In the Business of Influence: Contractual practices and Social Media content monetisation

Catalina Goanta, Isabelle Wildhaber

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In 2018, 300 hours of content were uploaded on Youtube every minute. Most of it is generated by regular people who share content for a living, and those who amass enough followers are known as influencers. Traditional­ ly, media laws have controlled aired content. Nowadays, broadcasting decentralisation and social media trends such as influencer marketing challenge the rationale and application of these rules. In practice, content is controlled by private parties, through contracts conclud­ ed in the monetisation supply chain, giving contract law a critical angle to tackle the peer economy of which influencers are part. Contractual transactions are ripe with tensions: Influencers must constantly entertain followers, yet they depend on brands to monetise their popularity. As monetisation is inherently transactional, contracts are powerful windows into the mechanisms which exercise content control. This paper contributes to the debate on the regulation of social media influ­ encers by examining the supply chain and proposing legal classifications for the type of contracts concluded therein according to Swiss law, as well as by discussing potential contractual vulnerabilities for the parties in­ volved in these transactions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346
Number of pages357
JournalSchweizerische Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Finanzmarktrecht
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019


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