Professionalism & Leadership

Lightning Talk: Program Description Abstract

Confronted by Copyright: Creating Social Media Policies in the Face of Litigation

Monday, May 6
2:10 PM - 2:15 PM
Room: Columbus KL (East Tower, Ballroom/Gold Level)

Background : In 2019, the president of a large public university was approached by the copyright enforcement company Pixsy seeking compensation for the use of a stock photo by the health science library’s marketing team. This request was passed through the university’s legal department to the health science library, which had to quickly assess the nature and validity of the claim. The health science library director and the head of marketing collaborated with the university libraries’ social media manager and administration to determine a course of action, both in handling the specific case and in setting policies to prevent future infringement claims.

Description : Despite being well-versed in copyright issues, and having trained library staff and faculty in the appropriate use of images for social media purposes, the health science librarians faced several challenges in resolving the infringement claim. These issues included 1) uncertainty about the sourcing of images used in social media messaging, 2) a university legal department that was unwilling to debate claim’s validity or provide clarity for future policy making, and 3) the larger implications of utilizing aggregators of public domain images and GIFs, such as Pexels, Pixabay, and GIPHY. This incident also raised the issue of the application of fair use doctrines in the realm of social media, which is simultaneously permanent and ephemeral. Ultimately, this incident sparked a series of conversations across the libraries to clarify the use of images in social media and other marketing efforts.

Conclusion : To educate university libraries’ staff involved in social media efforts about this issue, the new scholarly communications librarian collaborated with the libraries’ social media manager to create and host a workshop on copyright and social media. Larger conversations with the university’s social media coordinators and legal department are also planned.


Margaret Emily Ansell, AHIP

Nursing & Consumer Health Liaison Librarian
Health Science Center Libraries, University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida

Margaret Ansell is the Nursing & Consumer Health Liaison Librarian at the University of Florida’s Health Science Center Libraries. She works with the College of Nursing and clinical nursing staff at UF Health Shands Hospital, as well as with the College of Health and Human Performance’s Health Education and Behavior department.


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Melissa L. Rethlefsen, AHIP

Associate Dean and Fackler Director
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida


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Confronted by Copyright: Creating Social Media Policies in the Face of Litigation

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