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The interplay of social media and intellectual property

An important part of the business strategy for many California businesses is having an online social media presence. Many businesses have accounts with LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter in order to reach a broader customer base. Sometimes, a business may stumble across a violation of their trademark or copyrighted work on the Internet, and they may wonder what to do about it.

Some violations may actually benefit a business if the person is a blogger promoting the business's product, for example. Businesses may want to choose to ignore violations of this type. Other violations, such as a company's registering the business's name on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, may be more problematic. Businesses may also find content for which they own the rights has been copied and posted elsewhere.

If a business does want to enforce their trademarks and copyrights, they should start by contacting the person who is in violation of them directly. They should also take a screenshot of the violation in order to have a record of it. Businesses may also want to pursue a complaint with the social media sites, all of which provide complaint procedures within their terms of service. Businesses may also file a Digital Millennium Copyright Act infringement notice, which will serve to block the offending website from appearing in search results. Finally, if needed, businesses may then want to pursue legal action against the offending company or person.

Copyright infringement occurs frequently on the internet, but in order to preserve the right to sue, businesses must register their content with the U.S. copyright office. Businesses that have found violations of their trademarks or copyrights may want to consult with a business and commercial law attorney about the most appropriate action to take. A business attorney might help by getting the offending person to remove the work or pursuing legal action if it is necessary.

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