When Reposting Photos and Videos, You Have To Master The Legalese

On social media sites, the aim is to share — share our feelings, our thoughts about the world, the photos we take or things we’re looking forward to. It’s a powerful way to connect with others, even if they happen to be at the opposite end of the world. This opportunity has changed life as we know it. But what does “sharing” mean for companies looking to cash in on user-generated content?

In a whitepaper exploring the legal implications of user-generated content, lawyer Bob Latham notes that though “UGC presents great opportunities for both users and website operators, it also inevitably raises a host of potentially thorny legal questions.”

The answer, then, isn’t so clear. If we’re not careful, reposting content from others can mean entanglement in a lawsuit, whether it’s based on intellectual property rights, privacy or even defamation. And what business wants that blemish on their record?

This issue poses a boundary to companies who want to incorporate user-generated content into their marketing strategy. It definitely doesn’t mean, though, that they shouldn’t use this kind of content.

There’s no question why user-generated content has exploded in popularity over the years. It’s immensely valuable for increasing engagementramping up sales and fostering conversations with your audience — a priceless tool. So where can businesses go from here?

As long as you can master the legalese of user-generated content, these issues shouldn’t arise. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind when you’re using photos and videos from everyday people.

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