How to retain content ownership when you’re working with brands

Copyright claim for content ownership

What to look out for in your contracts to ensure you remain the owner of your content

Dream scenario: you have been approached by a brand to create some amazing content for their social platforms. Before you keenly agree, ensure you’ve thoroughly read through all the terms and conditions stated on the contract they’ve provided you. Don’t sell yourself short, and make sure you have charged for full content use and have also protected yourself from anything that might happen to you which could then affect delivery of content.

Ben Polak, solicitor at Brandsmiths, advises the following:

Check the T&Cs

Any content you produce (e.g. videos, photos, articles you write) is your property unless specified in the T&C’s of the platform you created it on. You are the copyright holder and other people/companies generally cannot use it without your permission (unless you have signed terms stating this). 

Read through specific licencing terms

If you enter into a licence agreement, you should make sure that you do not sign a contract saying that you don’t own the content (i.e. your intellectual property). Look out for any wording that might suggest this. It is your responsibility to read through a contract closely – you can’t use it as an excuse later!

Know your deliverables

Make sure to protect yourself when entering these types of contracts, not just on ownership of your content but also on things like deliverables (what are you expected to do as part of the contract, what happens if you don’t deliver on time), the brands right to take down your content (do you want to give them the power to do this?) and standards (commonly an influencer will be asked not to work for competing brands for a period of time).

Make contracts favourable to you

In terms of ownership of your IP, make sure that the contract is not too stringent – for example, if you do not post the content by the agreed date there might be penalties for you, but it could have been through no fault of your own (e.g. you were ill and could not post the content online) – make sure you are not punished for things that were out of your control by putting terms in the contract reflecting this.