Brooklyn Journal of International Law

First Page



Social media is a pervasive and ever-present aspect of many peoples’ lives. Its use permeates nearly every aspect of our existence – there truly is an app for everything. Most notably, social media operates internationally both in scope and usage allowing for the creation of an astounding global society that shares cultures and perspectives in a way unprecedented in human history. Never before have societies been as interconnected as they are now. Unfortunately, such interconnectedness comes with the issue of globalizing enforcement of copyright laws. Infringement runs rampant online and forces creators to struggle against a seemingly faceless foe in their efforts to publicize and protect their work. Anyone can screenshot and share, and creators are often left with limited recourse. The real harm, however, stems from social media sites themselves and their enabling of infringement through their enforcement systems. While some users benefit from these enforcement regimes, these protocols increasingly allow for abuse, blackmail, and theft. There may be nothing illegal about the structure and enforcement of social media platforms’ copyright enforcement practices, but their implementation disregards the expressed policy goals of the 1976 Copyright Act, as well as comparable international conventions and directives. By examining copyright enforcement on social media, as well as legislation in the United States and the European Union, the problem’s scope becomes unsettlingly clear. This Note proposes a solution that would allow for centralized enforcement of copyright regimes on social media and streamline remedies for infringement.