Protecting Copyrights on Facebook Photos

Facebook is a great place to share your Facebook photos with others. But, one of the biggest concerns photographers have with sharing their work on social media websites is copyright protection. Fortunately, Facebook is very transparent about what rights you have when you upload content. The Statement of Rights is easy to find and is written in English that is simple to understand.

View Your Statement of Rights

Log in to your account and scroll to the bottom of your homepage. There are several links here. Click on the one that says 'Terms'. You will then be brought to the page that hosts your Statement of Rights.

Understand Your Rights

The statement was last updated December 21, 2009. Since this article is about protecting the copyright of your photos, the concern is with section 2, which states:

"You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings."

This means that by uploading content to Facebook, you are not transferring ownership. You own the content and can control who uses it. The next concern is in the next subsection on the page that states:

"For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos ("IP content"), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook ("IP License"). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."

By granting them a non-exclusive, royalty free world wide license, you are allowing them to host your content without paying you. You can also upload the photos on any other website you like. You are sharing your work with the world through Facebook. This social media network is a great place to build exposure amongst people in your network. Just be aware that a million people could be drawn to your content and Facebook won't pay you for driving that traffic to the page. Your license with Facebook ends when you either delete the content you've uploaded or delete your account entirely. 

Other things that Facebook would like you to keep in mind is that even though you delete content, it may still exist on a back up hard drive of the network for a short period of time. The privacy setting of 'everyone' means that anyone on the web can view the page outside of the Facebook network and third party applications have access to your information and content.

The application agreements are a little hazy because each application is different. However, anything you post to Facebook you still own. Even though anyone could right click your image to steal it your copyrights are protected on Facebook and you are not giving up any rights as the owner of your work by uploading it to Facebook.  


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