Why Brands Should Be Wary of Animated GIFs

You'd need releases from actors, copyright holders and GIF creators

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Attention brands in social media: Just because you can now use animated GIFs on Facebook doesn’t mean you actually should use animated GIFs on Facebook. Or, to be more specific, you probably shouldn’t post any GIFs featuring scenes from movies, TV shows or celebrity appearances—which negates about 99 percent of the good options out there. For a professional opinion on the issue, we turned to attorney Michael McSunas, one of the legal field’s top social media experts and senior counsel for marketing at Chrysler (though he notes that the following are his opinions, not those of Chrysler).

McSunas says the only way to post an animated GIF of a celebrity on your business page without risking legal trouble would be to get the permission of everyone featured in the clip, the copyright holder of the original recording and (just to be safe) the person who actually made the GIF.

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