There’s no doubt about it, Instagram is home to some wonderful content creators and when you aren’t so creatively inclined yourself, it might seem harmless to regram an awesome pic to fill up your feed, but there are a few things you need to know before you do.
Just because it’s in the public domain, doesn’t mean it’s a free-for-all.
The original content creator retains the rights to their image and anyone using them is subject to copyright laws.
Instagram’s terms of service (TOS) don’t explicitly state that you cannot regram (though the fact that they don’t allow this feature within the app suggests that they don’t want it to be something that is easily done). They do however state that you are solely responsible for your conduct and the content you post on the app*. This includes ensuring you have express permission from the content creator when you regram their pics.
*It’s worth noting that these terms extend to ALL content used, not just content found on Instagram. This means images that you find on Google, Facebook or Pinterest are also subject to copyright laws.
But they’ve posted a picture of my product, surely I can repost that without permission?
Well, no. The content creator still owns the copyright of that image and is therefore legally entitled to any revenue or benefits that may arise from that content.
That doesn’t mean that the content is completely off limits, however. If the content creator is your Brand Rep and you’ve both agreed in a Brand Rep contract that you may use their images for your Social Media and Marketing, then you don’t need to ask each time.
If the creator is one of your lovely customers, then all you have to do is ask! You can drop them a comment under the pic that says ‘Love your pic! May I reshare on my feed?’
In all likelihood the person will respond, ‘Of course! Go for it!’ And you can go ahead and share the photo!
So If I love someone’s photo, how can I share it?
Firstly, ask explicit permission (explicit permission is having a written ‘yes, you can use it,” as opposed to implied permission, which would be regramming from a brand hashtag or a tagged post). Once you have that permission you can share the photo.
While not legal requirements, some basic courtesies should be followed after you’ve received permission to share:
- Give credit. The best credit is a note in the original caption as well as a tag in the image.
- Keep the image in its original form. Don’t add a tacky filter over someone’s hard work. It’s insulting.
- Always ask for permission for every photo you share. Permission given once is not a free for all on that person’s feed.
Where else can I get content that is legal to post?
There’s a few options here (and warning, I am going to plug myself):
- Create your own content. This is time consuming and might not turn out exactly as you like if you’re not camera and editing savvy, but they are images that you’ll definitely own.
- Hire a Content Creator (*ahem* raises hand) who can create you a reservoir of styled and consistent content to use in your feed. This is ideal if you have products that you need photographed but don’t have the time, equipment or props to do it yourself. My packages are here.
- Lastly, you can purchase stock content. This is great if you need filler content or have virtual services and need a great visual to accompany your captions. More and more Instagram targeted, styled content is becoming available now and most you will be able to alter to your needs and post without credit. My styled stock photography is here.
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