ListsTips & TricksTop 7 Legal Issues Faced With User-Generated Video

Pankaj Singh1 year ago

Today more than 500 million videos are watched every day on a single platform (YouTube). As per HubSpot more than 70% of people watch online videos every day and by 2020 and the 80% of all internet traffic will fall into video market. Based on the current trend it can be inferred that the video marketing is one of the popular and effective tactics to engage consumers.

The number of Video content online is increasing per day and it is more than what a television produces in a day. The statistics obviously includes all the user generated videos.

User generated content (UGC) basically means content published by the users of the blog or site instead of the founders of that site. UGC is known drive marketing avenues

Famous UGC Platforms

Famous sites to accept or include user generated content are Medium, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook. These are the platforms through which creative minds publish their opinion or stories so that they can influence the people and bring in flow and recognition to their work.

These platforms are increasing day by day; currently there are more than 1 million websites present on the web. The generation of user content online raises many legal issues for marketers dealing in UGC marketing.

Following article deals with site and publishers’ liability on the unmoderated user generated videos.

Legal Landmines to Avoid

Ordinarily, when a blog or a website is launched it is mostly the engineered content that is published carefully by the owner or the creator. But with recent trend it seen that it is the user generated content brings credibility to a site or an application but with credibility comes legal issues such as copyright and trademark violations, Defamatory or undesirable content which they need to avoid or have to come up with a strategy to overcome the following issues.

Ownership Issues

In 2018 YouTube faced outrage from its user base for using the video posted on its site without any credit to the original creator (Lily Hevesh) of the edited video. After the backlash the company had to give credit to the creator of the video in its original tweet even though as per terms and condition of the site states that it could use the content posted on its site.

This shows that it is always advisable to seek permission from the original creator of the content to use it further.

Employer and Employees

When an employee posts a content on behalf of the employer, he should always make it clear about the ownership of the post made on various sites. They are always recommended to include the policies regarding digital right management clear with their employees fairly clear.


The most common legal issue faced while posting the User-Generated video is the copyright violation. The infringement has open up field of gold for intellectual property lawyers as users posting videos with their articles on Medium do not basically provide credit with it to the original user or take permission to use it along their content.


A famous example of copyright infringement can be seen in the case of YouTube vs. Viacom where the latter served various notices to bring down more than 100,000 works that were posted on the YouTube site and further a suit of 1 billion dollars of damages was sought for aiding infringers. Hence the sites need to be careful while accepting user-generated videos and if in case face issues as such they need to bring down the images immediately.

Trademark and Design

Influencers are paid money by the brands to promote their products and as seen in the case of FYRE festival the Instagram influencers were paid to promote a particular brand with their own produced videos which brought investment and customers as well which paid high amount to attend the festival.

Trademark and design violation are the other form of intellectual property infringement that is commonly seen amongst videos posted by the users. The influencers sending out videos, use products that are trademarked for increasing their user and viewers which in return provides commercial advantage for them and hence if proper permission is not taken they might be liable for trademark infringement for using mark that is registered.

Moreover, if the channels with unique name and good user base can register themselves as a trademark and further use it in commercial products and services.

False Advertisement

False advertisement results in the major legal battle for the sites accepting and posting User-generated videos. Anyone that is posting misleading content online and due to which if anyone faces issues is likely to face legal implications. The most common misleading advertisement is made in Food related matters and regarding their nutritional values. Hence the sites should make sure that they include a disclaimer for their viewers.


If the content is published without control or modification it is likely that the content can invade upon the privacy of any third party. As is seen in the case of paparazzi that follows and records every moment of famous celebrity (TMZ) and post it immediately online for viewers.

In brazil a ban on YouTube was applied because a video containing the famous footballer was posted by a user which was inappropriate and gross encroachment of their privacy.

Actions Related to Speaker

Free speech is thriving today with many available social media and content hosting platforms where people can easily post their opinions or curate to their creativity the legal barrier has been lowered down and the scale has been tipped off towards free speech instead of controlling the defamatory statements.

As seen in the case of Facebook; the site has no liability over the comments or posts forwarded by its members. It will be members themselves that will be principally liable for the content posted.

Indian law clearly provides safeharbour for internet intermediaries posting user generated videos and are hence are not under the obligation to monitor every third-party content posted; but it is still advised to include a disclaimer and guidelines for users and people posting content.

Undesirable and Unlawful content

Power behind UGC is not hidden from the marketers and it is known to build a reputation and trust in the mind of readers but the thing to keep in mind is that more the website is involved in the UGC content the more it will be liable for the videos posted on their site.

The website will have to vet any kind of hateful or inflammatory content from their site before it is published on their site. Your

Recommended Measures to Curb Legal Issues

Once the website or host of the video content has been made aware of the actionable content, they should follow these steps:

  • Block or remove the content from their site/ platform
  • Use plagiarism software or any such filters that would block posting of any such content that might be identical or similar. In certain cases, they are advised to review contents of the videos posted manually
  • Put up a notice to user about the violations in the content
  • Block or suspend the user account from the site.

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Pankaj Singh


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