Social media influencers and content creators work hard to establish a reputation as subject matter experts for specific topics, brands, and industries. The influencer marketing industry is expected to be worth $15 billion by 2022, accounting for roughly 15% of total global ad spending. Influencers create various forms of protectable intellectual property while creating content and a brand. So, how do you safeguard your digital content?
While much intellectual property (IP) rights are automatic, there are several reasons to register your IP, including:
- You can only sue for monetary damages if someone infringes on your registered copyright or trademarks.
- Official registration reduces the risk of others stealing your creative works and marks. Registered trademarks help make your brand more recognizable.
- Trademark registration also prevents others from using your name or logos to mislead or steal your audience.
In this article, we will provide common examples of influencer-created IP. We’ll also go over some fundamentals to ensure you’re respecting others’ intellectual property rights and adhering to each social platform’s intellectual property policies.
Let’s start with the intellectual property verticals that are most relevant to social media influencers.
Influencers and Creators Shared Intellectual Property
Social media influencers create content that can be protected as intellectual property. The most common are trademarks and copyrights. Domain names, logos, hashtags, and online aliases can all be trademarked.
Copyright protection can be obtained for videos, photos, written text, artwork, and sound recordings. You can also copyright your images and visuals, as well as dance moves, slogans, and phrases.
While copyright protects your creative content from being used without your permission, trademarks can prevent others from misrepresenting your brand to followers. Both types of IP allow you to distinguish yourself from others and profit from your content.
Influencers Must Respect Others’ Intellectual Property Rights
Just as you would expect others to respect your intellectual property rights and seek permission or pay for a license to use your copyrighted or trademarked work, you must carefully protect the intellectual property rights of others. If you want to reference another creator or use their work on your social media, make sure you get permission first. If you make any direct references to another brand, including their products or services, you should seek permission from them first.
To summarize, always seek permission before using any of the following content:
- Brand names
- Products and services of a brand
- Videos, photos, and visuals created by someone else
- Written text, artwork, sound recordings
- Another brand’s slogan or phrases
Social Media Platforms’ Intellectual Property Rules
In addition to educating yourself on intellectual property rights and rules in general, each platform has its own set of IP rules that must be followed.
Steps to Safeguard Your Digital Content
The Future of Digital Content Protection on social media
The impact of NFTs on intellectual property protection for influencers and content creators has recently sparked renewed interest. NFTs, also known as “nonfungible tokens,” are essentially certificates of authenticity embedded in the blockchain, making them suitable for intangible assets produced online such as artwork, music, videos, and graphics (as well as other digital content). Whether an NFT is their original work or incorporates another creator’s copyrighted work, content creators are still protected by copyright law.
Stevie Nicks made headlines when she barred TikTok sensation 420Doggface208 from using the Fleetwood Mac song “Dreams” in his viral skateboarding video as part of an NFT sale. This serves as a reminder to always exercise caution to ensure that your creations do not infringe on the copyright of others. You should also make certain that your online creations are protected by copyright or trademark law so that others do not steal your original works.