As content creators, your content is your baby. Figuratively, but nevertheless, it is.

When someone touches your baby without permission, things can get hairy.

That may surprise you if you think that all that has happened was finding out some of your pictures were posted to somebody else’s account.

However, this goes beyond the pictures. It’s your work, sometimes even a tiny window into your personal life that nobody was really expected to “borrow”.

Today we asked our blogger Rachel to share her story with us about her own experience:

“I have had a brand use my photo in a sponsored post on Instagram, and I have had brands share my photo on social media (Instagram, twitter, facebook) without giving me credit. As a blogger, I love to work with brands in a mutually beneficial way, for example, I tag my favourite brands when I use them in my Instagram photos so that they can share the photo if they wish to. “

 I didn’t create that post so they take my work- I think it’s only fair that they give credit where credit is due.

Her first response has always been to comment on the photo and ask why they haven’t tagged her, which is the best first step to take in these situations: “That way other people can see that the brand have been taking other people’s photos without permission. Then I mention on my social media accounts about what has happened so that my friends or followers can also leave a comment for the brand if they wish to.”

The vast majority of picture-reposter, whether it’s brands or other IG users, genuinely don’t realise they’re doing anything wrong, and will immediately apologise and rectify.

“I have had a few brands send me a personal message and free products afterwards as an apology – usually they say it was a technical error on their scheduler or a mistake and they usually tag everyone.”

If you find out that your content has been used without the right accreditation, commenting is always the first best step. If you want to add an extra layer of security, however, we recommend you taking a screen grab it will come in handy if you get blocked at a later step of the process by mistake, or as hard evidence.

“When this happens I do feel bad and like a ‘princess’ for making a fuss about it, but I do think that the person scheduling the content should be doing their job properly in the first place. Also, I wasn’t making the point so I could get free stuff- I was making it so that hopefully it won’t happen again in the future.”

Another way to go is to take things private before filing a copyright infringement, using the link here.

This is it’s a lengthy form, and you’ll need to include your address, but it won’t be shared anywhere. Overall it is a clunky process, so unless you find there have been a few instances of copyright infringement from the account, a private message may be the best way to go about it:

“I’m not sure if sending a private message to the brand would be a better way to go about it.” Rachel continues: But in the heat of the moment when I’m annoyed because I spotted my photo on someone else’s account that’s not my first instinct. I feel like a visible message would get the situation resolved quicker than an email that can be ignored.”

We do believe in creating more value for both brands and content creators alike.

We love hearing about the great relationships you foster. By not being transparent though, brands ultimately jeopardise their relationship with bloggers by proving to be unreliable, and at the end of the day losing potential ambassadors:

“It’s nice that they wanted to share my photo because it means that they like my content, but it does make me feel undervalued if they can’t even be bothered to tag me in the photo when they use it. “

We are looking to raise awareness by sharing Rachel story, and making sure episodes like these do not happen again.

They may not be majorly spoken about, but they are not isolated cases:

“The last time a brand posted my photo across three social media sites without any credit was 4 days ago and I still haven’t heard anything from them. I think it’s incredibly unprofessional and makes it unlikely that myself, or any of the blogger who know about the situation, would work with them in the future’.