Legalities Of Reposting UGC On Instagram

Tuesday 22nd January 2019

It’s easy to repost and share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, but for Instagram, it’s a little more of a task. Many people use third-party apps for reposting feed-friendly images, or just screenshot and crop to add to their well-thought theme. Whilst a bit more of a pain, there are also legal implications.

Why Do Brands Use UGC?

There are extra benefits to using UGC on social, compared to a general product image that you find on a website. UGC has more context, where the media shows how that product or service might have been used. Word-of-mouth, reviews, testimonials and recommendations improve the perception of a product of service.

However, just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t necessarily mean that we are able to take pictures from one profile and put them on ours, whether we are a personal account or a business account.

The Black & White Rules: Asking Permission and Issuing Credit

Digital Rights Management (DRM) used to only apply to brands wanting to protect their content, including photos, video, printed and music. Now, brands also use it as a way to cover themselves when reposting other content. There are three main rules (as recommended by JumperMedia) to follow when it comes to reposting User-Generated Content (UGC):

  • Seek permission from the original content creator e.g. comment on photos or private messaging.
  • Provide terms and conditions to send to content creators.
  • Always give credit to the original poster.

Whilst these are the best ways to share UGC, there are some other methods that aren’t as defined.

The Grey Area: Featured Hashtags

This form of giving consent to reposting hashtags is a tricky one. Many people will see hashtags being used by similar accounts, and use them to gain more engagement with their content. However, they might not know that hashtag could be a “featured hashtag”. For example, if @iszyai were to include in their Instagram bio

“Tag #IntelligentContent in your photo to give us permission to repost”


Then we would technically be able to repost any photo with this hashtag. However, someone who uses this hashtag might not know that it would result in their content being reposted. So, is the UGC creator legally covered, or is Iszy?

Here you can see that the account @visitbristol uses the featured hashtag #visitbristol to collect and repost content from other accounts. According to posts from Business2Community and Later, providing terms allows accounts to repost the content, and have treated the UGC as copyrighted content.

But, this brings into question if this gives an account outright consent to repost?

Getting Consent

Business2Community identified two forms of consent: implied consent and explicit consent which similarly fit the above rules. Seeking permission to repost UGC is explicit consent, where the original creator has allowed another account to use their media. However, featured hashtags are implied consent, which causes problems for the original poster if they did not know that certain hashtags could result in their content being used by someone else.

Whilst implied consent is legal, explicit consent is what you’re aiming to get.

The Easy Way of Collecting UGC

Rather than worrying about all these rules, why not just have your customers send you the content?

Iszy is a simple method of collecting UGC. Simply have your customers upload content to Iszy with your account handle. Then, from your central dashboard, you can:

  • Post directly to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Post via Hootsuite, if you are already using this within your current strategy.
  • Use our Conversion Widget or an RSS feed for custom integrations to your website or blog.


With tons of extra features to compliment your content collection process, like image recognition and contributor reporting functions to find out who your most effective contributors are, Iszy makes it quick and easy for your marketers. Having your customers submit UGC to your brand through Iszy gives you permission to post to your social media and website, so there is no need to go chasing your customers to get permission.

Plans for Iszy start from £4pm. If you’re interested in seeing how Iszy works, contact us today for a demo.