UGC and Rights Management - Ducksuite

UGC and Rights Management

The explosion of user-generated content, or UGC has shifted the way people interact with brands.

Instead of consumers taking the brands saying for the truth, consumers are turning to each other for trustworthy and unbiased opinions. These opinions is more and more expressed through photos and visuals. This change in consumer behavior started with bloggers, where are person could blog about anything and with the adoption of smartphones which is fueled by consumers’ passion and interest, and has been embraced by brands as the future of marketing.

With UGC, comes great responsibility. When a brand turns to user created content in place of brand produced content, there are some risks that brands need to  be aware of. In order to keep out of a copyright fight, it is important for brands to know their legal rights – but also to acknowledge the rights of the user. In this post we have outlined the practices of collecting visual content with the consent of the user.

Why do we need rights management?
Rights management is the foundation of getting permission to use user created content – especially when this is going to be used for commercial purposes. Brands are seeing true value by leveraging UGC in order to drive more traffic to a website, build trust and a closer relation with their customers, set a trustworthy storytelling about their brand and much more.

UGC has the power to make the marketing efforts for a brand pop, to perform better than brand published content – but in order to do so, the brand needs to acquire the rights to use it. Just because you see a great picture on a social platform and collect it, means that you own it. By getting a permission from the user for using the specific photo, ensures that your brand and the consumer have a mutual agreement on the use of the photo.

What type of permission do marketers need?
When starting a UGC campaign, it is important to determine the purpose of the use before starting collecting images. This will ensure that the terms and conditions are up to date, so that the user knows exactly to which conditions the image will be used.

If a brand is having a live event at a store or stadium, where the pictures only will be used for that event specific, implied consent with a branded hashtag may be suffice. If the content is intended for commercial use, such as digital advertising, product pictures on webshop, or in other self-owned media, hashtag consent is preferred.

Implied consent
One way to obtain permission is with implied consent, where the user includes a branded hashtag along with the photo. Brands will on social media, in newsletters and through other customer channels write the terms and conditions on uploading a picture with the specific branded hashtag. The problem with this form of permission, is that you can’t be certain that the user have seen or read the terms and conditions – hence the implied. It could just be a user that likes your brand and want to post a picture of your brand.

Hashtag consent
The other and secure way to obtain permission, is the hashtag consent. This permission differs from implied consent, because it requires the copyright holder of the image to act in order for it to be reused. This is done by sending a in-channel message after they have uploaded the image, asking them to add an additional hashtag in the comment field to demonstrate their consent. The massage will also contain a link to the terms and condition for the user to know how the image can be used. An example of this could be, “Very cool picture you have there. We’d love to use your picture in our advertising and other promotion material. Please read our terms and conditions and reply back with #YESbrand to give your consent”.

How ducksuite can help you
ducksuite offers a visual marketing platform, that makes it simple for a brand to collect, curate and publish any user created photo. With our permission management system, you will be able to collect permissions in an automated way that saves precious time and makes sure that you only use pictures where the user have given you the rights to reuse it.