Influencer Content Usage Rights - All You Need to Know [ + Free Outreach Templates ]

May 23, 2024
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11 Min
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Peter Nettesheim
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Influencer Content Usage Rights - All You Need to Know [ + Free Outreach Templates ]

Are you a brand looking to reuse influencer content for your paid social, organic social, your website or any other channel? Well chances are you will need to negotiate with the content creator for usage rights. In this article we will explain in detail everything you need to know as a brand to navigate the waters when negotiating usage rights. Fact is not all forms of using content require usage rights. Yes, that is correct but other forms do. So avoid any conflict with content creators and let's dive right in!

What are usage rights?

In essence usage rights are the terms content creators and brands agree on on how content is being reused by the brand. A more official definition would be as following: 

Usage rights refer to the legal permissions governing how content such as text, images, music, and videos can be used, distributed, and modified. These rights outline what actions are permitted or restricted for the user and often stem from copyright laws. Usage rights can be granted through licenses, which specify terms like duration, scope, and geographic area. Understanding usage rights is crucial for both creators and consumers to avoid legal issues and respect intellectual property.

The importance of usage rights for brands

Usage rights are important to avoid any legal issues when working  with influencers. They define how, where, and for how long content can be used, preventing any conflicts due to misunderstandings. Clear usage rights agreements help maintain brand integrity, avoid potential legal disputes, and ensure that content aligns with brand guidelines.

Besides legal issues there is also the reputational risk in case an influencer decides to go public about any negative experience working with your brand. This could lead to an upset audience leaving negative comments on your social media and will reduce your goodwill which often takes money and time to recover from. Although it is often difficult to quantify these damages it is certainly better to avoid this all together. 

How to ask and negotiate usage rights with influencers

This depends on the way you want to reuse the influencer content. There are typically three or four ways brands can reuse the content: 

  1. Paid social 
  2. Organic social 
  3. Website 
  4. Newsletter 

1. Paid social

One of the most common ways influencer content is being reused by brands is through paid channels. This can be through Meta, TikTok or any of the other advertising networks. When using influencer content for your paid social, always make sure to ask for approval and discuss usage rights with the influencer. Before we dive into the legal details try to think what would be best for the relationship towards the influencer and in most cases you are on the right path. Think about it, wouldn't you feel used or exploited if all of sudden you see an advertisement with your face on it come through while browsing through social media without ever having agreed to having your content reused? If it feels wrong it probably is. 

The good thing is you don’t always have to pay for reusing the content. Yes, some influencers will ask money for reusing their content but if you ask nicely and explain your situation chances are some influencers simply want to support you as a brand and might agree to letting you reuse the content without additional charge. It is always worth the ask, right? The Worst thing that can happen is that the influencer asks for money and you can decide if it is worth it or not. 

When asking for permission to reuse the content always highlight the benefit for the influencer. This will strengthen your negotiation position and might even lead to the influencer agreeing to letting you use the content for free. Use the template below to ask the influencer for permission to use their content for paid social.

TEMPLATE ASK FOR PAID ADS PERMISSION

Hi {{firstname}},

First of all, thank you so much for your beautiful post!

We really liked the way you genuinely explained the benefits of the
ENTER PRODUCT NAME and would love to continue to use the video for our paid marketing on Meta.

We will make sure to add your handle to the advertisement. As we will put a budget behind this video it will reach new people who are interested in
ENTER YOUR NICHE related content. This way you would be able to increase your personal branding and following as well! 

We were able to save the video. Could we use it for our marketing? :) 

Best,


ENTER YOUR NAME

You can see from the template that we highlight the benefit for the influencer when we use their content for our ads. Think about it: what is the biggest asset of the influencer? You guessed it, it is their audience. If you are doing things right you are most likely trying to reach the same audience as the influencer which is probably the reason you worked with him or her in the first place. In other words you will pay to get their profile in front of new people in the influencers ( as well as your) target audience. It is a clear win win. Highlight that this can lead to an increased following and personal brand awareness for the influencer. Combine this with a highlighting that you are a small business working with limited budgets and chances are that the influencer will let you reuse the content for free. 

Besides reusing the content another way brands are increasing their Meta performance is through a process called whitelisting where brands run the ads through the profile of the influencer. To do this you could highlight the same benefits and mutually beneficial working relationship. To read how to partner with influencers for whitelisting access our full article here.

How to get usage rights if the influencer is asking for payment

In case the influencer is asking for payment make sure to come to agreement on the following points: 

  • Clearly clarify how the content will be reused. In this case for paid social and explain on which platform E.g. Meta or TikTok 
  • The duration you will be using the content. E.g. 6 or 12 months 
  • Geographics scope: E.g. United States 

Should you use a written contract for usage rights?

This depends on the situation. If you are working at a larger company typically your legal team will require you to work with contracts anyways. When you work for a smaller or medium sized company it depends on the type of campaign and influencer. If you work with many different influencers and the creative asset is easily replaceable sometimes a written agreement through email is sufficient. In case anything changes you could simply stop using the content and replace it with a creative of another influencer. 

If the investment of creating the video or image was high and for example you paid the influencer a fixed payment with the main focus to re use the content and you are planning to use a larger media ad spend on this creative it is recommended to use a written contract and have it  signed by the influencer. 

What to include in an influencer contract?

It is typically recommended to include a: Intellectual property ownership section in your influencer contract where you highlight and mention the details in regards to the usage rights. 

Below is an example how this could look like:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Grant of Rights.

