Mental Property for Social Media Influencers

88% of Hong Kong inhabitants is utilizing social media, and this quantity is rising each minute. It’s no shock that social media has change into a profitable enterprise. Social media influencers (“Influencers”) or key opinion leaders (“KOLs”) are fashionable and highly effective – they create tight bonds with their followers and have the flexibility to affect their perceptions of manufacturers and therefore their spending behaviors. Consequently, they’re now an necessary advertising and marketing channel for a lot of native and international manufacturers. Influencers accomplice with these manufacturers and generate earnings by means of endorsement or different types of help by their profiles on Instagram, WeChat, Fb, YouTube, TikTok, and different social media networks.

Influencers and KOLs construct up and develop their reputations and market values ​​by creating unique contents, the place a number of mental property rights might subsist, that must be managed correctly to protect and maximize their values. On the identical time, Influencers and KOLs might overlook the potential danger of infringing others’ mental property rights when creating their posts and articles given their contents usually trip on pictures and movies formally launched by the main manufacturers out there which carry protectable mental property rights .

Why influencers and KOLs must be involved about mental property rights (“IPR”) of themselves and others?

  1. Mental property rights infringements on the web, sadly, are widespread. If commerce mark and copyright are protected with registration, it’s simpler to implement them within the occasion of a dispute, as in comparison with unregistered rights.
  2. Registration of mental property rights makes it clear to others that they’re protected. This helps to keep away from plagiarism – if different influencers know that the content material is protected, they will not within the first place replicate the content material.
  3. Registered mental property rights give a social media account extra credibility – followers and types discover the contents extra reliable and dangers free.

What forms of mental property ought to influencers register?


Copyright protects the unique influencer’s works of authorship: pictures, movies, posts, artwork, sound recordings, and different forms of content material. The social media influencer or KOL is the proprietor of the content material that he/she creates, and may freely distribute, make copies and commercially exploit the unique works. Others should get permission or license earlier than utilizing such copyrighted contents until a authorized primarily based exception, comparable to “truthful use”, applies.

In Hong Kong, it’s not essential to register a copyrighted work because the copyright subsisting therein routinely arises upon the creation of an unique work. Having mentioned that, from the angle of enforcement, the social media influencer might want to register or deposit a copyright work whether it is of great worth within the occasion it’s stolen by a 3rd celebration.


Trademark is a design, emblem, phrase or any graphic illustration that differentiates one model from the others within the market. The private identify or nick identify of the social media influencer or KOL is the model identify that must be property protected by commerce mark registration to protect and generate its worth.

Web site area

The web site area in itself doesn’t carry an mental property proper but the area identify often incorporates a phrase, a reputation or a phrase forming the model identify of the social media influencer or KOL which will be registered as a commerce mark.

Mental property insurance policies of various social media platforms

The way forward for defending mental property on social media

To develop publicity and popularity, social media influencers or KOLs usually create several types of unique content material that are extremely inclined to authorized dangers. With the web evolving at such a quick tempo, we anticipate infringement of IP proper in social media on-line platforms will improve taking new and extra subtle types. Therefore, it’s crucial for social media influencers and KOLs to be extra cautious and proactive to guard their unique works going ahead. It shouldn’t be taken with no consideration that as a result of nothing unhealthy has occurred to this point and due to this fact they are going to be proceed to be secure going ahead.

Additionally it is necessary to respect others’ IP rights and to not replicate others’ contents with out prior permission.