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The REAL Reasons Social Media Creators NEED Legal Protection

Most often, we see social media creators working with legal professionals for everyday issues like copyright and website terms and conditions. 

However, content creators and Influencers who depend on social media for their income should always work with a social media attorney 💼 to keep out of much bigger and more harmful legal trouble.

Unfortunately, the online world comes with a plethora of legal problems – and some of them can be incredibly serious. In fact, a number of legal issues social media creators face could ultimately be DEADLY ☠️ for their business.

Therefore, content creators need to consider the potential implications of working without legal protection and take responsibility for their brand.

To name a few, here are some of most important reasons social media creators should always work directly with 🤝 an attorney:

LIABILITIES

Establishing a successful, revenue-driven business as an influencer will almost always involve promoting a product or service on social media. Oftentimes, this promotion is done on behalf of another company with which you’ve established a partnership.

Partnering with brands is a great source of income 💰, but it also largely increases the need to avoid liabilities and follow specific legal guidelines per the FTC. 

For example, any time your social media posts feature another brand’s product, you are required by law to include a disclaimer 📝 in your description alerting your followers that you are advertising.

Furthermore, many of the most popular products to promote today, such as green juices, exercise equipment, and diet pills 💊 are especially risky without an appropriate disclaimer. More specifically, you must detach yourself from all responsibility for any potential damage the product may cause.

Therefore, hiring a social media attorney to write your disclaimers can literally be a career-saving move.

That being said, disclaimers are not always the end of your legal risks. Once in a while, a dispute will go to court 🏛️, and you will need appropriate representation.

Luckily, having a social media attorney on your side means that you are protected by a legal professional who has experience specifically in this “new” industry. On the other hand, a different type of attorney may not have as much education in social media law – and that could cost you the case.

CONTRACTS

Unfortunately, liabilities aren’t the only potential problem associated with brand deals. Similarly, negotiating contracts is a tough task to do without legal protection and, if done poorly, could ultimately lead to you losing 📉 revenue from a partnership.

Luckily, working closely with a social media lawyer can put you a step ahead of other influencers. Not only can we teach you negotiation 💬 skills, but we can also provide you with insider tips and tricks to ensure you get the best deal possible.

Not to mention, if you’re working with a relatively popular brand, chances are an experienced social media attorney has already provided legal advice to another influencer who made a similar deal! As a result, we often have insight into what different brands are looking for and how they respond to negotiation tactics.

That being said, brand deals most likely aren’t the only type of partnership you’ll be making. For example, YouTubers often benefit from partnering with multi-channel networks (MCNs). 

Put simply, MCNs are companies that work to increase your channel’s views and subscriber count 👥. However, when you hire an MCN, you agree to give them 20-40% of your AdSense revenue on top of any other revenue your channel generates, including from brand deals.

While there are a ton of benefits to working with MCNs, poor negotiation at the beginning of a deal can result in loss of revenue, long contracts, and even the potential to get ghosted 👻 before your partnership even ends!

Luckily, working with a social media lawyer can help you avoid these and many other negative consequences of poorly negotiated contracts.

PRIVACY

There are plenty of laws you’re responsible for following that protect the privacy 🛡️ of your social media followers. However, it’s equally important that you take necessary precautions to maintain your personal privacy as well.

Of course, some privacy protections are most likely already common knowledge for you. For example, your social media posts should never display information regarding your personal or business address, license plates, IDs, boarding passes or tickets, or receipts.

Furthermore, many social media creators are already great at keeping their personal life and their social media life separate from each other. That being said, protecting your privacy is protecting your livelihood, and it’s much better to be over prepared than under 👍. 

Therefore, it’s imperative that social media creators ask their attorneys the question, “How can I better protect my privacy online?”

Whether it’s hackers discovering your personal Facebook password or an angry follower harassing you on your cell phone 📱, avoiding breaches of your personal protection and that of your family is of utmost importance.

TRICKY LAWS

While some laws are easy to follow, social media laws can be a bit more complicated. In fact, some of the government’s details within these laws are so vague, they often leave influencers wondering if they’re even possible to abide by!

For example, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) of 1998, while originally created to protect minors from accessing pornographic material online, has now changed the way YouTube works. 

Today, if a YouTuber is flagged for COPPA violations, they can acquire penalties up to $42,530 🤑 for each violation as well as potential account termination! However, some of YouTube’s guidelines for abiding by COPPA are a bit unclear.

More specifically, the FTC’s list of identifiers of kids’ content on YouTube includes “young, animated characters” and “child-oriented activities” – whatever that means 🤷‍♂️. 

On a similar note, even the doctrine of fair use can be a bit vague at times!

For example, while some legal professionals may advise their clients to use no more than 30 seconds ⏱️ of copyrighted music or footage in their social media posts, I always recommend no more than five.

Even worse, when it comes to the law, a specific time stamp is not even identified! Instead, Section 107 of the Copyright Act simply says “if the use employs only a small amount of copyrighted material, fair use is more likely”.

These unclear laws and guidelines can be misleading, and could ultimately cost social media creators their businesses 😨. Therefore, influencers should consult a social media attorney to review their content before posting to ensure it follows all of these necessary legal requirements.