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Some random thoughts…

Facebook’s New TOS Have Photographers Jumping Ship!

I was alerted to something via Twitter this morning that concerned me greatly. Photographers by the likes of Scott Bourne, are bailing from Facebook after they (FB) recently changed a couple of lines in their Terms of Service. Some very important lines at that. For all of you who post images (or anything) on Facebook, the Terms of Service (TOS) have always granted substantial usage rights of that content to Facebook. Prior to the recent change, however, that license expired after you cancelled your FB account. Not any more…

Licenses: “You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof. You represent and warrant that you have all rights and permissions to grant the foregoing licenses.”

FB users have been granting this license pretty much since day one. According to a blog post on The Consumerist, a couple of very important lines were recently removed which now grant FB license to your contect FOREVER.

REMOVED (from The Consumerist): “You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

If you post ANYTHING on Facebook, or similar sites, familiarize yourself with the Terms of Service. It doesn’t sound like there’s much we can do about content already posted on FB but, you can be sure, I’ll be splattering any future images with watermarks not to be messed with!

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February 16, 2009 Posted by | Photography, Podcasting, visual arts | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dispelling Some Copyright Myths & My Thoughts

Here’s a link to a great article by Scott Bourne of Twipphoto.com on dispelling some copyright myths: http://twipphoto.com/archives/1554

Reading Scott’s article got me thinking. In addition to the informative comments by Scott, keep in mind that the issue of copyright can be a very complex one. Do keep in mind though, that even though your photos enjoy the protection of copyright once you make them, you’ll need to REGISTER them with the US Copyright office in order to be fully protected (legally) in the event your image(s) is(are) used without your permission.

I’ve heard from many a reputable source that if you do not REGISTER your images and they are used without your permission, you’re basically only entitled to the going rate in return from the user. In other words, what they would have paid you to use it anyway, and maybe a little more for punitive damages. If the image was REGISTERED, however, the penalty starts in the tens of thousands of dollars. Since most large marketing and advertising agencies are aware of this, they are usually more than happy to offer you fair market value for the use of the image. Once you’ve discovered that they’ve used your image, of course.  I, personally, would never settle for the “minimum”.  I’ll try my best to get them to pay for not only the use of the images, but for they lesson they need to learn as well.  And that’s usually considerably more than the licensing of the image itself.  Remember, if the image they used was REGISTERED, the law is on my side, not theirs.

I’ve registered my images with the US Copyright Office in the past, the process is very simple. Download the form, burn all the images you want to register onto a disc, however many that may be, send it in with a check and you’re done. In a couple of months you’ll receive a time/date stamped copy of your form back. You’re submission was registered as soon it was stamped as received. Done.

Do this on a regular basis – annually, monthly, whatever. Just DO IT! I do it annually (for the most part). I tend to submit any images I’ve sold, published and posted on the internet in that year. Basically, any images that have left my computer/office. I’ll burn a DVD entitled “Craig Durling Images 2008” (or whatever) and send it in with the form and check (about $35 as I recall). As long as you submit it using a searchable media, they’ll accept it.  This allows the US Copyright Office to search your images in the event that you need to prove that you’ve registered them.  Check their website for more info on how to do this.

You might think of it this way, which is what I’ve been told by some photogs and attorneys: “If it’s REGISTERED, any copyright attorney will be glad to help.  If it’s only COPYRIGHTED they’re likely to tell you (politely) to pound sand.”  

That reminds me, I have to put together my submission for 2008, and SO DO YOU!

November 21, 2008 Posted by | Photography, visual arts | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment