Video marketing is booming. 2022 saw a 22% increase in digital marketing over the year before, and much of this is using user-generated or influencer video as the core assets.
Yet many digital marketers get asked by their account directors whether it is safe and legal to re-use the assets created by other people. Does it matter whether they contributed to a hashtag campaign with a prize? What if they were paid to create? What if they withdraw their consent later? Here is the definitive guide to what marketers need to know about downloading and re-using user-generated content.
Is it illegal to download social media video?
Many people think that it is illegal to download videos from social media, but this is not always the case. In order to determine whether or not downloading a video is legal, you need to consider the terms of service for the site in question as well as any consent forms that have been signed. For example, some sites allow users to download videos for personal use, but forbid them from editing or distributing the content. Others may require users to sign a content assignment form, which gives the site permission to use the video in any way they see fit. Finally, some sites may only allow videos to be downloaded in specific formats. If you are unsure about whether or not downloading a particular video is legal, it is best to contact the site directly and ask for permission.
As a basic principle, it is illegal to download videos from social media without the consent of the copyright holder. When you create or upload a video to social media, you grant the site a non-exclusive license to host, display, and distribute the video. This means that anyone who visits the site can view the video, but they cannot copy it or distribute it without your permission. If you as a marketing team want to download a video from social media, you need to get the copyright holder's consent first. The best way to do this is to find the original source of the video and contact the creator directly. If you can't find the original source, you can try searching for the video on a site like YouTube or Vimeo. However, be aware that many videos on these sites are illegal copies of copyrighted material. If you're not sure whether a video is illegal or not, it's best to err on the side of caution and avoid downloading it.
It is important to note that simply because you have obtained consent forms or have followed the terms of service does not mean that you are necessarily allowed to download the video. In some cases, you may need to obtain additional permission from the copyright holder. Additionally, you should be aware that even if you are allowed to download the video, there may be restrictions on how you can use it. For example, you may only be able to use it for personal use or you may be required to keep the downloaded copy in its original format. Therefore, before downloading any video from social media, it is important to research the copyright law and understand any restrictions that may apply.
Who owns the copyright on social media video content?
Whenever you create original content - whether it's a blog post, a photo, a video, or even just a comment on someone else's blog - you own the copyright to that content. However, when you upload that content to social media, you may be giving up some of those ownership rights. Most social media platforms have terms of service that include a clause stating that you are granting the site a license to use your content. This means that they can republish your content without having to get your permission first. In some cases, they may even be able to sell your content without compensating you. In addition, many social media platforms reserve the right to format your content in any way they see fit.
When it comes to social media, copyright law can be a minefield. Who owns the copyright on a post? The person who took the photo? The person who posted it? The company that owns the website? In general, the answer is complex and depends on a number of factors.
However, there are some general principles that can help to clarify the situation. First of all, it's important to understand that copyright law generally gives ownership of a work to the creator. That means that if you take a photo or write a blog post, you own the copyright unless you've explicitly assigned it to someone else.
Secondly, things get trickier when it comes to posts on social media. Most social media platforms have terms of service that include a content assignment clause. That means that by posting content on the platform, you're giving the platform a license to use and distribute your content. In some cases, you may also be consenting to having your content reformatted or edited. As a result, it's important to read the terms of service for each social media platform before you posting anything. Otherwise, you could be inadvertently giving away your rights.
How do brands ensure they own user-generated video content?
While user-generated videos can be a powerful marketing tool, brands need to be careful about how they use them. In many cases, simply using a video without the creator's permission can be illegal. Even if a video is posted publicly on a platform like YouTube, that doesn't mean that the brand has the right to use it. Many brands believe erroneously that by posting a hashtag competition on Instagram, TikTok or Facebook, that all images and videos tagged with that hashtag are willingly supplied to the brand. Terms and conditions are essential and can be added using a Linktree page or as a link in bio. However, to avoid potential legal issues, brands should only use user-generated videos if they have received explicit consent from the creator. This means getting written confirmation that the creator agrees to allow their video to be used, preferably in the form of a content assignment or similar document. In addition, brands should make sure that they format user-generated videos in line with their own style guidelines. This will help to ensure that the video feels like a natural part of the brand's overall content strategy.
