Facebook’s Terms of Use To Be Revised – ‘Til Then, Hold Onto Your Photos

This week, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook (FB) announced that FB would return to its old Terms of Use (TOU) after the Consumerist noticed a change in the terms. But, as reported here in January, the old TOU aren’t good either, especially for photographers who care that their photos might be used for promotional purposes without payment.

Facebook’s TOU currently state:


By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof . . . .

Certain licenses are needed from you for Facebook to operate. But that need does not include a license to use your work for advertising and other commercial uses to promote Facebook. Fotoquote suggests that a one-year license for a multi-national company’s ad (1/4 screen) is worth about $1,237. Further, as reported in my February 17 blog entry, the FB TOU still state that you’re on the hook for model release issues.

Facebook’s defense is that “it doesn’t own your content.” That’s right. The TOU do not operate as a copyright transfer – only as an extremely broad license. That’s bad enough.

FB says that it is going to revise its TOU again and is requesting input towards that end. But in the meantime, some photographers are wisely removing their photos from FB. As Dean Siracusa, President of Transtock, Inc., reports: I’ve taken all my own personal images down from my Facebook page and have told my photographers to do the same thing. I advised them to put a link on their Facebook page to their own personal website instead.” Good idea!

So Dean is taking advantage of one of the best FB Terms: he is “remov[ing his] User Content from the Site . . . [so that] the license granted above will automatically expire.”

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