Social Media Marketing

UGC Rights: What You Need to Know Before Sharing Content

UGC rights ensure who can reuse the creator’s content and how. So, if you’re a business owner and want to repurpose your audience’s content, our advice would be ‘tread carefully’.


As a consumer who actively shares your daily activities—what you’re eating, what you’re watching, where you’re hanging out—on social media, how would you feel if a brand, without any consent, reposts your Instagram post? Feels like a threat to privacy, right? Well, this is where user-generated content (UGC) rights come in.

UGC rights ensure who can reuse the creator’s content and how. So, if you’re a business owner and want to repurpose your audience’s content, our advice would be ‘tread carefully’. First, understand the nuances of leveraging user-generated content and then get into action.

If you’re wondering what UGC rights are and what you can do to get all the benefits of repurposing UGC without getting caught in a legal tussle, continue reading!

What are content usage rights?

Content usage rights are basically the permissions and restrictions that govern how you can use, share, and modify someone else’s content. They determine what you’re legally allowed to do with that content without infringing on the original creator’s rights.

So, if you come across a cool photo or an interesting article online, the usage rights will tell you if you can repost it, modify it, or use it for any other purposes. These rights are often determined by copyright laws, licenses, and terms of service set by the content creator or the platform hosting the content.

Why are content usage rights important?

It may be easy to reach out to an influencer to create content for your brand but it’s another thing to show respect to their work. The first step to achieving that is understanding the importance of content usage right.

Stay on the right side of the law

Usage rights help keep everything legal and above board. You don’t want to end up in any copyright trouble or be accused of stealing someone’s content.

Knowing and respecting usage rights ensures that you’re on the right side of the

law. Besides, when you collaborate with influencers, usage rights determine who owns the content they create.

This is crucial because it protects both the brand and the influencer. Everyone needs to know where they stand and how the content can be used.

Understand how to use the content

Usage rights also dictate how the brand can distribute and repurpose the influencer’s work. This is a big deal because it allows you to squeeze the most out of that content.

You can use it across different platforms, like social media, your website, and even in advertisements. It also helps you maintain your brand’s reputation as you show influencers, their audiences, and the wider world that you’re professional and ethical.

Build solid relationships with influencers

When everyone understands what can and can not be done with the content, there are fewer chances for misunderstandings or conflicts. Trust is key in influencer marketing, so it’s important to establish that trust from the get-go.

Adhering to these rights means that you respect the creative work of the influencers and don’t use it without their permission. By valuing and protecting their content, you contribute to a healthier influencer ecosystem, and that benefits everyone involved.

What are the types of content usage rights?

There are a few key types of content usage rights that you should be aware of.

These are:

All rights reserved: This is the most restrictive type of usage right, where the content creator retains all rights to their work.

Without explicit permission, you cannot use, modify, or distribute the content. It’s crucial to respect these rights to avoid legal issues.

Copyright: Copyright grants exclusive rights to creators, controlling how their work is used, copied, and distributed.

Obtaining proper licenses or permissions is essential when using copyrighted material to avoid infringing on the creator’s rights.

Creative Commons: Creative Commons licenses offer more flexibility. They allow creators to specify the permissions they grant to others, such as free use with attribution, modifications, or even commercial use.

Understanding the specific Creative Commons license is important to ensure compliance with its terms.

Public domain: Content in the public domain is freely available for use, as its intellectual property rights have expired, been forfeited, or never existed.

However, it’s still wise to verify the public domain status of content before using it to avoid potential misunderstandings.

Fair use: Fair use provides limited use of copyrighted material without explicit permission. This exception applies to purposes such as criticism, commentary, news reporting, teaching, and research.

However, determining fair use requires careful consideration of legal factors, so it’s advisable to consult legal counsel if uncertain.

What are the common UGC content legal issues?

Now that we have seen the importance and types of content usage rights, let’s see the type of legal issues that may arise due to non-adherence to these rights.

Copyright infringement:

Copyright infringement is when you use someone else’s copyrighted work without their permission. It includes things like using, copying, distributing, or displaying that content without the proper authorization.

If you use UGC without getting permission or the necessary licenses from the creators, you’re treading into dangerous territory that can land you in trouble with copyright infringement claims.

Privacy violations:

Privacy violations occur when someone crosses the line and shares their private information without their permission. Respecting people’s privacy is extremely important when it comes to user-generated content (UGC).

You don’t want to be the one violating someone’s privacy by sharing their personal information, photos, or videos without permission.

Intellectual property infringement:

Intellectual property infringement is when you use someone else’s creative work without their permission.

It could be using their trademarked logo, copying their artwork, or even replicating their patented invention without the go-ahead. Make sure to obtain proper authorization or ensure your use falls under applicable exceptions like fair use.

Contractual obligations:

Contractual obligations refer to the responsibilities and duties that arise from a legally binding agreement between two or more parties. It’s like promises you make and have to keep because you signed on the dotted line.

In the context of UGC and using it for commercial purposes, such as advertising or promotions, it’s crucial to honor any contractual obligations or agreements made with content creators. Failing to do so can result in legal disputes that you’d rather avoid.

What are the best practices to obtain user-generated content rights?

There are several ways that you can follow to ensure you have the necessary permissions and legal rights to use and share the content that your users or influencers have created for your brand. Here are some of them:

Ask for permission on social media

Social media platforms are not just for your consumers to find you. You can also find your user and reach out to them. When a user posts a picture or video showcasing your product, you can comment on that post or message them privately to ask whether not they would be okay if you reused their content.

Most of the time users feel delighted to be reached out by a brand and are more than happy to give their permission. Even if they are not comfortable, you’ll save yourself from a public backlash or even worse, a lawsuit.

Give credit to the content creator

Giving credit is essential because it shows respect for the original creator’s hard work and builds trust. When sharing user-generated content on platforms like Instagram or Twitter, make sure to tag the content creator in your post and mention them in the caption (e.g., “Credit: @username” or “Photo by: @username”).

It creates a positive environment, encourages engagement, and lets everyone know who’s behind the content. By giving credit where it’s due, you foster a collaborative community and strengthen relationships with content creators.

Obtain implicit or explicit consent

Getting consent when repurposing user-generated content (UGC) is important to keep things ethical. Reach out directly to the content creator through private messages or email to get their explicit consent.

Ask them if they would be okay with you repurposing their UGC and clearly explain how you plan to use it. Wait for a clear yes before taking any action.

If the content is already out there publicly without usage restrictions, you can take it as implicit consent. Still, it’s good to reach out, show appreciation, and let them know your intentions. If they have concerns, respect their wishes.

Leverage the UGC rights management platform

Using a UGC rights management platform is a game-changer for repurposing user-generated content (UGC). It streamlines the whole process, making it super easy.

You can request permissions, keep track of who said yes, organize your UGC library, and ensure compliance with content usage rights. Plus, it helps you give proper credit to the content creators.

With this platform, you save time, reduce legal risks, and show respect for the folks who contribute to UGC. It’s a win-win situation that simplifies everything and keeps your content game strong!

Try Idukki – Get Content Rights Easily

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Bottom line

In the fast-paced digital world we live in, content usage rights have become a crucial topic to navigate. Whether you’re a business or an individual, it’s important to understand the ins and outs of using user-generated content (UGC) ethically and legally.

From copyright issues to privacy concerns, there are common legal pitfalls to avoid. But fear not! By following best practices like obtaining consent, documenting permissions, and utilizing UGC rights management platforms, you can safeguard your business and foster a positive environment.

Let’s remember to respect content creators, build trust, and create a win-win situation for everyone involved in the world of UGC.

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