No. 81344-0006), high- end food restaurants do not tend to register designs of their plates of food. Even if they were to do so, it is difficult to see what benefit they would derive from such protection. It would be relatively easy for other restaurants to copy the designs by creating plates incorporating some minor changes. Nor could they use design registration to prevent diners from photographing their dishes.

For more detail on the issues described above, you might like to read the following articles published by the IPKat: Chefs take issue with food porn; and Again on food porn.


In part 2 I will look at food recipes. However, for now it’s important to mention that although a recipe may enjoy copyright protection, that protection simply enables the copyright owner to stop others making  physical copies of the recipe. Copyright law does not prevent others from creating a dish by using the recipe. So, copyright in their recipes would not put chefs in a position to stop diners photographing their dishes.


Therefore, the best policy for restaurants who object to diners taking photos, is to do as one chef in the north of France did according to the BBC. That is, to introduce a “no camera” provision on their menus.  After all, in many other industries such as kitchen design, shops are known to ask customers to refrain from taking photos of their displays. Restaurants could supply photos of their dishes for diners to post on social media. Then at least the quality objection would be dealt with.

In part 2 we will look at food recipes, and foods, and the extent to which IP rights such as trademarks, patents and know how, or industry norms come into play.

Don't risk your brand reputation

Ways To Build Your Brand On Social Media Without Risking Your Reputation

Don't risk your brand reputation

‘A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is – it is what consumers tell each other it is’ Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit

Internet technologies have made it possible for ordinary people to post content online without the help of web designers skilled in HTML.

Social media has caught on far more rapidly than the time it took for radio, television or even the Internet itself to achieve such widespread use. This has resulted in phenomenal changes in the way we all communicate with one another. It has also radically transformed the way brands engage with customers.

Although it is relatively easy to gain social media presence, it is decidedly more difficult to develop a cohesive strategy for using social media to promote your business.

How to engage online

Social media throws up many new questions for business and business owners about how to engage online and protect their brand.

Pre-social media, it was easier for marketing and advertising agencies to influence and shape consumers’ impressions of the brand they were helping to promote, but social media has altered the way in which businesses promote themselves. As consumers discuss products and services they’ve experienced online, they become an important new dimension for business to address. Delivering excellent customer service is key to success in the new online environment.


So many people are engaging in discussions on the web and commenting on blogs, forums, social media sites, sometimes anonymously, and this is one reason why companies are finding it necessary to keep up with these trends and monitor the digital space.

Whether a company is web based business or a bricks and mortar one, conversations about it will take place online. So it makes sense to listen to, and even to take part in, these conversations because management of business reputation is a key component of successful brand building.

Keep tabs on your online reputation

A happy customer may pass on their feelings to a few of their friends, but a disgruntled customer will pass on their concerns even more widely. Social networking means the ‘disgruntled customer’ effect quickly accelerates and an unfavourable write-up of your company or product can be quickly exposed to a potential audience of thousands, if not millions of Internet users.

While Google is undoubtedly the quickest way to gauge your online reputation, it’s hardly the entire picture. Finding out what’s being said about yourself or your company online needs to take account of all blogs, microblogs (such as Twitter), social networking, video sharing websites, news feeds, forums, message boards and whatever other new buzz tool Web 2.0 throws up this week.

There are a variety of free tools online, such as Google Alerts that will allow you to search through sites to monitor them in real time, but keeping tabs on everything can be complicated, confusing and time consuming. As a result, an increasing number of companies and individuals are using external reputation monitoring services to keep track of their online reputation. These services will monitor keywords, such as names of key staff, or topics that the business is interested in. It’s also relevant to monitor competitors too.

The best defence is good offence, and if you’re already out there on the Internet engaging with your customers via blogs and social networking, you’re in a good position to promote your reputation by being honest, transparent, and positive.

Thomson Reuters interview featuring Azrights

Shireen Smith was recently interviewed by news agency Thomson Reuters for a piece regarding how lawyers and firms can substantially benefit from utilising social media, to drive their online presence and search rankings.

The experience was fun. A film crew came to spend an afternoon in our London office, and attended a recent ‘Tweet Up’ event the firm had organised near Chancery Lane. During the event, a number of other lawyers who take part on social media platforms were asked for brief comments, including our very own Stefano Debolini.

The videos touch on various aspects of social media. In addition to Shireen, featured speakers include Gavin Ward (solicitor) Adam Wagner (barrister), Brian Inkster (solicitor) and Stephen Moore (legal technology expert).

Shireen Smith

Shireen Smith

Brian Inkster

Brian Inkster

Adam Wagner

Adam Wagner

Stephen Moore

Stephen Moore

Gavin Ward

Gavin Ward

You can watch an excerpt of the video here, and to buy access to the full version video click here

What should your social media strategy be for multiple brands?

It is well known that social media can be an important and powerful marketing platform for businesses of all sizes, but what do you do if you have multiple brands, such as different products and services? As a small business do you create an identity on all the major platforms for each separate brand? What social media strategy would be most beneficial to your business?

Where people write books, there is a tendency to have a specific website and profiles for the book,  but is it really a good idea to have a distinct profile for your book and your business on Facebook, Twitter, Google plus and so on?

My own experience

Personally, this has been a question I have been asking myself recently. In order to market my new book Legally Branded, we created separate social media profiles for the book a few months ago, as well as maintaining the main Azrights profiles. However, now the book has been released for a few months, I find myself questioning the logic of having multiple social media profiles.

