An investigation of social media users' awareness on IP rights and IP violations: a case of Sri Lankan Facebook users

Tharindu Hasantha Rathnayake, Dilan Tharindu Rathnayake

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Within the changing global communication landscape, Social Networking Sites (Social Media) such as Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Twitter have become invariably important in individuals’ lives due to the influence of social media on their communication habits. It is observable that share of communications occur in these new platforms is rapidly increasing as individuals deeply engaging in social media (Berthon, Pitt, and Campbell, 2008). Further, beyond just a mere communication platform, social media has become an act of supporting social issues or political issues through various social media activities. Among different social networking sites, Facebook is one of the most famous social networking sites and utilized for different purposes in different parts of the world (Boyd and Ellison 2007).In comparison to traditional media, social networks such as Facebook allows individuals to write, comment, like & share content. With this unique nature, social media has gained the recent attention of scholars from various disciplines due to both its business and social implications. However, despite the fact that social media has such implications, less scholarly attention has been given to the issues that have aroused in social media usage by individuals. It is notable that many IP violations occur in social media platforms and less empirical evidences can be found regarding such IP related issues. When Social Media and Intellectual Property issues are concerned, defamation, patent, copyright and trademark are prominent areas which need to be concerned. Even though Sri Lankan government established Computer Crime Act, No. 24 of 2007 to deal primarily with computer related crimes, hacking offences and Intellectual Property Act, No. 36 of 2003 for deal with copyright and related rights, it does not directly deal with social media IP violations. Therefore, the objective of this study is to explore Social Media Users' Awareness on IP Rights and IP Violations with reference to Facebook users in Sri Lanka. The research was qualitative in nature and guided by interpretivistic research paradigm. In-depth interviews were conducted to collect data where the unit of analysis was individual Facebook users. Data was then analyzed using thematic analysis. The findings clearly depict that Sri Lankan Facebook users have a less awareness on IP rights and possible IP violations that might occur in social media platforms such as Facebook. These findings sheds lights on the government to bring necessary regulations to minimize such IP violations and it urges policy makers to undertake appropriate mechanisms to increase the level of individuals' awareness on IP rights, IP violations in social media and its possible consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019
EventFirst IP & Innovation Researchers of Asia Conference 2019 - Ahmad Ibrahim Kulliyyah of Laws, International Islamic University Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Duration: 31 Jan 20191 Feb 2019


ConferenceFirst IP & Innovation Researchers of Asia Conference 2019
CityKuala Lumpur


  • communication
  • social media


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