If you are, or looking to be, a social media influencer, there are several legal aspects you need to consider. The content below is some general information.  It is important to consult with a social media influencer lawyer who can provide specific advice tailored to your situation.  This will help social media influencers maximize their opportunities (and minimize their liability).

Why Hire a Social Media Influencer Lawyer?

Social media influencer marketing is a rapidly evolving field, and regulations and best practices are continuously changing over time.  A social media influencer lawyer can help you navigate the legal complexities and mitigate the risks associated with influencer marketing. They can provide guidance, protect your rights, and help you build strong and legally compliant partnerships with brands, ultimately safeguarding your reputation and minimizing potential legal issues.

Hiring a social media influencer lawyer can be beneficial for several reasons:  

  • Ensure that your influencer marketing campaigns are compliant with regulations, reducing the risk of legal consequences or penalties.
  • Assist in negotiating and drafting contracts that protect your interests and create a mutually beneficial partnership.
  • Help you navigate issues related to IP, such as copyright infringement, trademark issues, licensing, and content ownership, to protect your brand’s intellectual property you so you are not infringing on the rights of others.
  • Whether it’s issues related to breach of contract, non-performance, or intellectual property disputes, a social media influencer lawyer can provide guidance, explore possible resolutions, and represent your interests in negotiations or legal proceedings if necessary.

Common legal considerations for social media influencers.

  1. Disclosure and transparency: There are consumer protection laws requiring influencers to disclose their relationships with brands or advertisers when promoting or endorsing products or services. This ensures transparency and helps avoid misleading consumers. Familiarize yourself with the applicable disclosure requirements.
  2. Intellectual property: Respect copyright laws, trademark laws and intellectual property rights when creating and sharing content. Ensure that you have the necessary permissions or licenses for any images, videos, or music used in your posts. Be cautious about using trademarks, logos, or copyrighted materials without permission.
  3. Endorsements and testimonials: If you receive compensation, free products, or any form of consideration for promoting a product or service, you may be required to disclose this information explicitly. Misleading or deceptive endorsements can lead to legal consequences. Familiarize yourself with the regulations on endorsements and testimonials.
  4. Privacy and data protection: Be mindful of privacy laws when collecting, using, or sharing personal information of your audience or collaborating with brands. Understand your responsibilities regarding data protection, especially if you collect user data through your website, contests, or giveaways.
  5. Competition and fair practices: Understand the rules and regulations related to fair competition in advertising and marketing. Avoid making false or misleading claims about products or services. Competitions and giveaways should adhere to applicable laws and regulations, including clear terms and conditions.
  6. Contracts and agreements: When collaborating with brands or advertisers, it’s important to have clear written agreements that outline the terms of your collaboration, payment, content ownership, whitelisting, and any other relevant aspects.
  7. Defamation and libel: Be cautious about making false or defamatory statements about individuals or companies, as it can lead to legal liabilities. Ensure that your content is accurate, fair, and does not harm the reputation of others.
  8. Minors and advertising: If your content appeals to or targets minors, there may be additional legal considerations regarding advertising and endorsements. Familiarize yourself with regulations specific to advertising to children or engaging with young audiences.

Do social media influencers have to disclose their brand affiliations?

In most cases Social media influencers must disclose their brand affiliations when promoting or endorsing products or services.  Countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, have guidelines and regulations in place to ensure transparency in influencer marketing.

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has issued guidelines for influencers.  Influencers must clearly and conspicuously disclose their relationships with brands when endorsing or promoting products. This disclosure should be easily understandable and placed in a location where viewers are unlikely to miss it.  This incudes caption in an Instagram post or in the description of a YouTube video. The use of hashtags like #ad or #sponsored is often recommended to indicate the commercial nature of the content.

Similarly, in the United Kingdom, the Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) has guidelines that require social media influencers to disclose their partnerships or brand affiliations. The ASA expects influencers to make it clear when they are being paid, incentivized, or have any other commercial relationship with the brands they promote.

Failure to disclose brand affiliations can be considered deceptive and potentially misleading to consumers. Influencers who do not comply with these guidelines may face penalties.  This includes warnings, fines, or legal consequences.   The penalties depend on the severity of the violation and the regulations in their respective countries.

Speak with our New York social media influencer lawyer about your specific situation. We can help you as you begin or continue to grow your career as a social media influencer.

** This post is for informational purposes only. For legal advice regarding your situation, contact a Social Media Influencer Lawyer in New York or call (212) 688-8944. **