Always be credited for your work!
No matter how big your platform is, you should always be credited if someone uses your work. Normally, that is not a problem when you license out your work to companies/other profiles – when your content is used as part of an actual agreement, being credited is usually assumed. Unfortunately, there is an all too common problem with companies and private profiles thinking that it is okay to steal other creators’ content. Almost every single content creator has, at some point, seen their own work uploaded to a different profile without so much as a mentioning of themself. Most people don’t mean harm when they do it and will remove the content when they are confronted about it (and if they don’t, CatchScan is here to help!).
But being credited is only worth so much. Some companies and accounts dedicate themselves towards exclusively reposting other creators’ content and try to justify it by saying they are diligent in crediting the creators. Perhaps they claim that what they are doing is giving shout-outs to different creators, but is it fair that they earn money from other creators’ content, just because some of these companies/profiles repost it to their huge following?
Know your rights, know your worth
First thing to get clear is this: Just because you are credited doesn’t mean your work hasn’t been stolen. In fact, you might even be within your right to ask for compensation for damages done. Now you may be thinking “Compensation? Great! But what is this “damage” I am being compensated for?”. Well, simply put, reposting could lower the novelty (and thereby the value) of your content. If 50.000 users see your content on someone else’s platform, they might be wowed by it and engage with it, but there is a good chance they won’t do so when/if they then see that same content later on your own platform. Which isn’t fair because they were being wowed by your work!
Okay, so reposts without your consent are theft. But what if someone asks you if they can share your work and promise to credit you? What is being credited actually worth? While there is no straightforward answer here, there are some guidelines you can follow as a content creator.
First and foremost, make sure you are credited clearly (and as the very first thing if there is a text description to the upload). Especially on Instagram, many users don’t read past the first couple of words, so if you aren’t credited at the very top, the mention is almost worthless!
Now that you know how to get value from being credited, let’s talk about what that value is. A useful approach is to see “credit as payment” as “giving out free samples”. Free samples are a tried and tested way to create awareness of a brand, but since your product is the content you create, it can also be an expensive way to get exposure. If a blog/company/SoMe account uploads your image and content, it might get a lot of views, but if only a few users subscribe to your account(s) as a result, you have lost potential ad revenue and engagement.
The Credit Checklist
All in all, consider these points when estimating if being credited works as payment:
- Other people reposting your work without your consent is theft, no matter how well you are credited. You can be compensated for this! (And CatchScan can help you with that).
- Being credited is only valuable if you are clearly credited.
- Consider if giving out a “free sample” is worth it for the potential growth of your platform, or if you lose too much by letting another profile reap engagement from your work.
The tricky part is the last point, as it is very much a case-by-case matter. But remember: no company or client is going to be all that interested if your following consists of 50 people, all of whom are family and friends. If you are just starting out, getting your face out there via bigger platforms is a great step forward. Once you have a real following though, you have to ask yourself if your work is worth more than a pad on the shoulder and a mention in the description.