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The Legal Way To Create User Generated Content (UGC)

The Legal Way To Create User Generated Content (UGC)

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the buzz of TikTok’s new favorite way to generate income…

UGC – aka User Generated Content!

This type of content creation has taken social media by storm the last few years and the concept is simple: as a creator, you create content that promotes a company’s product and the company will pay to use your content as marketing. 

And I’ll admit – from a business perspective, this strategy is smart! Less internal content creation and more relying on actual people using your product to market it. Makes total sense and is honestly very effective for most businesses. 

The reason more businesses are leaning into the world of UGC is because they understand that their customer base is more likely to trust OTHER customers and people who genuinely use the product than a general marketing campaign. 

It’s sort of how most of us refuse to buy something on Amazon without reading the reviews first – we trust what other people have to say.

On the flipside, it’s also proven to be a great way for content creators to generate income. But even with that being true, there are a few things you want to be careful about as a UGC creator to ensure that you’re doing it all legally AND in a way that you aren’t being taken advantage of. 

In this blog post, you’ll get a deeper understanding of what user generated content is along with the 411 on how to create UGC legally!

What Is UGC?

If you’re not an avid social media user, there’s a chance you’ve missed the whole UGC buzz, and even if you are familiar with it, you may not fully understand what it is, so first things first, let’s break it down. 

User-Generated Content (UGC) refers to any form of content, including text, images, videos, reviews, or comments, that is created and shared by creators rather than the brand or organization itself.

In today's primarily digital world, UGC plays a significant role across various online platforms and social media channels and encompasses content generated by individuals sharing their experiences, opinions, and interactions with products, services, or brands.

User-generated content can come in many forms and varies based on what the business or brand is specifically looking for. 

For example, it could be as simple as a customer posting a photo of their recent purchase on Instagram, leaving a review on an e-commerce site, or creating an in-depth video of them actively using the product or service.

Regardless of the way the content is created, UGC aims to provide valuable insights, social proof, and authentic engagement for a brand’s intended audience. Overall, brands often leverage UGC to build trust, foster community, and enhance their marketing efforts by showcasing real-life experiences and interactions with their offerings.

4 Key Things To Know And Understand As A UGC Creator

1. Content Rights

First things first, let's talk about intellectual property rights. As a content creator, you automatically hold the copyright to your original works, whether it's a captivating photo, an educational blog post, or a hilarious TikTok video.

Copyright grants you exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, and publicly display your content, which means that others cannot use your work without your permission, and you have the right to control how it's shared and used.

Sometimes, however, when you enter a UGC deal, you may find that the brand is requesting ALL rights to the content you create. That’s why it’s important to read the fine print and fully understand what you’re getting into before you sign on the dotted line. 

2. Code of Conduct

Every brand or business that you potentially sign up to work with as a UGC Creator will have a different set of Code of Conduct guidelines that you’ll be required to follow. And really that’s just a fancy way of saying the principles that outline expected behavior and ethical standards for the brand. 

In the context of creating User Generated Content, a Code of Conduct may establish rules for respectful communication, appropriate content, and responsible sharing practices. These guidelines help ensure that all content provided is fully aligned with how the brand wants to portray themselves online. 

3. Scope of Work 

A defined Scope of Work (SOW) is HUGE in any business deal, but especially when it comes to UGC content. The Scope of Work defines the specific tasks, deliverables, timelines, and responsibilities associated with a project.

For UGC creators, the Scope of Work should outline the expectations and requirements for creating content, including the type of content to be produced, submission deadlines, usage rights, compensation (if applicable), and any other relevant details.

Clarifying the Scope of Work beforehand helps both, you as the creator and the brand you’re working with, understand their roles and obligations, minimizing misunderstandings and ensuring a smooth collaboration.

My best advice? NEVER start working with a brand or business until the SOW is clearly outlined and agreed upon!

4. Termination Policy 

Lastly, one of the most important things to understand as a UGC creator about to enter a UGC deal is the termination policy for the brand or business that you’re working with.

A Termination Policy simply outlines the conditions and procedures for ending a contract between both parties. When it comes to UGC specifically, a Termination Policy may specify the circumstances under which your participation may be terminated, such as violation of the Code of Conduct, failure to meet quality standards, or breach of contract terms.

It also should outline the steps to follow in the event of termination, including notification procedures, dispute resolution mechanisms, and any applicable consequences or penalties.

Overall, a clear Termination Policy helps protect the interests of both, creators and brands, and provides a framework for resolving disputes effectively.

How To Legally Create User Generated Content

With all of these things in mind, it’s important to recognize that in a UGC scenario, the brand or business that you’re providing content for is technically a client of yours, which means like any other business, a client needs a contract. 

And no, I wouldn’t recommend using just any old dusty contract you found on Google. 

For a legal agreement to really hold up, you need one that:

➡️ Lays out the project scope and the responsibilities

➡️ Covers you and your client from a legal perspective

➡️ Is written in a way that you both can understand it

Essentially, you need a contract that very clearly covers the questions above. 

Who owns the rights? Can you flaunt your creations in your portfolio, or share it with other clients?

What’s your deliverables’ count? Are you delivering a feature film or a TikTok clip? What’s the deadline?

How and when are you getting paid? What if you have to work extra? Who’s covering that?

Who’s taking responsibility for copyright issues? Who’s footing the bill if something goes south? And disputes? Can you resolve them without a dramatic courtroom showdown?

That’s why I’ve tailored a UGC agreement that keeps all of your needs as a creator in mind. Because you shouldn’t just cross your fingers and hope you’re covered - you should feel confident that you are. 😎

So, if you’ve recently jumped into the world of user generated content and want to make sure that you’re going about it fairly and legally, THIS contract template is for you!

CLICK HERE to snag the plug and play UGC contract that includes:

  • Terms of Engagement
  • Guidelines for Concurrent Business Activities
  • Detailed Deliverables
  • Creator and Brand Assurances
  • Ethical Code of Conduct
  • Project Timeline and Milestones
  • Clear Compensation Structures

and MUCH more!


If we haven’t had the chance to *virtually* meet yet, hey I’m Amber – not a regular lawyer, but a cool lawyer that helps online business owners sell without getting sued. 

If you like what you just read and want more cool lawyer things in your life, here’s a few ways to stay connected:

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