User-generated content (UGC) has become the lifeblood of social marketing campaigns—but it is also a ticking bomb for marketers who neglect intellectual property rights.

Although social media users are awaking to the reality that they don't control their public photos and videos, people are still sensitive about how those photos are monetized—and users will draw a line.

Though most marketers realize that repurposing UGC without permission is risky business, they haven't stopped the practice.

The Necessity of Respecting Digital Rights

The idea of UGC devolving into a costly legal battles and messy PR spectacles is a scary thought for most marketers. User-generated videos and photos, such as the successful ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and recent Super Bowl campaigns, have sparked unparalleled levels of participation, excitement, and "virality."

Staged, professional images simply don't deliver the same raw emotion and authenticity as UGC.

Moreover, UGC is especially popular with the coveted Millennials who now spend 5.4 hours per day or 30% of their media time with UGC and trust it more than any other form of content.

Nonetheless, social networks and brands continue to play with fire.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Petri Rahja

Petri Rahja is founder and CEO of Scoopshot, a mobile platform for photo and video crowdsourcing.

LinkedIn: Petri Rahja 

Twitter: @prahja