Instagram has been a game changer for businesses in terms of content. The platform has allowed users to share content from brands they love and for brands to share content from their followers. This bridge between brand and consumer is a unique and powerful one, it is however one that can be easily misused.
When using (regramming) other people’s content on Instagram (or any social media platform) it is essential that brands be aware of the best practice to legally use and share other people’s images.
What does Instagram have to say about it?
Instagram doesn’t include the ability to share user’s content directly to your feed within its app. This would lead you to assume that sharing another user’s content is a violation of Instagram’s current Terms of Service. But it’s not. Instagram states you are responsible for any content you post. Which means also being responsible for the proper use of shared content, ensuring you have the appropriate permissions to use that content on your own social media feeds.
What are the guidelines when it comes to seeking permission to share content?
This brings us into copyright ownership. When posting an original piece of content to social media the user owns the copyright to that piece of content. This means they own the right to any revenue or benefits afforded to that content.
As regramming content on Instagram is the nature of the beast, the implications of copyright ownership is simply something to keep in mind, as it can result in legal action. However if you aren’t directly selling product using someone else’s image, often you will be just be asked to remove the image being used without permission.
How should a brand seek permission?
There are two kinds of consent; implied and explicit. Implied consent is when users post content expecting it to be shared. For example many brands will have unique hashtags, which they will encourage their followers to use. When posting using the hashtag it is then implied consent that the image could be shared.
Implied consent is not a formal release of copyright, and when possible it is best practice to also get explicit consent. Explicit consent is when you receive direct permission from the person to use their content. Brands can do this either through a comment on the original post or by direct messaging the person responsible for the original content.
Copyright waivers when it comes to Influencer marketing.
Another big focus by brands is the use of influencers to create content that they can then share on social media. It is important to have a copyright waiver in place in contracts that will allow you to use this content. It is also important to know whether you will need to credit the influencer in post copy, or whether your brand owns the images once they are created.
How should a brand give attribution to the original creator of content?
Finally when sharing an image (that is not being used to sell a product) you can credit the original creator. This is easily done by tagging the user in the post copy and on the image itself. It is essential that a brand never posts images that they do not own without crediting.