Intellectual Property

January 2017 - June 2017

Introduction

At Facebook, we take intellectual property (IP) rights seriously, and we work hard to foster a safe and trusted community that encourages people to share lawful content. To combat copyright and trademark infringement as well as counterfeit goods, we've put in place numerous measures aimed at helping rights holders protect their content on both Facebook and Instagram. These include a global notice-and-takedown program, a robust repeat infringer policy, and additional specialized measures (going beyond notice-and-takedown) designed to facilitate effective protection of IP across our services.

Equally central to our work is protecting our users and keeping them informed of IP issues through resources such as our Intellectual Property Help Center and notifications that inform users when content is removed in response to an IP report. We are proud to take another step today with the release of information specifically related to IP, including details about our practices, the volume and nature of IP reports we receive from rights holders, and the amount of content affected by those reports. We believe this information is valuable for rights holders and users alike, and we hope it encourages people to continue sharing and discovering content with confidence on Facebook and Instagram.

Reporting IP Infringement on Facebook and Instagram

Facebook's IP protection measures begin with our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and our Community Standards, both of which prohibit users from posting content that infringes third parties' IP rights or otherwise violates the law. On Instagram, our policies are outlined in the Terms of Use and Community Guidelines. We provide detailed Intellectual Property Help Centers for both Facebook and Instagram, where users and rights holders can learn more about intellectual property as well as our policies and procedures.

To ensure quick and accurate handling of IP reports, we provide dedicated channels for rights holders to report content that they believe infringes their rights, including via our online reporting forms available for Facebook and Instagram. We have custom forms dedicated to copyright, trademark and counterfeit issues, which ensure that our team receives all the information they need to process an IP report. Rights holders can report different types of content they identify on either Facebook or Instagram, ranging from individual posts, photos, videos or advertisements to an entire profile, account, Page, group or event, if they believe the latter to be infringing in its entirety.

Each report submitted by a rights holder is processed by our IP Operations team, which is a global team of trained professionals who provide around-the-clock coverage in multiple languages. If the report is complete and valid, the team will promptly remove the reported content, typically within a day or less, and confirm that action with the rights holder that reported it (or its authorized representative). If any information is missing or if the team needs to clarify anything, more information may be requested, and rights holders can communicate directly with the team via email in those situations.

In addition to removing reported content, we disable the accounts of repeat infringers in appropriate circumstances. Our repeat infringer policy applies to IP violations committed via Facebook profiles and Instagram accounts, including copyright, trademark and counterfeit. We also take action against other sources of content that may be engaging in repeat infringement, such as Facebook Pages. In addition to removals, these actions may include other restrictions, including prohibiting the posting of content for a set period of time.

Going Beyond Notice-and-Takedown

We continue to invest in developing additional tools to help rights holders monitor Facebook and Instagram to more effectively identify and report potentially infringing content. Many of these products, such as Rights Manager and the Commerce & Ads IP Tool, have been developed based on feedback from rights holders, and our collaboration with rights holders has resulted in numerous enhancements to Facebook's policies and procedures over the years.

Rights Manager is a video-matching tool that identifies videos on Facebook, including Live videos, that match rights holders' copyrighted content. Participating rights holders can upload reference files into the tool and, when a match is detected, decide how they want to action the content. These actions include a block, preventing the video from being viewed by anyone other than the uploader. Additional options include choosing to claim available ad earnings (allowing the video to stay posted and claiming a share of ad revenue), monitoring the video (tracking metrics like views), or reporting the video for removal on grounds of IP infringement. Separately, we also make use of the third-party service Audible Magic, which flags uploaded videos and prevents them from being viewed by others when an audio match is detected, covering copyrighted music, TV, and film content.

Another product, the Commerce & Ads IP Tool, is an easy-to-use tool that also enables rights holders to enforce against potential infringement. The tool allows rights holders to search across all of Facebook and Instagram ads, Marketplace posts, and group sale posts on Facebook for instances of their registered word trademark, and to report any content that they believe infringes their IP rights. The tool, which allows for reporting of counterfeit offerings as well as copyright and trademark infringements, facilitates the ability of rights holders to easily search ads, Marketplace posts, and group sale posts.

We also have learned that, in many cases, content that implicates IP might also violate other Facebook policies, such as our policies against spam or malicious activity. When these issues arise, we work closely with the teams specializing in these types of violations to facilitate the removal of the violating content and to help them incorporate this information into their enforcement strategies.

How We Protect Our Users

While we devote significant resources to assisting rights holders in combating IP infringement, we also continue to invest in efforts to keep our users informed about IP policies and procedures that may affect them and to safeguard against potential mistakes or overreach by rights holders. Importantly, these measures include employing our global IP Operations team to review submitted IP reports and to remove content only in response to valid reports. We believe that such review by people is important to help ensure that submitted reports are valid and complete, and to guard against reports that may be fraudulent, erroneous, or submitted in bad faith.

