Facebook Cracking Down On Copyright Infringement

Social media site Facebook is cracking down on copyright infringement, having removed almost three million ‘suspicious’ posts from the platform in the first half of 2017.

According to the social network’s own data, it received approximately 377,440 complaints in the six months to June involving allegations of videos, photos and advertisements infringing the copyright or trade marks of third parties.

Of the complaints received, 68 per cent related to copyright infringement and 47 per cent related to trade marks.

Facebook’s figures reveal that it decided to remove 81 per cent of all offending posts, which in total, adds up to almost three million posts removed, as claimed by the site’s bi-annual Transparency Report.

These statistics come at a time when social media sites are facing criticism for not taking a proactive approach to how they monitor content and what material is removed.

In its report, Facebook says it has been using new monitoring tools to alert rights holders to any suspected intellectual property (IP) breaches, which operates by scanning the site for suspected duplicates of copyrighted content.

Rights holders who are informed of suspected infringement can then send ‘takedown requests’ to Facebook, which will be dealt with by a team of content analysts. As part of takedown requests, rights holders will need to follow a process set by Facebook before the team will remove any suspicious content.

Errors in this process can occur and Facebook has said that a “small fraction” of takedown requests were excluded in the first half of 2017 because rights holders did not submit their request through the site’s official form.

Chris Sonderby, a Deputy General Counsel at Facebook, said: “We believe that sharing information about (intellectual property) reports we receive from rights holders is an important step toward being more open and clear about how we protect the people and businesses that use our services.”

Recent policy and software efforts by social media companies aimed at improving their ability to identify (and remove) infringing content highlight the growing importance of regulating online material. If you have any concerns about protecting your brand online please do not hesitate to contact a member of Mackrell Turner Garrett’s experienced IP team.

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Nigel is the firm’s Managing Partner and joint Head of Litigation and Dispute Resolution at Mackrell Turner Garrett’s London office. He is widely experienced in complex litigation matters, and various forms of dispute resolution.