Social Media Terms of Service roundup
Are you giving away your photos when you post them on social media? It's been a while since we heard Terms of Service controversy, so I thought I'd take a look at what the popular platforms are saying these days.
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. In addition:
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.
When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
Some of our Services allow you to upload, submit, store, send or receive content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.
When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.
The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.
Some of the Service is supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.
You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.
You acknowledge that:
By uploading your photographic or graphic works to 500px you retain full rights to those works that you had prior to uploading.
By posting Content to the Site you hereby grant to 500px a non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such
Content in connection with the Services. This license will exist for the period during which the Content is posted on the Site and will automatically terminate upon the removal of the Content from the Site;
The license granted to 500px includes the right to use your Content fully or partially for promotional reasons and to distribute and redistribute your Content to other parties, web-sites, applications, and other entities, provided such Content is attributed to you in accordance with the credits (i.e. username, profile picture, photo title, descriptions, tags, and other accompanying information) if any and as appropriate, all as submitted to 500px by you;
500px uses industry recognized software and measures to restrict the ability of users and visitors to the Site to make high resolution copies of Content posted on the Site.
Notwithstanding this, 500px makes no representation and warranty that Content posted on the Site will not be unlawfully copied without your consent. 500px does not restrict the ability of users and visitors to the Site to make low resolution or ‘thumbnail’ copies of Content posted on the Site and you hereby expressly authorize 500px to permit users and visitors to the Site to make such low resolution copies of your Content; and
Subject to the terms of the foregoing license, you retain full ownership or other rights in your Content and any intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights associated with your Content.
You represent and warrant that:
You are the owner of all rights, including all copy rights in and to all Content you submit to the site;
You have the full and complete right to enter into this agreement and to grant to 500px the rights in the Content herein granted, and that no further permissions are required from, nor payments required to be made to any other person in connection with the use by 500px of the Content as contemplated herein; and
The Content does not defame any person and does not infringe upon the copyright, moral rights, publicity rights, privacy rights or any other right of any person, or violate any law or judicial or governmental order.
You shall not have any right to terminate the permissions granted herein, nor to seek, obtain, or enforce any injunctive or other equitable relief against 500px, all of which such rights are hereby expressly and irrevocably waived by you in favour of 500px.
What that means
Your photos will preserve whatever copyright they had before uploading to this site. We will protect the copyright and will not sell your photos without your permission.
You understand that all information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages, tags, or other materials ("Content"), whether publicly posted or privately transmitted, are the sole responsibility of the person from whom such Content originated.
This means that you, and not Yahoo, are entirely responsible for all Content that you upload, post, email, transmit or otherwise make available via the Yahoo Services.
Yahoo does not control the Content posted via the Yahoo Services and, as such, does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity or quality of such Content. You understand that by using the Yahoo Services, you may be exposed to Content that is offensive, indecent or objectionable.
Under no circumstances will Yahoo be liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to, any errors or omissions in any Content, or any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content posted, emailed, transmitted or otherwise made available via the Yahoo Services.
a. Posting content
Pinterest allows you to post content, including photos, comments, links, and other materials. Anything that you post or otherwise make available on our Products is referred to as "User Content." You retain all rights in, and are solely responsible for, the User Content you post to Pinterest.
b. How Pinterest and other users can use your content
You grant Pinterest and its users a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute your User Content on Pinterest solely for the purposes of operating, developing, providing, and using the Pinterest Products. Nothing in these Terms shall restrict other legal rights Pinterest may have to User Content, for example under other licenses. We reserve the right to remove or modify User Content for any reason, including User Content that we believe violates these Terms or our policies.
What that means
If you post your content on Pinterest, it still belongs to you but we can show it to people and others can re-pin it.
Copies of content shared with others may remain even after you delete the content from your account.
Subscribers retain ownership and/or other applicable rights in Subscriber Content, and Tumblr and/or third parties retain ownership and/or other applicable rights in all Content other than Subscriber Content.
You retain ownership you have of any intellectual property you post to Tumblr.
