Amanda Schreyer

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Industry insiders say one of the most important things influencers should look out for when signing a contract with a brand are “usage rights.” 

What are usage rights? Simply stated: It refers to the ways brands are able to repurpose an influencer’s image or video across a brand’s own social-media accounts or marketing materials.

For instance, a brand could request the right to include an influencer’s picture of themselves wearing a product in the brand’s marketing emails to customers for 90 days. A brand could also request to re-share an influencer’s Instagram Story on its own account. 

In influencer marketing, the influencer owns the rights to their content and the brand has to be granted, or purchase, those rights.

“In traditional media, if someone acts as a talent in a video or a television commercial, that person doesn’t own the commercial, the advertiser owns the commercial,” said Amanda Schreyer, a media, marketing, and technology lawyer and counsel at Morse, a law firm based out of Waltham, MA. “But in influencer marketing, it’s the other way around.”

Schreyer has worked with content creators for nearly a decade, assisting in negotiations and contract reviews, as well as working closely with marketers and brands. She said brands have sought more access and control as the industry has developed, which is why usage rights have popped up in contracts more frequently.

In influencer-brand contracts, usage rights can often be found under sections titled “Usage Rights,” “Licensing,” or “Ownership.”

Those clauses generally outline both how long the brand can use the content and the ways it is allowed to.

“Sometimes that’s two weeks, other times there is a default of 90 days or a year,” Schreyer said of the amount of time. The longer and more elaborate the usage, the higher the price tag for those rights.

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Veronica Bonilla, a content creator on Instagram with around 50,000 followers, said a brand requested usage rights to her images for three years as part of a recent campaign and her management negotiated payment of over $20,000. The added usage rights for three years tripled her base rate for this partnership, she said.

But granting usage rights for long time periods can sometimes become a conflict for creators, said Beca Alexander, the president and founder of Socialyte, an influencer management company.

For instance, if an influencer shared content about a brand one month, but the usage rights last three months, a brand could continue posting the influencer’s content on its social-media accounts or as a paid advertisement. Another brand the influencer wants to work with could see this as an obstacle to doing a deal.

“What we would do, if that influencer is relatively mid- to higher-tier caliber, is basically charge a brand the value of that piece of content for three months,” Alexander said.

Beyond the time period, the manner in which a brand can use the content is also often a part of usage rights negotiations.

The most common way brands seek to re-use content is by re-posting the influencer’s content on the brand’s social media page — …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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