Influencer hereby grants the Permitted Users permission (but not the obligation) to use the Posts for Commercial and Corporate Purposes throughout the Territory in Digital Media during the Digital Usage Term, for which Influencer shall be properly tagged and credited in accordance with the subsections below. Influencer further grants the Permitted Users permission (but not the obligation) to refer to Influencer’s biography or statements pertaining to Influencer’s use of and experiences with Company and/or the Product(s) solely in connection with the use of the Posts.

a. Attribution Requirements. Influencer shall be properly tagged and credited in any use of the Posts by Permitted Users. Influencer understands and agrees that Influencer’s statements may be used in whole or in part and may be paraphrased, amplified, shortened, and/or put into conversational form to meet the requirements of copy, layout and/or script, provided that their general sense is not changed.

b. Digital Media & Digital Usage Term. “Digital Media” shall be defined as all digital or

electronic media, whether now known or hereinafter devised, above and below the line,

including but not limited to online and digital outlets or platforms (including all devices and applications used to access over-the-top content), websites, social media services and platforms, email, digital communication services and platforms, mobile applications, digital displays, screens, and digital advertisements. Use of any Post for Commercial Purposes in Digital Media shall be authorized for a period of [written number] ([#]) months, beginning on the date Influencer publishes the Post to the Account (“Digital Usage Term”). Notwithstanding the foregoing, use by Permitted Users under this Agreement shall be limited to non-paid, non-sponsored, non-boosted, organic reposting or republication of the applicable Post.

c. Usage.

i. Permitted Users. “Permitted Users” shall be defined as Company, its parent, affiliates, joint venture partners, wholesalers, distributors, licensees, and authorized agents.

ii. Commercial Purposes. “Commercial Purposes” shall be defined as all digital and online advertising, marketing, and communication uses directed at or intended for consumers.

iii. Corporate Purposes. “Corporate Purposes” shall be defined as all non-advertising use not directed at or intended for consumers, including but not limited to historical archival reference, industry business related public relations, educational seminars and presentations, annual reports, business meetings and events, exhibits, corporate office displays, private presentations, and brand historical purposes. Use of a Post for Corporate Purposes shall be authorized in perpetuity (“Corporate Purposes Term”). Use of a Post for Corporate Purposes shall not be subject to the Digital Usage Term.

iv. Independence of Usage Terms. For the avoidance of doubt, the Digital Usage Term and Corporate Purposes Term shall run independently of each other. Permitted Users shall not be required to remove, hide, archive, or otherwise take down Posts after the Digital Usage Term, so long as the Permitted User first published such Post during the respective Usage Term in accordance with this Agreement.

v. Subsequent Unauthorized Use. Except as may be otherwise provided in this

Agreement, Company shall not use or disseminate any Post upon expiration or termination of this Agreement. Company shall not order the use of any Post that would commence or continue after the expiration of the Term except as authorized under this Agreement. Influencer understands and agrees that any unauthorized use by third parties (including, but not limited to, vendors, wholesalers, distributors, retailers, licensees, partners, and consumers) of Posts previously disseminated in accordance with this Agreement, shall not constitute a breach by Company.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

You can access our full influencer contract template for free here. 

2. Organic social

Another frequent way influencer content is reused by brands is through organic social media. This includes simply reposting the content on your brand's social media E.g. Instagram or TikTok account. 

Compared to paid social this is typically a bit less formal meaning that you don’t always need to use a contract. This again depends on your situation. If you work for a larger company chances are your legal team will require you to still use contracts to bullet proof any legal liabilities and still use contracts. However with the large amounts of content which circulate it can sometimes be tricky to keep track of everything. 

For medium to smaller companies we typically recommend to simply credit the influencer in the post. What we frequently do with clients is to repost the influencer content, tag the influencer and mention the influencer in the caption. Make sure to put the influencer into the spotlight and add an CTA ( call to action ) for your followers to follow the influencer for more great content. As the influencer sees that you are supporting them and they benefit from your exposure which will probably result in an increased following for their account an influencer would rarely ask you to take down the content. This is typically also a great way to re-engage the influencer which can lead to additional posts and great engagement. We recommend incorporating this as a general social media strategy. 

If you prefer to ask the influencer first before reporting the content use our template below. 

TEMPLATE ASK FOR REPOSTING PERMISSION

Hi {{firstname}} ,

First of all, thank you so much for your beautiful post!

We really liked the way you genuinely explained the benefits of the
ENTER PRODUCT NAME and would love to continue to use the video for our social media.

We will make sure to always add your handle so if people see it it will also increase your personal brand and following.

We were able to save the video you posted, just wanted to ask your permission to continue to use the video :) 

Best, 

ENTER YOUR NAME

Again always keep the tone friendly and highlight the benefits for the influencer to agreeing to what you are trying to achieve. 

3. Using influencer content for your website

Using influencer content for your website is a great way to increase social proof. If you are using it for your website we recommend quickly asking the influencer. Highlight their benefits of enjoying an increased personal brand exposure. If they ask for a payment, discuss the terms. 

Conclusion

Understanding and securing usage rights is essential for brands leveraging influencer content. By navigating these rights correctly, brands can avoid legal pitfalls, protect their reputation, and foster positive relationships with influencers. Whether for paid or organic social media, website use, or other channels, clear agreements ensure that both parties benefit and that content usage aligns with legal and ethical standards. Dive into the details and safeguard your brand's success in influencer marketing.

FAQs
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