Facebook: Rights vs. Business

Recently Facebook was in the news over a change to its terms of service. Specifically, Facebook removed a clause that explicitly stated that their license to display and use content would expire if a user removed their content from the service*.

Photographers have a dilemma when it comes to using Facebook to promote their business. Facebook is a major social network, and having a presence on Facebook is a good marketing move to increase exposure to a wide audience. On the other hand, even after the recent public outcry over Facebook’s terms, the content licensing terms continue to give Facebook a non-exclusive license to use uploaded content in any form they choose, including resale, creating derivative works, and displaying the content outside Facebook.

This becomes a dilemma when one considers things such as uploading portfolio images. Displaying your work for potential clients = good. Giving Facebook the rights to do anything they want with your work = bad.

I made the choice to leave Facebook, at least until they move to more reasonable licensing. Other photographers love Facebook. It’s a personal choice, but one should know what is at stake.

Last week, I gave a presentation at Ignite Portland giving a quick overview of social media, social networks, and content licensing:

* I was actually the first to blog about the expiration clause being removed. See Facebook Terms of Service Change: Content is now Licensed Forever which was a followup to Facebook’s Rights Grab: I’m Out on another one of my blogs.

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