Brand protection in cyberspace
Facebook has more than 350 million users, Twitter has 32.1 million and MySpace attracts more than 115 million to its site each month. The number of people using social media makes trademark infringement and brand confusion as easy as creating a username and password.
In Dallas alone, where we’re headquartered, more than 700,000 area businesses have a Facebook Page, which are customizable mini-sites geared toward organizations, products, or public figures. By reaching their target demographics, these companies allow users, or “fans” of the Page, to post comments, view news and information, and basically have a voice about that company. With tools like these open to the public, how can companies protect their brands and trademarks in a world run by social media?
There are some proactive ways to beat counterfeiters and imposters. For one thing, it can be beneficial to have some employees or outside contractors regularly review social media sites for unauthorized use of your brand, bad press, trademark infringement, and the sale of counterfeit products. Of course, the best defense is a good offense, so join the online community and create your own positive buzz. It is a relatively inexpensive way to advertise and reach consumers, who cannot always be reached using traditional methods.
Also make sure to register your business or brand on the major social networking sites. This can be a simple process and probably the easiest way to ensure your company’s reputation on social networking sites. when registering his name or brand, no one else can. The problem lies when someone else has already secured your name. If that happens, there are several steps you can take to make sure your social media presence is yours.
Other options may include calling your in-house attorney or litigating, but before taking any action, first consider the seriousness of the crime. Taking a tough stance against a fairly harmless offender can backfire and generate negative press (or, in some cases, benefit the offending party). Sometimes it is more effective to send a letter explaining the situation and asking the guilty party to fix the problem.
There are regulations and organizations to remedy the infringement when the cards and niceties don’t work. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) can be helpful in copyright infringement cases because many social media websites have guidelines that mirror DMCA requirements. The Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) is an official trade association representing the interests of the social media industry, with a code of ethics that requires members to adhere to certain guidelines, such as disclosure of identity, genuine honesty in communication and compliance with media standards. -specific rules.
Social media and social media law have not only opened up new avenues for brand communications and marketing, but have also added entirely new ways to infringe on those efforts. Making sure your brand and business are protected in cyberspace is not only important; it is an integral part of 21st century communications.