By Courtney Moser
What does “ownership” really mean? According to the dictionary, it’s the act, state or right of possessing something. That sounds pretty simple, right?
Trick question – it’s not. Advancing technology and complex business today keeps us on our toes when it comes to the concept of ownership. Just in the realm of influencer marketing, the question of “who owns an influencer’s content?” is prevalent enough to warrant this article.
The short answer? It depends on the brand-influencer agreement. The longer answer is that the influencer will always maintain ownership of the content they create, unless an agreement states otherwise. Within those ownership rights, however, it typically states that the brand they’ve partnered with has the right to share the influencer’s content on social media channels (with credit). It may address all re-purposing uses, or the agreement may need to be more specific about when and where the brand can re-use influencer content.
“In order to respect consumers’ intellectual property rights and comply with legislation, companies need to get the proper permissions from the content’s owner prior to using it for their commercial purposes,” explains this Convince&Convert article.
If an influencer signs away the rights to their original content, then the brand has the ability to use it however they’d like. This should be discussed at the very start of the agreement, as it could impact which influencers agree to the terms of the campaign. It may also impact how much the influencer is compensated – depending on whether their content will be utilized in commercials, print, internally, and so on.
At Find Your Influence, we have it written into our agreements that the influencer maintains ownership of all of their content, unless otherwise negotiated on a case-by-case basis. We believe influencers should be protective of the original content and images they produce, and we work to help make the agreement processes as smooth as possible – with total visibility and understanding all around.
Setting these legal guidelines and adhering to agreement terms is critical for a positive relationship between brands and influencers. It’s best to discuss expectations up front, and determine what makes the most sense for the individuals, business and campaign.
Do you have any questions about brand-influencer agreements? Contact our team here.