Ownership Of Third Party Content On A Website/ Social Media/ Blogs Etc.

We all know that the copyright of any literary/dramatic/artistic work lies with the author of the work even if the copyright is not registered provided, it is original. According to this, the creator of the website is the copyright owner of the same (subject to some exceptions) provided the text, photographs, videos etc., used in the website are not copied works. Now a question arises as to who owns the copyright of the content posted by third parties on a website/ social media/ blog etc. Because individually the owner of the website and the owner of the content posted by third party are different. The answer to this question lies in the terms of the medium one is using to post its content.

Any website has its own terms and conditions that the user must adhere with, without agreeing to those one cannot have access to their services. Generally, public do not take efforts to read these terms and conditions and blindly agree to them, therefore, leading to bunch of all the problems. The terms and conditions are usually drafted in legal language making it difficult for people of non-legal background to understand them. But it is said that one sided efforts are of no use because it is said that one sided efforts go in vain i.e. though efforts are being taken by the website owners to make them easy to understand, people are not taking any efforts to read and understand them before accepting.

In terms and conditions of most of the websites it is mentioned that the owner of the work that is posted through their medium is the author himself, but they give free licence to the owner of the website to use the content anywhere else or even sub licence it to others. This gives them permission to share the content with others also without giving you even a penny. This means that one cannot earn anything out of the efforts one puts in making the work uploaded on the website. Some of the ways to avoid this is reading and understanding the terms and conditions, getting a copyright registered, not relying on only one medium, having a blog of our own in short being aware and alert of one’s rights, terms and conditions of the website.

From the above discussion we may conclude that nobody can take away the ownership right of a work from the copyright owner (subject some to exceptions) i.e. the ownership of the copyright of the work created lies with the author himself even after uploading it on a third party website but by agreeing to their terms and conditions we give them free licence to use our work in a way they want to make use of it.

Author: M. Sai Krupa, Intern at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. Can be reached at anirudh@khuranaandkhurana.com.


[1] https://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/who-owns-your-content-online



[4] http://www.mondaq.com/india/x/607438/Copyright/Copyright+Protection+Of+Online+Content


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