Remaining Compliant with User-Generated Content

welocalize March 15, 2022

Leveraging user-generated content (UGC) in your marketing campaigns can increase your audience engagement, and in turn, your sales. 

However, the use of UGC is coupled with the risk of legal ramifications such as privacy breaches, trademark violations and copyright infringement.  Therefore, it is crucial to learn UGC laws and regulations to remain compliant. 

Continue reading to learn more about solutions to minimize violations and maintain compliance around UGC laws.  

The Rise in User-Generated Content 

UGC is any content form or media created by online users posted to platforms and websites. 

Common examples include blogs, forum responses, posts, digital images, advertisements, audio and video files, and podcasts. 

Data shows 86% of millennials believe UGC is “usually a good indicator of a brand’s service or quality”, and 84% mentioned that UGC influences what they buy. The data is leading more companies to leverage user-generated content to accommodate a global change in e-commerce consumer habits. 

Also, UGC comes in easy-to-share and consumable multimedia formats such as videos. This helps make UGC highly effective in widening its reach and driving audience engagement and sales. 

Successfully localizing multimedia content and UGC helps your business reach global audiences effectively, increasing your sales opportunities.  

UGC can have a massive impact on your brand. People trust the opinions of consumers like themselves. Download Welocalize’s Guide to User-Generated Content for insights into how to leverage content published by your global customers. 

Legal Complications With UGC 

Using UGC for your company’s marketing and promotional initiatives may have legal repercussions. 

For example, users you allow to submit photos to your website might publish details or images that breach a third party’s intellectual property rights.  

It is imperative to screen the UGC content for your campaigns and put proper measures in place to avoid UGC-related violations. Without proper measures to protect content, anyone can easily replicate, modify, and use someone else’s original work without permission or proper attribution. 

Below are some critical aspects of using UGC you need to be mindful of. 

Personal Privacy and Copyright 

Any user-generated content you collect, use, store, or share, including content shared on social media channels, falls under privacy law. The privacy law prohibits using another user’s content without permission. Violations can lead to fines and/or criminal penalties. 

Another critical aspect of leveraging UGC is copyright infringement. 

By default, creators retain the authorship, ownership, and copyright of UGC, even if the content is created specifically for your brand or mentions your brand’s name. 

If you want to use or publish UGC for your branding and commercial purposes, you need to take proper steps to protect your business and avoid violating a user’s copyrights. This includes writing and designing a privacy policy with localization in mind that can reach and accommodate your global audiences.  

Hate Speech and Harassment   

Protect your brand and users by ensuring the content contributed is free from hate speech and offensive materials. 

Provide clear community guidelines and acceptable use policies to explain permissible and impermissible content on your web pages. Having these documents in place helps prevent others from using your website as a vehicle for harassment, hate speech, stalking, and bullying, and avoid liabilities for your business. Keep in mind, the content uploaded by users will not always be in English. Put measures in place to monitor content in all languages.  

UGC Legal Complication Solutions 

An insightful and careful approach ensures corporate compliance with UGC laws and helps you and your business avoid violations and litigation. 

Below are reliable solutions that will help you avoid UGC legal issues. 

Clear Terms and Conditions  

Provide a clear terms and conditions (T&C) page on your website. Doing so allows you to police all content shared or published on your site, including multilingual content. 

You can include a termination clause to enforce compliance, remove inappropriate content, and ban users who violate. This discourages an environment of abuse, objectionable content, and copyright infringement. 

While terms and conditions are not required, implementing a T&C is critical to maintaining your website and brand’s integrity, including your online community’s quality. 

Ideally, creating terms and conditions specific to each UGC campaign helps cover all changing intricacies and nuances. 

Cover UGC in Your Privacy Policy   

Users might submit personal information, such as their names, email addresses, and social media handles, with UGC. This makes it crucial to create a privacy policy that explains how your business uses, collects, stores, and shares personal information. If you are hosting and targeting a global audience on your platform, ensure proper translation and localization of all policies relative to UGC. 

Also, whether you create content or use UGC, write and design with localization in mind to cater to international users and audiences.  

Simplify Maintaining Compliance UGC Regulations 

Understanding the fundamentals of using user-generated content will help with compliance. 

Global brands trust Welocalize with their multilingual user-generated content and digital marketing initiatives. 

Welocalize has a global team of localization, marketing, and language technology experts who work closely with our clients to develop and implement global content marketing strategies. 

Connect with Welocalize today to learn more.