by • December 10, 2018 • Photography Comments325

Social Media Fiasco

With the latest news about tumbler changing their policies and rules for postings we can see that all social media apparatus has turned into a political domain of rules about what you can do and what you can’t do.
Those who thought that there was no need to invest in a website now they find out the hard way a simple concept. FREE IS NOT FREE, these owners of social media apparatus like Facebook, Twitter, Tumbler, they all want to rule your content and force you into their political views.

If you don’t complain they you are banned or kicked out and you lost all your investment, time, media and content.
Not a good idea when you run a business.
Rule of thumb: Keep your website, if you get removed from social media, your content is still there and you are the owner of the presentation and where you want to move it.

Remember that Social Media without content is just a nice website, WE THE PEOPLE rule the sites.
Keep your content to yourself and the power to move it wherever you feel comfortable.
Use platforms as WordPress to create your websites, is easy and you will enjoy blogging.

Get back the control of the content to the owners of that content.

Do you still own the copyright on the vacation photos you post to Facebook? Yes, you do. But by transferring them to Facebook’s servers, or indeed any other social network or platform, you give away a license to reuse those pictures for various purposes, and you won’t get a dime back.

For Facebook, it’s a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensee, royalty-free, worldwide license”, for Twitter it’s a “worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sub license)“, and for Instagram it’s a “a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub licensee, worldwide license”. As you can see, the complex language being used is more or less the same across all these networks.

If those terms sound vague, they’re supposed to—they essentially give the likes of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram legal breathing space to work the way they want to. That means Facebook can post one of your pictures in the news feed, or Twitter can let someone retweet your photo, or Instagram can display one of your posts in a hashtag search, without paying you or infringing your copyright.

At no time do you lose the copyright to your photo, or video, or poetic status update. If someone pulls your photo off Facebook and uses it on their own website without permission you can seek legal recourse. And most platforms, including the three we’ve mentioned, will have an additional privacy policy they promise to abide by—in other words, no one can see your photos or content unless you want them to.

As boredom-inducing as it might be, it’s important to check the terms and conditions for every platform you post on, plus the terms and conditions for any connected apps or services you’re using on top, which will usually have rules of their own. In almost every case, you keep the copyright, unless you give it away through some specific licensing like Creative Commons 0.

How your content can get used

The copyright, then, almost always stays with you. However, that doesn’t mean you always have control over how your photos, videos, and other types of content get used, thanks to those licenses you agree to whenever you sign up for a new service.

On the whole, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other similar services just want to be able to use your posts across the platform without any legal hassle, but crucially they also reserve the right to sub license the same deal to whomever they choose.

Sometimes that’s fine—you want to use IFTTT to copy over your Facebook photos to Twitter—but it leaves a gray area where you can’t always be sure how your content is getting licensed and sub licensed out on the web. Third-party companies plugging into the API of a social network may not be as ethical as you’d like them to be.

Does it mean the big networks can potentially license out your content to other places, for free?

Yes. Would that actually happen? Very probably not. Not only are these platforms beholden to their privacy policies, as we mentioned before—so Facebook won’t sub license private photos of your toddler to a stock photo service—the user backlash that would accompany such a move isn’t worth whatever revenue might come in.

Unfortunately we can’t give you hard and fast rules about how the big social platforms could license out your content, and even if we could, they would probably change tomorrow. As with data collection and user safety, you’re essentially trusting them to use your content responsibly, even if the copyright and ownership always stays with you.

We won’t go through every platform and site out there, but look in the terms and conditions and pay specific attention to the licenses you’re granting and any sub licensing that is allowed after that. If you really want to keep your essays, movies, and photos safe from misuse, then your best bet is to keep them offline, or host them on your own, paid-for, web hosting. You’re not granting anyone licenses to do anything then, besides store the content on servers and display it in response to a browser request.

Alternatively find a service with terms and conditions you are happy with. For example, Flickr falls under Yahoo’s terms of service, which focus exclusively on Yahoo’s services: Your pictures are licensed “solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available” and can’t be sub licensed out.

If you’re a writer, Medium’s terms of service are pretty straightforward, and only give the platform a license to host and display your digital scribbling, including “storing, displaying, reformatting, and distributing it”. You’re safe from sub licensing, though you can choose to publish your writings under a number of Creative Commons rules.

The answer of who owns your content is actually very simple: You do. What you need to be wary of are the licenses you’re granting to platforms to use your copyrighted material, in line with their privacy policies and terms and conditions.


Writer: David Nield

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