User-generated content (also known as UGC or consumer-generated content) is original, brand-specific content created by customers (at no cost to you) and published on social media or other channels. It comes in many forms, including images, videos, reviews, and testimonials.
You need to consider your legal position if you allow any of the following on your website:
ü Forum or message board posts;
ü Chat streams or social media posts;
ü Comments (such as appear under articles on news websites or blogs);
ü Articles or blog posts created by users;
ü User reviews; and
ü User-contributed media
Anything that a visitor puts on your website or social media pages could be classed as User Generated Content. The same considerations apply to third-party content your company has chosen to share, such as guest blog posts.
User Generated Content is a great way for your company to build brand awareness, interact with your customer base, and improve your website’s search engine ranking. Allowing visitors to add their unique content and creations to your website or social media pages adds real value to your company’s online presence.
The Legal Risks associated with User Generated content include but are not limited to ; Infringement of Copyright, Violation of the Right to Privacy and Data Protection Laws, harassment and hate speech, hijacking of campaigns-use of hashtags on different campaigns other than the intended one, Defamation; Malicious falsehoods; Consumer imitation; and Law Suits from any of those mentioned herein.
Section 35 (B) of the Copyright Act, 2001- One of the issues introduced in the amendment to the act in 2022. Right of a person to issue you with a takedown notice if at all content posted on your Platform has infringed on their Intellectual Property rights.
While user-generated content can be valuable for your brand to engage with your audience, it can also cause you to alienate them if you don’t follow some important best practices.
Remember to ask for permission before using your customers’ content. Even if they shared it on their platform, they might not be open to having it on yours. Before posting something from a user, reach out to them in their comments, direct messages, or by email – this is so that you can have a record of a conversation with their approval in case any issues arise in the future.