Tagboard clients should seek legal counsel to determine their organization's level of comfort and safety regarding utilizing User Generated Content (UGC) for the purposes of marketing campaigns. The following information is a result of years of industry experience and provided as guidance; however, it is not a substitute for or intended to be formal legal advice.
Every social network has users accept an End User License Agreement that gives the social network and its partners a license to share and display public media. These partners include social media search and display platforms like Tagboard, who legally pull the content through the networks’ APIs, and comply with their requirements for partnership – such as, including network logos and author avatars on all posts.
In most standard redisplay use cases, displaying social media content on a website or at an event does not remove the content from the protection of the network’s TOS, provided you do so through a partner of the network—such as Tagboard—and use the content for adjacent marketing only. Adjacent marketing means the content exist near direct advertising or marketing, but the content itself is not a part of an advertisement.
Tagboard strongly recommends obtaining explicit consent from the user in any "Content as Advertisement" scenario. If you alter UGC to become an ad itself—for example, overlaying a call to action to purchase—you must follow all the same guidelines you would for a traditional ad creative (photographer or writer). Anytime there is a potential monetary gain directly from the content, explicit consent is necessary to avoid rights issues.
Existing terms and conditions for photo and content releases can in some cases be placed within the notification functions of Tagboard or accomplished manually and built into the curation workflow to legally utilize UGC directly as advertising.
Tagboard remains committed to protecting copyright and user privacy by upholding source network terms and privacy policies. In nearly 5 years of operations with clients across diverse industries, Tagboard has not experienced a single legal issue arising from UGC featured in marketing. This track record is a result of Tagboard's patented aggregation platform that:
- Only ingests social posts which have been marked as Public and remain on the source network.
- Defaults to only aggregating hashtagged posts—assuming an implied level of user consent because of the specific opt-in action (using the hashtag) performed on the part of the user.
- Makes reasonable effort to require human decision/interaction for the process of curation before a post can be displayed on a tagboard in a public space (digital or physical).
- Offers customizable user notification features for clients that need to obtain explicit consent to utilize UGC.