The Southern District of New York sent a warning this summer to those embedding copyrighted works on social media without permission—you may be committing copyright infringement. In a pair of cases, the federal court held that Instagram’s Terms and Policies do not expressly grant users a sublicense to embed copyrighted content. Sinclair v. Mashable; McGucken v. Newsweek. These cases come two years after the same court found that embedding copyrighted works without permission violates the exclusive display right. Goldman v. Breitbart.
In the Summer 2020 issue of the ABA’s Communications Lawyer, media and First Amendment attorney Michael Lambert explains these recent developments and suggests best practices to minimize legal risk when embedding copyrighted works.