We have also developed a robust system for educating affected users when we remove content in response to an IP report. When we remove content, we send a notification to users informing them that the content was removed following receipt of an IP report, and providing information about the report and reporting party. Users are also told how to contact the reporting party if they believe the content was removed in error and, where applicable, are provided information about how to contest the removal. For example, if the content was reported and removed pursuant to the United States Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), the user may submit a counter-notification under the DMCA. Similarly, if the content was removed based on U.S. trademark rights, the user will be provided an opportunity to submit an appeal.

We believe that educating users about our IP practices helps them make more informed decisions about sharing content on our services. Included in the notifications we send to users who have had content removed are specifics on our repeat infringer policy, under which we disable accounts if the user continues to post infringing content. In addition, our Intellectual Property Help Centers across Facebook and Instagram provide information concerning copyright, trademark and other aspects of IP law. We continue to update these resources to make them even more helpful for users, adding material that addresses commonly asked questions on issues such as fair use and the DMCA counter-notification process, among other topics (ex: How can I make sure the content I post to Facebook doesn't violate copyright law?).

Data: Copyright, Trademark & Counterfeit

The following tables show the number of IP reports we received for the period of January to June 2017. The categories covered include copyright, trademark and counterfeit, broken out by service where the reported content was located (Facebook or Instagram). For each category, we provide data regarding the number of reports submitted, the report "action rate," and the amount of content actioned. Please note that this report represents our best-faith effort to measure data about IP reports for Facebook and Instagram. The following terms are used in the tables:

  • Number of Reports Submitted: These numbers represent the total number of IP reports submitted through our online reporting forms on Facebook and Instagram for the covered period. These numbers exclude reports submitted through other channels (including reports emailed to ip@fb.com and ip@instagram.com or sent by other means such as fax or mail), which comprise a small fraction of total reports in comparison to those submitted through our online forms. We have also tried to exclude duplicate reports and other non-IP reports that were filed through the IP reporting forms.
  • Report Action Rate: This figure constitutes the percentage of IP reports that resulted in some or all reported content being removed. While a single report can identify a single piece of infringing content or multiple pieces, the Report Action Rate covers all reports for which at least one piece of content was removed.
  • Amount of Content Actioned: These numbers reflect the total amount of content that was removed based on an IP report. On Facebook, this includes everything from individual posts, photos, videos or advertisements to profiles, Pages, groups and events, while on Instagram this could include photos, videos, advertisements or accounts.

Copyright

Copyright is a legal right that seeks to protect original works of authorship (ex: books, music, film, art). Generally, copyright protects original expression such as words or images, but copyright typically does not prohibit fair uses of an author's expression, such as a parody. More information about copyrights, including the scope of copyright protection, can be found in our Intellectual Property Help Center.

FacebookJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneTotal
Number of Reports Submitted32,58135,13537,16939,38142,07938,119224,464
Report Action Rate65.38%64.36%61.54%72.63%72.53%72.13%68.34%
Amount of Content Actioned341,274313,706303,439306,503311,856242,0161,818,794
InstagramJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneTotal
Number of Reports Submitted8,75310,43412,18611,58413,37713,67470,008
Report Action Rate63.66%60.39%62.60%64.90%62.65%69.19%64.08%
Amount of Content Actioned72,99993,12392,056103,313136,552187,953685,996

Trademark

A trademark is a word, slogan, symbol or design (ex: brand name, logo) that distinguishes the products or services offered by one person or entity from another. Generally, trademark law seeks to prevent confusion among consumers about who provides or is affiliated with a product or service. But simply referring to a trademark for the purpose of discussing the goods offered, such as to criticize those goods, does not typically constitute infringement. More information about the parameters and limitations of trademark rights can be found in our Intellectual Property Help Center.

FacebookJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneTotal
Number of Reports Submitted6,5876,6547,8466,2577,2107,30041,854
Report Action Rate46.11%48.39%48.19%48.84%46.84%44.79%47.17%
Amount of Content Actioned19,90118,07424,47016,82815,76715,937110,977
InstagramJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneTotal
Number of Reports Submitted2,1442,4133,0362,5623,1663,24216,563
Report Action Rate52.80%56.78%50.86%47.93%42.74%43.95%48.61%
Amount of Content Actioned6,2825,6998,4235,1455,8376,09237,478

Counterfeit

A counterfeit good is a knock-off or replica version of another company's product. It usually copies the trademarked name, logo and/or distinctive features of that other company's product to imitate a genuine product. Manufacture, promotion, or sale of counterfeits is a type of trademark infringement, and more information can be found in our Intellectual Property Help Center.

FacebookJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneTotal
Number of Reports Submitted2,2482,1802,2482,0782,6652,86014,279
Report Action Rate81.94%84.63%79.00%81.52%79.62%80.49%81.11%
Amount of Content Actioned33,17026,92736,49642,11841,16237,392217,265
InstagramJanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMayJuneTotal
Number of Reports Submitted1,3301,4841,7071,7681,7512,19110,231
Report Action Rate90.53%90.77%87.29%76.92%81.72%86.08%85.21%
Amount of Content Actioned16,10515,20118,34717,45217,55823,431108,094

Date published: December 18, 2017

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