Becoming an Instagram influencer is one of the most coveted jobs in the world, and very few people make a successful living as an influencer online. Influencers and the brands they advertise for need to be careful that they do not violate federal laws regarding deceptive practices or copyright laws in their social media posts. Violation of these laws can lead to heavy fines and other serious penalties that could permanently affect your reputation and profession as an influencer online. Below are some tips to help Instagram influencers avoid legal trouble and help their businesses thrive.
Tips for Avoiding Deceptive Practices
Deceptive practices refers to misleading social media posts that fail to inform the viewer when the post is sponsored or paid. If convicted of deceptive practices in influencer posts, you could be held liable for serious fines and other damages. When posting content on your Instagram and other social media accounts, be sure to abide by the following tips:
- Always reveal compensation deals on posts by tagging them #ad, #sponsored, or #paid in a clear and conspicuous manner
- Material incentives, such as getting to keep the products sponsored, count as being paid, and influencers must disclose them
- For companies, sending free product with the intent of a good review counts as material incentive
- Brands and companies are also responsible for affiliates and influencers’ actions and should send them posting and disclosure expectations
- Influencers should also be sent intellectual property guidelines that explain how they can and cannot use your company’s trademarks or other intellectual property in their posts
- If you run a contest or giveaway, be clear about the rules and follow FTC guidelines. Failure to do so can risk suspension of your social media accounts
Tips for Avoiding Copyright Infringement
In addition to deceptive practices, Instagram influencers can also potentially violate copyright laws and commit plagiarism depending on what they post on their social media feeds. If quoting someone, be sure to give them credit. Cite or link to your sources and put quotation marks around what others have said. Paraphrase whenever possible to avoid possible plagiarism of others.
When it comes to photographs, all photos that the influencer takes automatically imbue the influencer with copyright protections. You can enforce your copyright on your photos if others use what you have created online. However, that also means that the photos and imagery of others is also copyrighted, and influencers can violate those copyrights if they use images without the owner’s consent. This is a common problem when influencers pull photographs from Google or other search engines. Simply because it is available online does not mean it is free to use. Most images on Google are copyrighted, so be sure to get permission before using someone else’s imagery.
Call or Contact an Attorney Today
The last thing you want as an Instagram influencer is claims of plagiarism or deceptive practices on your social media sites. To avoid these legal and reputational issues, talk to a Counsel for Creators attorney to learn more.