Brands Are Stealing Small UGC Creators’ Videos Without Permission

Consumers seem to find UGC more reliable than traditional brand content. A recent survey by MASV found that 85% of consumers rely on UGC before making a purchase, and 81% trust user-generated videos more than official brand or influencer content.

James Rubec, Head of Product at Fullintel, a media monitoring services company, states, “Consumers trust UGC because it’s authentic and relatable. They see real people using and talking about the products.”


Unauthorised Use As A Common Issue


While UGC is beneficial for marketing, unauthorised use is a serious problem. Nearly half of the creators surveyed by MASV had their content used without permission. Brands and influencers tend to run from asking for permission, leading to disappointment and mistrust among creators.

Greg Wood, CEO of MASV, warns, “Infringing on creators’ intellectual property not only poses legal risks but also damages brand reputation and alienates the creator community.”


Creators Demand Respect


Creators really and rightfully believe that brands should ask for permission before using their content. The survey shows us that 95% of creators feel like this, and almost 70% are disappointed when their content is used without consent. The unauthorised use of content is unethical and illegal.

Unauthorised use of UGC is common across industries. Brands, influencers, and even media outlets are guilty of this practice. Samuel Chen, a video creator known as supasenpai, describes it as a “lose-lose situation” for brands. “It’s a win-win situation if you recognise the creator. Why risk your brand and your ability to grow more?” he asks.


What Can Brands Do?


To handle UGC properly, brands must adopt clear strategies to respect creators’ rights. Mark Penner, a trademark and patent lawyer, advises brands to be cautious. “Always ask for permission, set up processes to handle IP rights claims, and ensure that the content you use is owned by the creator,” he says.


Best Practices For Using UGC


Ask for Permission: Always obtain explicit consent from creators before using their content. This shows respect and builds trust.

Credit and Compensate: Give credit to creators and pay them fairly for their work. This can improve the brand’s reputation and build positive relationships with creators.

Create Clear Terms: Implement terms and conditions that outline the usage rights and expectations for both parties. This can prevent misunderstandings and legal issues.

Use UGC Platforms: Employ UGC platforms that connect brands with creators. These platforms often include built-in terms of service and waiver forms, simplifying the process of obtaining permission.

Practice Transparencyy: Communicate clearly with creators about how their content will be used. This transparency helps in aligning expectations and avoiding disputes.



The Role Of UGC Platforms


Jillian Robinson, senior global public relations manager at Dash Hudson, points out the benefits of UGC platforms. “These platforms streamline the process for brands, helping them find and obtain permission for the right content,” she explains.


What Exactly Is UGC?


For those who are still unclear on what UGC really is, basically, it is any form of content, so videos, blogs, and social media posts, created by users rather than brands. Content like this is really valued in marketing due to its authenticity and the way it makes people feel like they can relate to it over polished celeb sponsored high budget ads.

Alex Lefkowitz, Founder of Tasty Edits, mentioned, “The key to it all is that it needs to be authentic. It can’t seem like they’re shelling out or getting paid for it on the side.”


Statistics On UGC


A recent MASV survey revealed that 85% of consumers rely on UGC before making a purchase. Furthermore, 81% find user-generated videos more trustworthy than brand-created content. This trust makes UGC a powerful tool for engaging audiences.

Samuel Chen, a creator known as SupaSenpai, notes, “If it feels like I’m selling the item in the video, a lot of people get turned off in the first five seconds. But if I say that I found the item and it looks organic, then it does much better.”


Creators vs. Influencers


Creators often differ from influencers, who are typically social media personalities with large followings and specific expertise. While both create content, influencers usually make money from paid promotions, whereas creators may start by producing content for free to gain attention.


Consumer Trust In UGC


  • 85% of consumers rely on UGC before making a purchase.
  • 81% find UGC more trustworthy than brand-created content.
  • 70% are more likely to follow a brand on social media if they use UGC.


Working With UGC


Brands often reach out to unpaid creators to produce sponsored content or offer free products in exchange for videos. This practice can lead to creators maintaining their authenticity while monetising their efforts. Jillian Robinson from Dash Hudson advises, “What we really try to impress upon our customers is to give as loose guidelines as possible, and let the creators do what they do best – which is to create entertaining content.”

UGC continues to grow in how many brands use it, with more of them recognising its value in building trust and engaging with audiences authentically.