Like clockwork, every couple of months some “fact” about Facebook goes viral. Facebook is going to start charging you money! Copy and paste this status or Facebook will cook your children! As soon as you upload them, Facebook owns your photos!
That last one is especially common, so let’s talk about it.
Let’s start by getting on the same basic page: no, Facebook doesn’t own your photos. That’s not how copyright or real life works. They’re still your photos, not Facebook’s. In fact, it’s right in Facebook’s terms of service: “You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook.“
Got it? Good. Myth busted. Now let’s address what rights Facebook does have with your photos once you upload them. Here’s the relevant bit of the terms of service:
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:
So Facebook gets a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license” to your photos. Let’s break it down.
A “royalty-free worldwide license” means Facebook is free to use your photos pretty much how they’d like anywhere in the world without paying you a penny or asking your permission.
“Transferable” and “sub-licensable” mean that Facebook can either transfer the license to another entity or just sub-license it, again without your permission.
Finally, “non-exclusive” means that you’re free to license your photo to anyone else you want. Just because you’ve uploaded a photo to Facebook, it doesn’t mean you can’t share it on Twitter, or do whatever else you want with it.
These are all pretty broad and scary terms but, for Facebook to work as intended, it needs this sort of vague license. Displaying the photos you post to Facebook in your friend’s News Feeds would be impossible otherwise: if you hadn’t given them a license, it would be a violation of your copyright for them to show that photo to your friends.Read More...
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