Brands are making a big play for our content so make sure you cross your t’s and dot your i’s!
It’s a casual afternoon on any given day and you’ve decided to wear your favourite outfit from that retailer you just love and of course post a picture that serves as digital evidence that the outfit happened and you looked great. In true ‘IGers’ nature you tag and hashtag the relevant brands to spread the word of your ootd and show brand loyalty, then casually go on about your life. Later in the day you revisit the gram to see how your likes tally up and to your amazement and disbelief, your favourite retailer has reposted your obviously très chic photo but sans your approval and sans any credit.
This lovely anecdote that I conceived in the 5 minutes it took me to type it out, happens to detail a scenario that is all too common in digital spaces where user generated content is in high demand and unfortunately this has happened to me before. One of South Africa’s big detergent brands- I shall refrain from mentioning names, used one of my photos in an advertising campaign on Facebook without any credit to me whatsoever. If I wasn’t alerted by my aunt who was informed by her friend that her niece is on Facebook modelling for a big brand then the whole thing would’ve continued and I would have been none the wiser. Fortunately for me all I had to do was send an email expressing my distaste at what had transpired and the photo was subsequently removed following an apology from the brand.
This of course is the exception and not the rule. Most times there is a long drawn out legal battle that ensues and a deep regret for accepting terms and conditions prior to fully understanding them. It has also come to my attention that brands these days are twisting the copyright laws of various social media sharing platforms to suit their end game. So even though through your use of any sharing social media platform you grant that platform the rights to use your photo, you do not however transfer your ownership of the photos to the given platform. The nature of content sharing networks though is to enable other users to reshare your content and this almost always happens without your constant consent but even so this doesn’t mean you do not own the rights to your content if it is original. If you feel that your images are not being used to your satisfaction then there fortunately are avenues that allow you to address and resolve your grievances.
I suppose realistically you can’t control whether your content is ‘stolen’ or not but you can make sure that should you find yourself in such a situation, you’re well read in what your rights are and what your next move should be. For future reference, I think its best we start reading those T’s and C’s!
Hashtag at your own risk!
Bershka Jeans // Forever 21 Bodysuit // Zara Red Snakeskin Handbag
Photos by: Kunle Amuwo Jr (@dat_kjay)