Subscriber Content License to Tumblr:
Subscriber Content License to Tumblr:
When you provide Subscriber Content to Tumblr through the Services, you grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable right and license to use, host, store, cache, reproduce, publish, display (publicly or otherwise), perform (publicly or otherwise), distribute, transmit, modify, adapt (including, without limitation, in order to conform it to the requirements of any networks, devices, services, or media through which the Services are available), and create derivative works of, such Subscriber Content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purposes of allowing Tumblr to operate the Services in accordance with their functionality, improve the Services, and develop new Services. The reference in this license to "creat[ing] derivative works" is not intended to give Tumblr a right to make substantive editorial changes or derivations, but does, for example, enable reblogging, which allows Tumblr Subscribers to redistribute Subscriber Content from one Tumblr blog to another in a manner that allows them to add their own text or other Content before or after your Subscriber Content.
When you upload your creations to Tumblr, you’re giving us permission to make them available in all the ways you would expect us to (for example, via your blog, RSS, the Tumblr Dashboard, etc.). We never want to do anything with your work that surprises you.
Something else worth noting: Countless Tumblr blogs have gone on to spawn books, films, albums, brands, and more. Any royalties or reimbursement you get for your creations are, needless to say, entirely yours. It's your work, and we're proud to be a part (however small) of what you accomplish.
ote also that this license to your Subscriber Content continues even if you stop using the Services, primarily because of the social nature of Content shared through Tumblr’s Services - when you post something publicly, others may choose to comment on it, making your Content part of a social conversation that can’t later be erased without retroactively censoring the speech of others.
One thing you should consider before posting: When you make something publicly available on the Internet, it becomes practically impossible to take down all copies of it.
Some tips to remember
Read the fine print
For most of today's social sharing sites, the fine print is long, tedious and boring...but it is worth reading. Make an informed decision. Do you care if someone repins or reposts your photos? If you do, you should know what controls you are giving up before you begin posting. Today, Instagram is the popular photo sharing site. A couple years ago, Flickr enjoyed that status. Next year this time, it could be something we haven't heard about yet. Each has its own ideas about ownership.
In the meantime, Facebook or Google + could decide to update their terms of service, further restricting your rights. This area is fluid, as we saw this week. Just because IG backed down, doesn't mean that Mark Zuckerberg will. Know the rules and your rights.
Post your best photos on your own real estate
Post your best photos on your own site -- somewhere you control. Create your own blog or web galleries to host your best work. Many photographer web sites will allow likes and comments -- the same experiences you enjoy on sharing sites. Once you are established on your own site, you can post links back to your photos from Facebook, Google + or the latest site of the hour. You can share low resolution pictures with your friends in their social networks but encourage them to click back to your site to see your photos in a bigger size. This keeps your high resolution photos securely within your control.
If your best stuff is on your own real estate, you don't have to worry about a social site changing its rules tomorrow and destroying what you've taken years to create.
Reconsider your own Terms of Service
Is it a bad thing that someone decides to use your photo in a presentation or as wallpaper? Trey Ratcliff didn't think so, and he claims that he ended up making more money as a result.
Trey uses a licensing construct called Creative Commons. This allows you to pre-authorize anyone to use your photos within specific guidelines. For instance, a common option is that someone can use your photo for a non commercial purpose without asking, as long as they provide you credit. Trey found that his HDR photos were used so frequently, with links pointing back to his blog, that he was far more popular than if he tried to closely regulate usage.
At the end of the day, he wanted exposure and credit for his work. Creative Commons allowed him to achieve both.
Register your images with the Copyright Office
This won't protect you if you voluntarily give away your rights, but if someone happens to "accidentally" use your images withour permission, you now have the ability to seek damages.
The process is fairly simple, and you can register a batch of images for just one fee.
Remember the Photographer's Golden Rule
This seems obvious, but I can't tell you the number of times I have seen other photographers take my photos and post them without credit. I'm sure they mean well and intend no harm, but I think photographers should operate by a different unspoken agreement.
My Photographer's Golden Rule says, if you would want me to acknowledge your photo, you should do the same for mine. Ask first and offer credit. It's only fair. (Unless you see a Creative Commons license, of course.)
The Instagram debacle showed that as more of us spend time creating art on different platforms, we will also insist on a voice in controlling the destiny of our images.
We learned that as sharing sites become successful, the lure of creating more money through advertising will become seductive. Big companies might buy out the cool new site, and the culture could change. We saw a glimmer of that with Instagram, as we did with Flickr.
If you care about your work, take an active role in controlling it.