There is a thing called 'permission,' and brands cannot pull photos they find on social media to advertise their items without it.
Certain brands are infamously known to make money out of social media content that they can use to advertise their products and services. While some labels are kind enough to ask for consent to use these pictures and videos, some do not even bother to do that. There is a thing called 'permission,' and brands cannot pull photos they find on social media platforms to advertise their items without it.
In other words, just because the content is publicly available, does not mean it is free for anyone to use—and certainly not for commercial use. However, real estate consultant and TikTok user Michelle Fairburn (@michellefairburn) found herself having to call out a clothing brand after they used her teen daughter's content without her consent.
In a video shared online, Fairburn explained that her daughter initially reached out to the brand called Emmiol for collaboration. While she agreed to post a video about the brand in return for a free product, their deal included no rights to use her content on their website or as an ad. Fairburn and her daughter were shocked upon finding out that the company used her video for a paid Instagram advertisement, despite explicitly informing the brand that they'd have to pay her to run ads with her content.
The mom of two was "livid" and disgusted at the brand for thinking they could get away with stealing content from her daughter, who is a minor. Fairburn said the business exchange was to begin and end with the free product and a TikTok video shared on her account. Emmiol asked for video rights, but Fairburn and her daughter said they weren't ready for a deal that didn't involve the teen getting paid for using her likeness.
"She got the free product, she posted a TikTok, it went extremely viral, they reached out, and they asked if they could use it on their website, which I said no," Fairburn said. '"You’re going to respond to the brand, and you’re going to ask them for a dollar amount in exchange for them using TikTok on their website.' I mean, why should they be able to use it for free? That is insane.'"
Her daughter's request for payment received no response from the brand. "Now we are sitting in the car, and she just got a text from her friend saying they are using it on her website," Fairburn said, panning the camera to her daughter, who explained that the brand used her content as an ad on Instagram.
Fairburn said that the brand's behavior is predatory and that she is upset because her daughter is a minor. "This is so predatory. Please share this with anyone you think can help me because I am so livid that this is taking advantage of minors on social media," she said. "God forbid other kids out there are allowing this to happen 'because it is cool.' Do you know how much advertising brands have to pay for whitelisting?" she asked. "They are stealing this for free? Yeah, I am tagging you. I am livid."
In a follow-up video, Fairburn shared that her daughter got paid for the content with a commission fee as well as a compensation fee after she posted the first video. "My daughter was overjoyed," Fairburn said. "It taught her an important lesson about not tolerating anyone screwing you over."
Her video struck a chord with many parents who applauded Fairburn for being such a protective mama. "She's also a MINOR. Call your local news desk. The media will expose them, which will scare them," said @naomiesykes. "Not everyone would know any better, thank you for sharing. And yesss! Keep showing her how to know her worth," added @yepthatsemily.
"Good for you! Take action, brands think they can take advantage of minors," wrote @cccccxxxjjjj. "Take legal action! You have commercial use rights of your image that they’re profiting off. Make sure you screen record evidence!!!" suggested @paigebonner_. "Take legal action! Good job on you for protecting your daughter and making sure she knows her worth," said @relatablebitxhh.