Publishing on Social Media

Have you ever wondered whether you are allowed to share your latest scientific publication on Facebook or upload pictures, taken by others to Instagram? Do you know what legal aspects (e.g. copyright, data protection) you have to consider when you upload and share a work on social media channels? How, and to what extent are you allowed to use, re-use or re-post works on your social media environments?

Here you can find useful information on what legal aspects you have to consider when publishing on social media channels. Look through the available FAQs to find answers to frequently asked questions, deepen your knowledge by reading through some texts in the knowledge base and explore available trainings and webinars on the topic. At the end you can also find a selection of useful external resources on legal aspects of publishing on social media.


1.5-1 A professor teaching at the University of Neuchâtel and Lyon wants to publish a photo that he took of Zurich station and which features the Niki de Saint Phalle sculpture on his French-language blog on railway history. How should this be approached?

The lecturer’s blog can be considered as aimed at French and Swiss audiences, which implies that France and Switzerland can be considered as the places where the work can be accessed. While the use of the photo may not cause any problems in Switzerland (here the limiting provision of Article 27 of the Swiss Copyright Act, works on premises open to the public, applies), this kind of limiting provision does not exist in France. The artist’s successors in title may claim an infringement of their copyrights (use of the photos without consent) in France.

2.2.8-2 May I embed a third-party YouTube video in my own website or in a social network so that a "framing" link is placed (i.e. which not only results in a reference to the YouTube page but also causes the video to appear as a whole)?

The question has not yet been conclusively settled in Switzerland. Therefore, you first need to assume that a "third-party link" is unlawful without the consent of the author or the owner of rights. In the EU, on the other hand, this is permitted under particular conditions (ECJ, Judgement dated 21.10.2014, C-348/13). Here it is argued that a YouTube user (holder of the copyright) usually uploads their video to YouTube with the intention of making the film freely available to the public domain. When a third party then makes this YouTube film available on another website or in a social network, it can literally be viewed by a wider public. However, if and insofar as this work is freely available on YouTube, it must be assumed that the owner of the copyright has considered the likelihood of it being replayed for all Internet users as the public.

4.1.1-2 Has a work been published for the first time if a student posts her homework on Facebook?

This question can unfortunately not be answered with a clear 'yes' or 'no'. According to current trends, one probably has to assume that it was published for the first time as the student makes her homework available to a larger group of people. Everybody should know by now that Facebook users have virtually no control over the sharing of their posts. Even if the student only makes her homework available to a private circle (e.g. a selected group of Facebook friends), there is no guarantee that the Facebook friends in question will not share the homework with other people who are not known to the student.

5.2.1-4 Do my ‘Facebook friends’ have such a close relationship to me that I can invoke private use in the personal sphere or in a private circle?

Generally speaking, no; such a close connection does not occur between ‘Facebook friends’. Legal doctrine (still) assumes that contacts which have been made on the Internet do not apply in this case. The close connection just arises in a small, strictly limited circle of people, which is not the case for Facebook friends.

5.7-1 Is it possible to add subtitles to a video of a song and upload it on youtube in order to facilitate the perception of this work to deaf people?

No, it is not possible to do so. Art. 24c CopA allows to to make a modified copy of a protected work of art, in a form which is accessible to people with disabilities. Such copies of the work may only be produced and placed on the market for non-commercial purposes, and only for the use of people with disabilities. In this case the copy is made accessible to everyone on youtube. Sothis reproduction is not allowed.


Webinar on Copyright & Social Media:

This webinar was held in English by Yves Bauer. Here you can access the recording of the webinar, the presentation slides and the Q&A factsheet.  



Training Catalogue:

Inside the training catalogue you can find a vast selection of training topics and formats, among which also a course on "Social Media and Legal Issues" (p.16) 



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