When it comes to user-generated video content, brands need to be careful. While it can be tempting to simply repost videos that feature your product or that mention your company, doing so can actually be illegal. Unless you have the express permission of the person who filmed the video, you could be infringing on their copyright. Furthermore, even if you do have permission, you need to make sure that you're complying with the terms of service of the platform where the video is hosted. For example, YouTube requires that you have a signed consent form from all participants in a video before you can post it. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in your video being taken down and your account being suspended.
Finally, when posting user-generated videos, it's important to format them properly. This means including attribution information and ensuring that they are captioned and subtitled correctly. By taking these precautions, brands can ensure that they own user-generated video content and avoid any legal problems.
How does copyright work when running Instagram hashtag competitions?
Many brands and businesses run hashtag competitions on Instagram as a way to engage with their followers and promote their products or services. However, before you launch a hashtag competition, it's important to understand how copyright law applies. Hashtag competitions typically involve users submitting photos or videos that contain the brand's hashtag. The brand then selects a winner and reposts the winning content on their own account. While this may seem like a simple process, there are some potential copyright pitfalls to be aware of.
First, if you don't have the user's explicit permission to repost their content, you could be violating copyright law.
Second, even if you do have the user's permission, you'll need to make sure that they've assigned all of the relevant rights to you in a consent form.
Finally, if you're planning on selecting multiple winners, make sure that each piece of content is properly formatted so that it can be reposted on your account. By taking these steps, you can help ensure that your hashtag competition is compliant with copyright law.
What are the copyright implications for hashtag campaigns?
Many people are unaware that participating in a hashtag competition on Instagram can have legal implications. By entering a contest, users are typically required to agree to the host's terms and conditions, which may include a content assignment clause. This means that, by submitting their entry, participants are giving the host the right to use and modify their content in any way they see fit. In some cases, this can even include commercial use. Furthermore, many hosts do not bother to obtain consent forms from all of the participants, which can lead to illegal usage of copyrighted material. To avoid any legal trouble, it is important to be aware of the terms and conditions of any contest you enter, and to obtain consent forms from all parties involved before agreeing to participate.
Instagram hashtag competitions are a fun and popular way to engage with followers and promote your brand. However, it's important to be aware of the risks involved in running such a competition. Copyright law can be complex, and if you're not careful, you could find yourself on the wrong side of the law. When users submit photos to a hashtag contest, they are usually granting you a license to use their content. However, this license is limited, and you may only use the content in the specific way that the user has agreed to.
For example, you may only use the content for promotional purposes, and you must ensure that the user's copyright information is intact. You may have to display their name as attribution, or Instagram handle or a combination of both. If you want to use the content in any other way, you must first obtain the user's consent in writing. This means that if you want to run an Instagram hashtag contest, it's important to have a clear understanding of copyright law, and to put together some form of consent from each entrant.
Using influencers means I own the copyright, right?
Many people mistakenly believe that, by working with influencers, they automatically gain ownership of the resulting content. However, this is not the case and depends on the contract in place that was negotiated by your influencer agency or marketing team. Unless you have secured unlimited and perpetual rights in advance, you will not be able to use the content in ways not explicitly outlined in the contract. For example, if you want to use an influencer's photo on your website, you will need to get their permission first. The same is true for videos, blog posts, and any other type of content. Even if an influencer has agreed to work with you, they will still retain the copyright to their work unless you have a written contract that assigns those rights to you. Without such a contract, you will not be able to use the content in any way, so it is important to get everything in writing before proceeding.
