Risks and regulations of influencer marketing: the comment by Francesco Inturri on Italia Oggi Sette

Francesco Inturri comments on the legislation for the activity of influencers in an article by Italia Oggi Sette

The importance of what happens online has increased in recent years, adapting to the socialization patterns of the teeneager and becoming normality in the more senior segment of the population during the health emergency. This has led to the consolidation of the figure of the influencer and its many facets. Among these stand out in complexity its declinations in the metaverse, the emergence of underage ambassadors and their potential instrumentation, and micro influencers.

The potential and risks of this category are now well known: an estimated 280 million euro turnover with over 450 thousand jobs. However, there is still a lack of ad hoc legislation that effectively responds to the complexity of this market: the sponsorship contract and the more specific endorsement contract are the ones most often used, but they leave wide latitude on regulation. Their clauses should always touch on the issues of copyright, the obligation of transparent communication and disclosure of the relationship between brand and influencer, the relationship with content-sharing platforms and collecting societies, respect for the rights of third parties, counterfeiting, unfair competition, and unfair business practices, including surreptitious advertising. This context becomes more complicated when professional teams take care of the creation and the management of content to ensure its quality and effectiveness.

“In particular, there is a need for a clear definition of the subject matter of the contract, its duration and terms of execution, and the identification of the boundaries of the use of the influencer’s image rights,” commented Francesco Inturri, an Andersen partner with experience in corporate law and industrial property protection. “Moreover, the influencer who undertakes to promote a good, accompanying the promotion with a personalized discount code whose followers will be able to use at the time of purchase, could be framed in the figure of the commercial intermediary, or to that of the business intermediary.”

Generally speaking, it can be said that a content creator’s freedom of action is delimited by two golden rules: do not harm the reputation of the brands with which they collaborate and do not compromise their image. However, it remains crucial to define the boundaries of the activity lent by the influencer to identify the most appropriate contractual bed to regulate the latter’s burdens and rights.