The Influencer “Fails” – Avoid These Three Legal Mistakes In Affiliate Marketing – Media, Telecommunications, Computers, Entertainment

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The influencer industry has exploded in size and importance since the launch of the first affiliate marketing network fifteen years ago. However, with this growth comes an increasing legal responsibility for those who benefit from it.

Celebrities are making headlines for ordering up to $ 1 million for sponsored social media posts, but the average influencer is more likely to be young, armed with an iPhone and a budget restricted. In a world where affiliate marketing, sponsored posts, and giveaways trump traditional print advertising, influencers – from nano-influencers to Kim Kardashian – need to legally protect themselves and their intellectual property. A good way to start is to avoid the three main mistakes described below.

Mistake # 1 – Creating a brand of value, but not protecting it

Some days it seems like all influencers are promoting the same products. In July, you’ll notice that every fashion blogger is modeling Nordstrom outfits ahead of the department store’s anniversary sale. “Mom” bloggers will flood Instagram with back-to-school sales from Walmart each August. What makes these influencers different? They all sell the same products – in a nutshell, BRANDING. Whether it’s a healthy religious blogger, a healthy exercise queen, an Instagram party girl, these are all brands that create aspirations to help influencers sell products to their followers. .

An influencer can legally protect their brand across the United States through federal trademark registration. Kim Kardashian, after all, owns a trademark for her name for “advertising services, namely the promotion of the brands, goods and services of others; [and] endorsement services, namely promoting the goods and services of others “and has more than 100 pending trademark applications and registrations. Obtaining a trademark for a personal trademark, whether a name, an Instagram handle or blog title, is a way to ensure that the influencer retains control of the brand and protects against counterfeiting by others.

Mistake # 2 – Doing business without a contract

Relationships between influencers and their business partners are often informal, with agreements reduced to quick exchanges via email and Instagram DM. This arrangement, while simple, lays the groundwork for either party to give up with little consequence. Things get complicated quickly when one party fails to fulfill their end of the bargain.

Influencers who don’t want to take advantage of it should demand a legally binding contract that sets out the important terms of the agreement, before approving any products, services or businesses. To this end, a lawyer can, and should, review any contracts offered to the Influencer by the Sponsor, or prepare a contract that protects the best interests of the Influencer. If written well, such a contract can be written in plain English and need not be unnecessarily complex.

Mistake # 3 – Violating copyright

Creative works, like photos or even blog posts, are protected by copyright. Registering copyright in a work gives the owner the exclusive right to publish, use and distribute it. Although there are exceptions, most copyright infringements incur significant penalties, including legal damages ranging from $ 750 to $ 150,000 for each work infringed. Gigi Hadid, an influential celebrity, has been sued three times for copyright infringement – twice for posting paparazzi photos of herself and once for posting a copyrighted photo. author of her boyfriend. Influencers without Hadid’s legal budget should always carefully consider copyright when posting a photo for commercial purposes.

It is often said that the best defense is a good offense. With that in mind, as influence becomes more lucrative and sophisticated, influencers need to proactively protect themselves, their brands and legal interests.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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