Instagram accounts have been shut down at a very fast rate lately with zero recourse to the user. To understand why this is happening, who’s behind it and how you can take these simple steps to be more “compliant of Instagram’s TOS, we’ll break everything down for you below.
There are rules to Instagram and if not followed correctly, you can lose your years of hard work in seconds and it will be an uphill battle trying to restore your account, if you even get that option.
While the brands themselves are technically behind the reporting of your “violations” it’s not actually them doing the heavy lifting. They hire companies who’s job it is to scour the internet and then report to the platforms whether or not they feel you are in “compliance” with the brand they are representing. Does this make sense? Not really.
First off, there are a couple of terms you should familiarize yourself with.
The Lanham Act: The Lanham Act is the primary federal trademark statute of law in the United States. The Act prohibits a number of activities, including trademark infringement, trademark dilution, and false advertising. Read more on Wikipedia
The First Sale Doctrine: The first sale doctrine, codified at 17 U.S.C. § 109, provides that an individual who knowingly purchases a copy of a copyrighted work from the copyright holder receives the right to sell, display or otherwise dispose of that particular copy, notwithstanding the interests of the copyright owner. Read more on Wikipedia
Basically and while the First Sale Doctrine is more geared for copywriter’s works, it is still applicable to trademarked goods.
“The first sale doctrine allows the resale of items bearing a trademark, such as a logo or brand name, after the trademark owner has sold those items, unless this is likely to confuse or deceive consumers.” Bona Law
In 2021, Chanel filed a lawsuit against a seller of re-purposing their hardware into jewelry in the case, Chanel, Inc. v. Shiver and Duke LLC et al. We won’t get into the whole case but there is one point that Chanel made that helps you to understand why they have Instagram accounts shut down.
We’re paraphrasing here but basically what the lawsuit boils down to is, YOU as a reseller can never give your potential customer the “experience” of shopping in a Chanel boutique. That and the trademark infringement of using things like Chanel buttons and repurposing them into earrings which Chanel never did (use buttons).
Now, it’s true you cannot recreate the Chanel experience and that’s not what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to make a living and build a business by reselling things You just happen to land on the best of the best and through the First Sale Doctrine, you have every right to.
Will this protect you? No, but there are things you can do to hopefully protect your social media accounts.