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Influencers and intellectual property

Mar 5, 2021 | Intellectual Property

Studies show that people spend an average of over two hours every day on social media sites. With that engagement comes the enormous potential for reaching users. This is where social media influencers come in and why they can be a valuable component of a business’ marketing and operations.

Thus, it can be crucial for individuals and businesses to understand more about the creation, use and ownership of content from influencers.

Creating content 

Whether you are an influencer or are hiring one, you should have an agreement that dictates the rules for who will be responsible for creating content. Will the business prepare materials, or will the influencer be accountable for generating unique content? Will parties collaborate?

Note that whoever creates the content must also comply with laws that prohibit false or deceptive advertising.

Using and sharing content

Once you are clear on the content, you will want to confirm how to use and share the material. A primary reason people hire influencers is the reach and audience they already bring to the table. However, businesses may want an influencer to meet specific metrics, like clicks or purchases. Again, parties should detail these details in an agreement.

There can also be concerns with giving access to proprietary information to an influencer for the purposes of promoting a business. In these cases, confidentiality agreements can be vital. If the influencer is an employee, it may be worth considering a non-compete contract.

Owning content

Ownership of the content created or promoted by an influencer depends on several factors, from who made the content to whether that person has an employment agreement in place that cedes ownership to a business.

Generally, the creator of intellectual property has the right to ownership. As this article discusses further, a business that hires an influencer to create content generally does not get to retain ownership of that content unless they have an agreement stating otherwise.

That said, ownership can get complicated. Such can be the case when parties collaborate or when there is no agreement in place to define who owns – and therefore controls – content.

Content creation is a dynamic industry, and what that comes confusing legal matters parties must address. Before entering into any partnership or campaign, it can be wise for parties to have legal representation.

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