Legal · LinkedIn

Fundraising by posting on LinkedIn -- Do they Own It?

Jordan Seeking networking/marketing beast. Ushering in Capitalism 4.0. Technology must serve the people.

August 18th, 2021

I was intrigued by an article by entrepreneur recently:

I thought about investigating this myself. What stopped me is the knowledge that buried deep within the LinkedIn TOS is a clause that says if you post on LinkedIn, they own that post.

Seeing as an early-stage startup is vulnerable, is this a terrible idea? Like could LinkedIn legally say they own Stakester? What are some safeguards one can set in place to make sure this doesn't happen? Or are there alternative communities like LinkedIn that would have the same effect (yeah, I realize LI has the advantage of numbers)?

I realize that LinkedIn isn't in the business to buy out early stage startups (at least that we're aware of) but I can always envision a scenario where Microsoft sees it in their financial interest to come after a company legally.

Paul Garcia marketing exec & business advisor

August 18th, 2021

Pretty much if not every piece of content you post on any social media is property of the social media site. It's in nearly every platform usage contract. Hardly anyone reads these agreements of course, nor do they understand the legal terms. And the desire to use the platform outweighs the rights surrendered for most people. But as to what LinkedIn or Facebook or Twitter or any other platform might do with your post? Well, mostly they just want the right to advertise using your stuff (your photo, your meme, your name) as an example, should they ever care to do so. And if they need standing for something you might try to sue them over, you've waived your rights.

So no, they don't own ideas, like the idea for a business, they own copy/content, the actual text of what you wrote, not its application. If you don't know the difference between an idea and its execution, you need to spend some time with a person who can explain intellectual property to you.

What's a terrible idea is fundraising on LinkedIn or another social media platform to fund your business. In the first place, it's amateur, and will reflect poorly on your project as not following the legitimate paths available to funding. There may also be very important laws preventing that type of fundraising. Online fundraising (crowdfunding) is regulated, another thing you need to become familiar with if you're considering it.

No, being present on LinkedIn doesn't give LinkedIn any stake in your company.