Many businesses use influencers to help promote their products or services. After all, influencers have a large following and can reach a wide audience. However, before you start working with an influencer, it's important to understand the legal implications. Unless you have the influencer sign a content assignment agreement, you will not own the copyright to the content they create. This means that the influencer can post the content on their own channels or websites without your permission. Additionally, if you want to use the content in a specific format (such as on social media), you'll need to get the influencer's consent. Otherwise, you risk infringing on their copyright. So while working with an influencer can be a great way to reach a new audience, make sure you understand the legalities involved. Otherwise, you could end up breaking the law.
What software do I need to download videos from Instagram?
Now that we've discussed the legal implications of downloading video from Instagram, it is worth now looking at the technical hurdles. Instagram has transformed from being primarily an images-sharing app to a video-sharing one. In June 2019 only 18 percent of posts on Instagram were video posts; today it is around 45%.
Yet marketers struggle to post the five Instagram video stores per day brands need to retain social influence. For this reason, images (and particularly image carousels) remain the most used Instagram content by brands.
One reason brands do relatively little user-generated video campaigns (as opposed to image-only) is because of the technical challenges in scraping the videos. Unlike images, which can be accessed with a right-click of the mouse, or an inspection of the HTML webcode, videos tend to be hidden behind several layers of web security. Here are the ways most try to obtain videos from customers or influencers who enter an Instagram hashtag competition:
- Video scrapers. There are a number of software programs that claim to be able to download videos from Instagram, but many of these are illegal. In 2019, YouTube took a whole slew of video downloading sites to court to force them to disable the video download function. But like a game of whack-a-mole, more clones and alternative services, often based in parts of the world with looser copyright laws, have sprung up.
- Screen recording software. Usually built into your browser or operating system, screen capture tools will record a copy of the video, without sound and at screen resolution. Many marketers use this method, then use audio capture software to download the audio and then merge the two together into anew file. This is far from ideal, but for grabbing videos without sound for use in a buzz reel or compilation, it can be a relatively easy fix.
- Video conferencing. Set the video conference app to record, then present a video in a tab or a window. Voilà, it will capture a screen-resolution copy with audio of your video. You can use to grab various videos from social media, but be aware of the adverts and other overlays the platform you're watching on will add.
- Direct contact. This is a tried-and-tested technique handed down to the most junior member of a marketing team, because it is laborious and fiddly. Essentially, find the video you'd like in Instagram, contact the original poster and direct message them requesting the original file. Normally at this stage you'll need to negotiate rights and possibly exchange payment. After that, they have to locale the original file on their device and send via cloud storage or email (see below).
- Video submission platform. Many marketers are now turning their backs on repurposing entirely and opting instead for 100% opted-in video contests. This bypasses a lot of the pain points and allows agencies and marketing departments to work with the brand's customer advocates. Using all-in-one platforms like Vloggi, brands build a library of rights-cleared video content that can be re-used and remixed in perpetuity.
Read more about how youth travel specialists JUCY built a user-generated video library of thousands of clips for under $2000 initial investment.
Finally, it is important to be aware that videos downloaded from Instagram will likely be in a different format than those on your computer. Make sure that you have the appropriate software to convert the video into a format that you can use.
Which format works best in Instagram?
In 2022, 66% of consumers found short-form video to be the most engaging type of in-feed social content on Instagram, up from 50% in 2020. But for smaller brands (with fewer than 100k followers), image content beats out video content for story reach. (Source: Sprout Social Index)
What software do I need to download videos from YouTube?
Before downloading any video from YouTube, it’s important to understand the legal implications. Many videos are copyrighted and downloading them without the owner’s consent is illegal. Additionally, YouTube’s terms of service strictly forbid downloading videos, as stated below.
You are not allowed to access, reproduce, download, distribute, transmit, broadcast, display, sell, license, alter, modify or otherwise use any part of the Service or any Content except: (a) as expressly authorized by the Service; or (b) with prior written permission from YouTube and, if applicable, the respective rights holders.
