It might seem like a no-brainer to get permission before reposting someone else’s image on Instagram. However, people ask me all the time what they should do in situations where someone has posted an image that belongs to them, (without their prior knowledge, and without proper credit being given to them).
This actually happens me almost WEEKLY. I'll be casually scrolling through my feed, only to be met face-to-face with my own content, not properly credited to me.
"Oh, hello awesome photo I took, nice to see you masquerading as someone else's content. Have you no loyalty?! Have you forgotten where you came from?!" 😑
While copyright law scrambles to keep up with social media image sharing in the digital-age, the proper way for people to avoid this issue altogether is fairly simple- ASK.
Let’s look at the facts.
If you take a photo or create another form of content, such as a graphic or video, and are not subject to a “work for hire” agreement- meaning that you aren’t being compensated for creating that content for another person or company- the general rule is that you own the copyright. Sure there are some exceptions, but nearly 100% of the time, this belongs to YOU.
If someone comes across an image you’ve created and reposts it, without asking you or giving you proper credit, you have every right to kindly ask them to remove the image. (Or not kindly, if that's your style.)
On the flip side, it’s proper etiquette that if you discover someone else’s content, and want to repost it to your feed, that you shoot them a message and ask them if it’s OK to repost. And, after receiving permission, you should not only mention them as the photographer + original creator of the content, you should also TAG THEM in the actual photo as well.
It’s simply a good practice to cover all of your bases.
I mean, you know you didn't take it, so your FIRST thought should really be- "How do I make sure the creator gets proper credit for this amazing image?"
Social media gets a little tricky, as people can easily use apps to repost, take screen shots, alter the original content with filters, and so on. Instagram’s terms of service are still a little unclear as to whom it actually sides with in a case of reposted content.
With situations involving User Generated Content, it would seem that if someone were to tag a brand or business in a post, that the company that’s been tagged is able to repost the photo to their own feed, as long as they give credit to the content creator.
The fact that they are tagged in the photo would seem as if it would be all the “permission” that they need.
The same could be said for using branded hashtags. When you use another company’s branded tags, you are essentially telling the hashtag creator that you agree to have your content reposted, as long as you are given proper credit.
Of course, this is just my opinion, but it makes sense, as this is partly how the “sharing” in social media works.
But, while most people might find it flattering that you have given them a shout out, or alerted your followers to their amazing business or products, it’s best to err on the side of caution and ASK before you post, to ensure that you don’t burn any Instagram bridges.
When in doubt- you should definitely reach out.
If you don't know who posted the content originally, simply opting out of posting could really be your best bet.
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So, what do you think about the whole reposting thing? Has something like this happened to you?
Let me know in the comments how you've handled this situation...