I think the main issue here really depends on what you are trying to achieve by having multiple social media accounts. For me, although it seemed logical to keep Azrights and Legally Branded separate as one was a book and the other a business, in reality the two profiles covered very similar topics which were primarily intellectual property, and branding. So whilst they were two separate products – a service business and a book – they essentially were promoting the same values. In fact Legally Branded was always intended to benefit the Azrights business rather than being something separate.

As business owners we learn all the time.  What I’ve been learning in the last few months is the increasing number of new social media platforms which keep popping up.  Many of them are essential to join if your aim is to optimise your website for the search engines.  So, as your search engine optimisation strategy increasingly means adding new social media platforms (such as PInterest) to the mix, it becomes critical to focus resources on the main business brand.  That means not spreading ourselves too thin. Therefore, for  it makes sense to merge the two profiles in order to concentrate our efforts on the Azrights profile

What is best for businesses with distinctly individual brands?

But what if your business has brands which are separate and are not necessarily going to cover similar products or talk about the same topics? Building engagement on social media is about communicating with your customers on their level so that you are posting content that they will be interested in.

If you have different brands that might have different audiences, then having multiple platforms could be a good idea to ensure that each profile is suitably optimised for its specific audience.

On the flip side, John Souza, argues that ‘having the same person [a single business] communicate between brands can confuse and irritate people’

On top of the risk of confusing people – there is also the question of resources mentioned earlier. Even managing one profile across the many different social media channels that now exist can be time consuming enough, but add another profile into the mix and you might really start to stretch your businesses capacity.

As Jane Treadwell-Hoye, an expert in customer operations, says, the ‘biggest challenge is being able to ensure consistent, excellent customer experiences across all’. She assured that it ‘can be done’ with the right resources. However, it really is important not to sacrifice customer experience if these resources are scarce.


Ultimately it comes down to the different products and the overall business aims. If your company has different brands, and each of them have unique and distinct personalities, and you have the capacity to maintain separate profiles to a high standard, then multiple profiles might be the best way to go.

Certainly for large companies such as Unilever that have a huge portfolio of brands, having separate profiles is almost mandatory. (Although of course a company does not have to be a house brand like Unilever to justify this tactic. Hershey’s has multiple Facebook profiles for their individual chocolate brands which has worked for them)

However, if your brands or products have not yet taken off as separate entities, or if you simply do not have sufficient resources, it is best not to follow the trend of having multiple profiles. It could be confusing to customers and could lead to two profiles that are only half as good as they could otherwise be. In such situations using the founder’s own personal brand for discussing different products and services might be a better option than compartmentalising the product into its own separate profile.

If you want to learn more about online profiling, and the different approaches a company can take when naming products and services, why not buy a copy of Legally Branded?

Don’t Be Alarmed By Fake Facebook Copyright Notice

Have you seen this message circulating around on Facebook recently?

Facebook has consistently been plagued by privacy and copyright concerns and this is not the first message of its kind to have gone viral in this way. However, just like those before it, this notice is a hoax and not something to be alarmed about. Although it claims to provide those who post it with greater control of material they post on Facebook, this message will do nothing of the sort.

These notices started proliferating online shortly after Facebook adjusted its privacy guidelines, to remove users’ voting rights on Facebook policies, instead just allowing users to comment on any changes.

The post also claims that Facebook’s new status as an ‘open capital entity’ should be an extra incentive for users to circulate the message.  However, neither of these recent changes made any tangible difference to Facebook’s copyright and privacy policies, and even if they had, simply posting this message on your Facebook wall will do nothing in the way of protecting your copyright.

When you sign up to Facebook you agree to their terms and conditions, and unless you renegotiate them, or delete your account, you will still be bound by this agreement regardless of any messages you may post.

For those concerned about Facebook’s policy, you can find it here.

The main thing to remember, is that if you post any content covered by IP rights on Facebook, you grant it a ‘non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook’.

This basically means that you give Facebook the permission to use, and share with 3rd parties any IP content without the need for a license or to pay fees.  Crucially, this license is subject to your Facebook privacy and application settings – so in fact, you are more in control of your content than you might realise.  Beyond simply deciding not to share content through Facebook, you can finely tune your privacy settings to choose who can see the things you post

It is also important to appreciate that you don’t need a special notice to control copyright in your posts.  The message itself references the ‘Berner Convention’, which is presumably meant to say Berne Convention, according to which the original creator of a work is automatically the copyright holder. So even if you grant Facebook the right to use things you post, these rights are by no means exclusive and will have no bearing on how you display or distribute it by your own means.

You can now hear it straight from the horse’s mouth, as Facebook have posted an official, concise response to the notice on their website here:

Copyright Meme Spreading on Facebook

There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been.

Image of the Legally Branded book

IP Solicitor Reveals How Small Businesses are Wasting Money on Branding by Failing to Take Account of Legal Principles – Legally Branded September 11 Book Launch

Legally Branded is a new title by Shireen Smith of Azrights Solicitors, which fills a gap in the market by providing accessible, and easy to understand explanations about intellectual property law and brand law for business owners.

Azrights Solicitors is pleased to announce that pre-publication copies of Legally Branded, are available for review. The general release is on September 11th, with the book currently available for pre-order on AmazonContinue reading