The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines intellectual property as the property related to the creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, as well as symbols, names and images used in commerce. It is a very simple concept, easy to understand, which includes some of the most specific rights of this branch of law.
The importance of intellectual property for companies lies in the fact that technical knowledge, trademarks, drawings, models and other rights arising from the creative activity, are intangible assets, likely to be valued, sometimes even with greater value than the physical assets of companies, such as buildings, machinery, infrastructure, etc.
Currently, due to the boom of technology, Internet and social networks, companies need adaptation to reach consumers. This implies the exposure of some of the intangible assets of companies on the Internet and social networks, so it is necessary to take measures to maximize the exploitation of social networks, without neglecting the protection of the intellectual property of the company.
Social networks in computer science are online platforms that allow groups of people to interact with each other. Among the best known are Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, among others.
Currently, a considerable number of companies have chosen to use social networks to promote their products and services and interact with their customers or potential customers, as they are an accessible tool, easy to use and with a very wide territorial scope. However, in order to take full advantage of this tool, it is necessary for companies to review carefully the content they publish on them, so here are some recommendations to avoid taking risks on social networks:
1. Create the users of your company in social networks. Social networks have significant potential for brand positioning, so it is recommended that you create your user on social networks Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc. Depending on the type of company, there are certain networks that are more recommended than others, but, even if you don't use them all, don't forget to create your profile to prevent someone from getting ahead of you. Social networks usually work based on first in time, first in law.
2. Register your trademarks. Make sure your trademarks are registered primarily in the countries where you offer or sell your products or services. Registrations in the countries in which you have a short- or medium-term interest can be planned according to your business plan and budget. This issue is of the utmost importance because a significant number of countries recognize the ownership of trademarks based on registrations, not in use, although there are some exceptions.
3. Verify that you have authorization from the author or right holder. Verify that you have authorization to use the texts, videos or photographs you publish on social networks, either because you have the corresponding rights or have a license to use them. Be careful with trending topics. Not for being a trending topic you can use images, videos and other content in your social networks, without authorization of their owners. For example, regularly to use images from television series or movies you need authorization from the right holder.
4. Verify that you are authorized to use the image of the people who appear in your publications. If you use the image, portrait, filming, or voice of a person, for advertising purposes, you must have their express authorization, especially if they are minors.
For example, if you are going to use videos or images of models, influencers or people who have won a promotion, you must have their authorization to use their image.
5. Quote the author. When you publish or share a post of any news or content, first confirm the source, and then quote the source and the author to ensure that your company does not participate in the so-called fake news. For example, if it is a publication about the death of a celebrity, publish it or share it only if you verify that it is a real event.
6. Do not post confidential or sensitive information. Your posts should not contain confidential or sensitive information about the company, its employees or third parties. For example, in social networks you should not publish photographs that directly or indirectly show a confidential procedure of the company, or photographs of activities with family members of collaborators, such as a year-end celebration in which minors appear with their parents.
7. Follow the Creative Commons licensing rules. If you publish content with Creative Commons licenses, make sure you follow the rules of this type of license. Creative Commons licenses are a special type of use license that allows users or licensees to use copyrighted works (photographs, videos, texts, etc.) without requesting permission from the author of the work, granting some basic rights, such as distributing, retouching, creating derivative works, etc.
8. Respect consumer rights. Consumers have the right, among others, to receive truthful, enough, clear and timely information about goods and services, so your posts or publications must respect them. If you receive comments or complaints from upset consumers, you must have an action plan on how to deal with these cases, since social networks require immediate attention. Misleading advertising is prohibited in several countries, including Guatemala.
9. Implement rules or policies for the use of social networks. It is advisable to implement the rules or policies of using your company's social networks. These rules can be very simple guidelines that guide people involved with the administration of social networks on how to act on a day-to-day basis and in certain situations. For example, if the policy will only be to publish your own photographs, then it must be previously defined.
10. Supervise. In the company there must be a person in charge of administering social networks and a person who supervises that the company's rules or policies are complied with.
These recommendations are not ordered based on their level of importance. These same recommendations can be applied to social networks and other commercial and advertising uses. However, due to the scope and speed of social networks, it is necessary to be more alert to protect the intellectual property rights of the company and act in emergent situations where complaints or comments are received that should be addressed as soon as possible, unlike other means of advertising in which response times are not so short.