Not only does original content improve the ShopStyle experience, but it ensures that you are not infringing on anyone else’s intellectual property rights. Intellectual property means someone’s creative work that is usually protectable under the law, whether that is in copyright form (e.g., pictures, video, music, etc.), trademark form (e.g., name brand, logo, etc.), or patent form (e.g., blueprints, technology, etc.).
Original Content Best Practices:
- Always include original content in your posts. Original content can be photos shot by you, product reviews, blog posts, recipes, tutorials, and more. (examples below!)
- Showcase yourself in your content to tell a story. Include your personal perspective, stories, recipes, anecdotes, etc.
- For example, using a tool as simple as your phone's camera should do the trick. If your concern is in regards to owning the actual products that you're promoting we offer the following advice:
- Some of the best bloggers work on a small budget. Frequently post selfies from home, wearing reasonably priced products from the likes of Old Navy, Target, and Nordstrom Rack
- Sharing related/similar items is always a good idea! Shoppers love to see a plethora of options, so don't limit yourself to the exact item
- Promoting items that you can genuinely speak to and recommend creates a stronger connection with your audience, builds a lasting element of trust, and is likely to improve your sales conversion
- Coupon and promotion stacking is not allowed by many retailers and could potentially result in non-commissionable orders and exclusion from their affiliate program. Make sure to check out our weekly sales emails and blog posts for commissionable sales to promote.
- Many retailers are experiencing high demand and low stock for essential items during this time and have requested for influencers to please refrain from posting essential goods such as toilet paper, hand sanitizer, disinfectant sprays and wipes, gloves, etc.
Examples of Original Content:
- Here are a few examples of what we consider to be original content:
- “Sephora’s big sale is here! These are all of my must-have favorite products currently in my cart: 1. VERB Dry Shampoo 2. Olaplex No 3 Treatment 3. Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask”
- “These slip on shoes make it easy for my kids to get ready on their own.”
- “Cleanup after dinner has never been easier than with my Greenpan non-stick pans.”
- “These are the blue-light glasses I can’t live without while working from home.”
- Get tips on how to create engaging original content from Gal Meets Glam and Mia Mia Mine here.
Photographs and Images
Generally, the person who took the photograph or created an image is the owner of the copyright for that photograph or image (unless there was an agreement otherwise -- often times known as a Work For Hire agreement). While the creator of the photograph or image does not have to register with the US Copyright Office to have ownership of the copyright, there are many advantages in doing so. By formally registering, the copyright owner has increased protections and ability to recover damages in a lawsuit.
You may often see a copyright notice that includes the familiar “©“ and date on webpages or next to other creative works. This does not necessarily mean that the copyright owner has formally registered with the US Copyright Office, but is a way of providing notice to the public of asserted intellectual property rights. Just because you do not see the copyright notice, that does not mean the photographs or images are not protected from improper use.
The best course of action is to always ask the creators their permission to use their photograph(s) or image(s). Just because you provide a link or reference to the original work does not mean that you are not infringing on their intellectual property rights. Often times creators are willing to let others use their photographs or images for free. Other times they may agree to sell you a license to use their image for a specific instance.
“Fair Use” is a legal concept to use copyright materials without the owner’s permission in certain situations for the benefit of society. An example of the “Fair Use” doctrine is when a book reviewer quotes a sentence from the book in his/her review.” “Fair Use” probably does not extend to the reposting of copyrighted images – especially if you are making money off of it.
This article is provided for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem.