Social Media in Canada: 3 Things That Could Land You in Legal Trouble

The digital era has changed the way we communicate. Platforms like Linkedin, Pinterest, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Wechat, and Tiktok, to name a few, all represent an unprecedented means of interacting with individuals within your vicinity and across the world. 

However, while these platforms were built with the intent to facilitate easy communication between multiple parties, many bad actors have begun to use them to crate novel social problems like cyberbullying, reputation assassination and spying.

With that said; it is understandable for individuals who engage in these acts are likely to fall into legal trouble.

Things You Do On Social Media That Could You In Legal Trouble

There are a variety of misdemeanors on social media that can be considered minor but have recently been deemed large enough to warrant legal repercussions in Canada. 

To that aim, we’ll examine three online conducts and their implications spanning from severe acts to minor acts that you may not be knowledgeable of but can land you in major problems with the law.

Copyright Infringement

It’s hard to discuss legal concerns relating to social media without considering copyright and intellectual property violations because of the surge in user-generated content. 

What is copyright? It is the legal right to manufacture, produce, exhibit, video, or record literary, artistic, or musical content granted to the creator for a set period.

Copyright infringements can take many forms on social media – one of the most common forms are instances where an individual closes another person’s digital product to sell for a profit.

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Another instance is the use of copyrighted music in videos. Doing so is labeled as a copyright infringement and can attract legal trouble.

It’s worth noting that In Canada, your copyright is valid for the duration of your existence and 50 years after your demise. Afterwards, the work belongs to the general public and can be used by anybody.

However, based on moral rights in Canada – while an individual’s work belongs to the public 50 years after their demise, the individual must still be credited for their work in a bid to protect their integrity and preserve their legacy.

Slander Or Libel

Spreading false information about an individual on social media is viewed as a legal wrong that can open you up to a lawsuit.

That’s because, while every individual has freedom of speech there needs to be a limit on that freedom to avoid instances where people’s reputations are wrongfully soiled.

Hence, making baseless charges on the internet against an individual or a business entity might get you in legal trouble. 

It’s worth noting that, while many people don’t go out of their way to pursue a social media slander or libel case, the few who do can put you in a position where you need to pay damages or even serve prison time.

In Canada for instance, online defamation or Cyber-libel is a big deal and can result in serious financial repercussions. 

For example, in the Canadian case Rook v Halcrow, the court found that the defendant behaved maliciously when launching a long-running internet campaign to disparage a former partner on social media and awarded the plaintiff damages of $230,000. 

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Copyright violations might include reusing someone’s online content for a profit without permission or recognizing their moral rights, i.e., attributing the work to them. Acts like this result in serious financial implications for violators.

Not Paying Attention To Terms And Conditions On Social Media

Most people are guilty of skipping through the terms and conditions when joining a new social media platform, but given the rapidly altering norms of social media usage, this attitude must change.

For illustration, a site’s terms and conditions may state that any material you publish on its forum may be susceptible to resharing, which is a regular trait on most social media sites. 

As a result, if you change your opinion regarding a post that has gone viral because of its fascinating character, such a site would not be accountable.

In conclusion, many advantages have been realized due to social media, including significant advancements in the way we interact and trade. 

However, these benefits can only be sustained for a limited time, provided the sites’ integrity, and original functions are preserved. As a result, the only method to maintain that is to enlighten yourself on these legal concerns and follow the guidelines.

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