Facebook take a step in the right direction in managing IP infringements

By Stuart Fuller


Social Media networks represent all that is good and evil in the modern world today for brand holders.  The angel sitting on one shoulder represents the ease and cost effectiveness the marketing teams can get their latest messaging out globally, whilst being at virtual touching distance to customers across the global.  However, on the other shoulder sits the devil, the IP abuser that is the arch enemy of the legal teams.  They have to dedicate resources to finding infringements on Social Media, which is becoming harder and harder thanks to the likes of Vine and Periscope.

In the last few days however, there has been some very interesting news coming out of the world’s biggest Social Media Company, Facebook.  Firstly, Facebook’s incredible user growth continues unabated. By the end of 2015 the company will pass 1 billion daily active users. And even sooner, it will pass 1.5 billion monthly active users, meaning more people will be accessing the social media network than there are cars on the planet.  You could almost hear the groans from the legal teams of major brands that more users mean more brand infringements.  However, the second piece of news certainly brought a smile to the normally poker-faced IP defenders.

Facebook announced that new video matching technology would alert selected content creators and brand holders if their videos were reposted to Facebook without permission.  In June, research by advertising agency Ogilvy found that 73% of the most popular videos on Facebook had been ripped from other websites.

Announcing the new application, Facebook said: "Our matching tool will evaluate millions of video uploads quickly and accurately, and when matches are surfaced, publishers will be able to report them to us for removal."  Initially the tool will be trialled with a small number of content producers, but all being well, it could be a new defensive measure for brand holders.  However, the onus will still be on the brand holder to take action if and when Facebook detect their content being used and notify them.

Whilst brand holders may still face issues in dealing with content on Facebook, this is a step in the right direction in self-policing of intellectual property infringement.  If every content platform could try and follow suit then the headache of knowing where to focus attention becomes slightly easier.  However, this shouldn’t detract from brands taking ownership of the monitoring themselves.  Social Media monitoring is now more important than ever, underlined by the continued growth of the Facebook user base.