The folks over at Stop Stealing Photos encountered quite the surprise when they talked to a Facebook company rep.
Common copyright law states that you own the copyright of the work that you create upon its creation. However, if you are under a work for hire agreement, then the company you’re working for owns the content.
They cite a specific problem where they consistently get banned and contacted Facebook for commentary. Eventually the rep stated that Facebook owns all content that they upload to their platform–and that if you actually own the intellectual property that they can do whatever they want to with it without having to pay you royalties. They further state that when you upload images, that the same content sharing agreement is fair game for other folks. When asking for clarification, the company rep apparently cited their terms of service. Flickr had a similar TOS a while back until they changed it.
Photographers for years have uploaded images to Facebook for business and marketing reasons and when this issue first came about, it was solved by photographers being smarter about what they upload. For starters:
– Don’t upload entire photo sessions
– Don’t upload high res images even though Facebook gives you the option to
– Upload images at 1000 pixels or smaller at 72 dpi
– Watermark your images
– Be more selective about the type of work that you upload.
But for Facebook page owners, this takes an even bigger toll. With the way that the news feed is now prioritizing videos, Facebook wants you to upload more videos to their platform vs using YouTube or Vimeo in order to maximize views from your fans. This also means that Facebook owns the videos that you’ve uploaded.