YouTube Terms of Service
Even when a video is available for download, it’s important to read any accompanying consent forms carefully. Some forms may require you to agree not to redistribute the video or to assign copyright of the content to the original creator. Finally, keep in mind that videos downloaded from YouTube will likely need to be converted to a different format before they can be played on most media devices. For all these reasons, it’s important to proceed with caution when downloading videos from YouTube.
How to download videos from TikTok?
Many people are unaware that downloading videos from TikTok is also illegal. The terms of service for the app clearly state that users are not allowed to download or share videos without the consent of the original poster. Furthermore, any content that is shared on TikTok is automatically assigned to the company, and users are not allowed to change the formatting or make any other changes. While there are some software programs that allow users to download videos from TikTok, these programs are in violation of the app's terms of service and can lead to serious consequences. Users who are caught downloading videos from TikTok may have their accounts suspended or banned, and they may also be subject to legal action. As a result, it is best to avoid using any third-party software to download videos from the app.
How to transfer user-generated video files from influencers?
If, as a brand, you have decided not to download videos from social media site, but to obtain it directly, then you will probably also consider influencer marketing agencies, who will provide semi-authentic users who create content for brands on a paid basis. Think of influencers as freelance advertising copywriters and photographers all-in-one. For a few thousand dollars, brands can get high-quality images and copy for use in marketing.
Because there is a contractual relationship between you and your influencer or influencers, obtaining the raw video files is pretty straightforward. There are a few different ways that you can go about getting user-generated video files transferred from influencers. One option is to use a service like Dropbox or another cloud storage solution. This can be a good option if you need to get the files quickly and don't have time to mess around with sending physical copies. For multiple influencers or members of the public, be aware that they can often also see other people's content in shared folders, so you may need to set up unique folders for each contributor.
Another option is to ask for the original files, preferably in a raw format. This will give you the best quality footage to work with, but it may take longer to receive. The influencer usually uploads the files to their own cloud storage account (like iCloud or Google Drive), and then shares the account with you so you can download the files. Another option is to use a file transfer service like WeTransfer - the influencer can upload the files to WeTransfer and then send you a link, and you can download the files from there. Both of these options rely on the link remaining active and for you as a brand to download and active the files.
Finally, you could always just use their images and video as inspiration and shoot your own footage and use that instead. It all depends on your needs and what will work best for your project. However, real user-generated video is a powerful tool for marketing campaigns because it's intimate, real, and creates a strong connection with viewers.
What to look for in a video content assignment consent form?
As detailed above, for a brand to re-use user-generated video, they need a content assignment form signed by the contributor. When you are looking for a consent assignment form, there are a few things you should keep in mind:
- First, the form should be legal and binding. This means that it should be prepared by a lawyer or another legal professional.
- Second, the form should clearly state what consent is being given for. For example, if you are giving consent for your child to appear in a video, the form should say so.
- Third, the form should include a copyright transfer provision. This means that the contributor is giving up all rights to the video or audio footage that is being uploaded.
- Fourth, you should aim to capture an IP address of the device from which the file is being uploaded, or an authentication token. This will give the brand certainty in the event of a dispute down the track. Some video submission management platforms will also allow you to use a SmartContract that tracks the assets and guarantees ownership by the
- Finally, the form should be dated. This helps to ensure that the consent is current and valid. If you keep these things in mind, you can be sure that you will find a consent assignment form that meets your needs.
By taking these steps, you can ensure that your legal assignment is valid and enforceable.
How to manage user-generated video libraries
When it comes to user-generated video content, one of the biggest challenges is managing all of the material. A cataloging system can be very helpful in this regard, allowing you to keep track of all the videos and making it easier to find specific ones when needed. You can also use tags to label videos, making it even easier to locate them later on.
One way to catalog videos is to create a spreadsheet or database. This can be as simple as creating a list of links, or you can include additional information such as the title, length, and date added. You can also add your own tags and ratings to each video. Another option is to use a dedicated video content management tool like Vloggi. This software provides features such as bulk uploading, automatic sorting, and customizable catalogs.
Additionally, it can be helpful to allow your team mates to mark certain videos as favorites, so that they are easy to find later on. If you have a team working on the project, make sure to assign different people to different tasks so that everyone knows what their role is. Vloggi allows several team members to view, vote and tag clips submitted by customers, colleagues or community members.
How to reformat vertical videos for YouTube
If you're interested in uploading vertical video to YouTube or Facebook, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. First, you'll need to reformat your video so that it's Pillarboxed. This means adding black or blurred bars to the sides of the video so that it will fit into a horizontal landscape format.
You can do this in most video editing software by simply selecting the appropriate option when exporting your video. Once your video is reformatted, it's important to be consistent with how you upload it. That means using the same format for all your videos, regardless of where they're being shared. This will help to ensure that your videos look their best no matter where they're being viewed.
If you are using a video submission platform like Vloggi, it will automatically reformat videos for you and add pillar boxing, ensuring all your videos can be compiled together with no need to reformat.
If you're reformatting vertical video for YouTube or Facebook, this can be especially effective, as it will make your videos more widely compatible with the platforms' players. But best avoid black bars, as this distracts the viewer; use blurred boxed instead. Pillarboxing is important for preserving the quality of your video, so be sure to do it before uploading your final reformatted version.
How do video submission management platforms like Vloggi work?
Video submission management platforms like Vloggi work by simplifying the content management process for marketers. Vloggi's platform allows organizations to collect, catalog and curate their user-generated videos in one place. They also take care of video storage and file transfer, making it easy to manage large libraries of customer video content.
In addition, Vloggi's platform provides tools for managing video codecs and resolutions, making it easy to produce high-quality video files that are compatible with a wide range of devices and software platforms. As a result, Vloggi's platform provides a simple, efficient way to manage video content, saving time and money for video editors and producers.
In the simplest terms, video submission management platforms like Vloggi work by providing an easy way for businesses to manage their user-generated video content. By storing videos in a central location and cataloging them according to specific criteria, businesses can quickly and easily find the right video for any situation. In addition, these platforms typically offer rights management feature that collects and stores content assignment forms and copyright permissions in legally downloadable documents. As a result, video submission management platforms can be an invaluable tool for business owners who need to maintain and re-use a large video library.
How to make compilations from user-generated video clips?
Once you have your library of user-generated video clips, how to stitch them together to form new marketing content? If you are one of the 62% of marketers who want to do more video marketing, but don't know how, the first thing you'll need is a library of user-generated clips to work with. From here you can make endless compilations to suit each campaign, theme or posting schedule.
You can build a user-generated video library by requesting videos from your fans or followers. Use a video upload tool that allows your contributors to submit straight from their phone for best results. Once you have a selection of videos, you'll need to compile them into a single video file. This can be done by merging or stitching the videos together using video editing software. Some video submission management platforms like Vloggi have this compilation tool built into the platform.
If you want to give your video a professional look, you can use a template. Templates provide a pre-designed structure for your video, and allow you to add branding elements like logos and your typeface to user-generated videos without any editing software. This is a quick and easy way to create a polished video compilation without spending hours in front of a computer.
For example, to stitch user-generated video files together in Vloggi, simply select the desired clips and hit the "merge" button. The video library will then compile the selected videos into a single file. This is a quick and easy way to create a video compilation. You can drag-and-drop your video clips into the designated slots to rearrange the order. Once you're happy with your arrangement, hit the "make video story" button to generate your final video compilation, complete with branding.
If you want more control over your video compilation, you can download the files and use a traditional video editing software package. This process is slightly more involved, but it allows you to finely edit the clips, and add narration and complex transitions.
To recap, if you want to download social media video and re-use it in marketing, it is often fraught with difficulty. It's illegal in most cases and also technically tricky. There are work arounds, hacks and ways of making it work. But it's a lot of pain that is usually placed on the most junior members so your team. But there are tools like Vloggi that automate the collection of video from genuine customer advocates and allow you to manage your video assets effectively and legally. This is why more brands are switching from repurposing video content to running video contests in 2022.