Who Owns The Rights?

Posted on 1/23/2015 by Jim Pickerell | Printable Version | Comments (3)

Have you gotten tired of reading all the “terms and conditions” on the social media sites? Or have you just given up and assumed they are OK. If you really read (and understand) all the terms on these sites is there any time left to engage on the sites? Is there any time left to take pictures?

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Copyright © 2015 Jim Pickerell. The above article may not be copied, reproduced, excerpted or distributed in any manner without written permission from the author. All requests should be submitted to Selling Stock at 10319 Westlake Drive, Suite 162, Bethesda, MD 20817, phone 301-251-0720, e-mail: wvz@fpcubgbf.pbz

Jim Pickerell is founder of www.selling-stock.com, an online newsletter that publishes daily. He is also available for personal telephone consultations on pricing and other matters related to stock photography. He occasionally acts as an expert witness on matters related to stock photography. For his current curriculum vitae go to: http://www.jimpickerell.com/Curriculum-Vitae.aspx.  


  • Martin Skultety Posted Jan 24, 2015
    Hello Jim,

    thanks for this interesting article. It is clear that if you upload any of your images onto any of these social media sites, you basically give away broad non-exclusive rights and lose control over the distribution of your content.

    But that's not really the main concern for image professionals such as photographers and photo agencies.

    What we see happening all the time is that THIRD PARTIES upload our content and nobody seems to care about it. It would be interesting to get an update on the legal constellation here. So for example, if any internet user uploads images that he has not obtained rights for, can the social media sites still claim to have a license to re-distribute them? If not, who's actually infringing the copyright here and how can it effectively be enforced?

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 24, 2015
    Barbara Brundage suggested we add Pinterest’s TOS to this list.

    Here are the most egregious sections:

    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.

    c. How long we keep your content

    Following termination or deactivation of your account, or if you remove any User Content from Pinterest, we may retain your User Content for a commercially reasonable period of time for backup, archival, or audit purposes. Furthermore, Pinterest and its users may retain and continue to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute any of your User Content that other users have stored or shared through Pinterest.

  • Jim Pickerell Posted Jan 24, 2015
    Justin Brinson passed along this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L6A1Lt0kvMA that explains how social media is enabling people to make money off of other people’s images. Basically the same thing is happening with still images as well.

    Brinson said, “Go on Facebook or any social media site and see how many times a link takes you to a site that has for example top 10 XYZ or top 20 pictures of XYZ… Sites are taking (stealing) images on the web, from an editorial context and displaying them on a site that encourages people to click though all of them and on EVERY page is a series of ads that they get paid for displaying, so in essence they are making money for you viewing a collection of images they stole and put on this list."

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