"Do not post your digital photos to facebook" - was the message I first took from the article when I read it. Facebook will own the photos you post.
Is this true? Once something is posted onto Facebook it becomes Facebook's property. Anyone can copy and use your photo anywhere on Facebook, and it's legal and within Facebook's policy.
It was a shock to me when I read a headline from one of the photography blogs I follow. The headline said that Facebook claims the ownership of the images as soon as I post them on their web site.
As a portrait photographer who post client images to Facebook fairly regularly, this was a big concern for me.
Here is the original quote from Facebook representative in a email conversation with Corey Balazowich of Stop Stealing Photos:
As it turns out, this may not be fully accurate. If you want the finer details on Facebook's actual policies you can visit Corey's post at StopStealingPhotos.
Facebook's policy may not be super clear, even to a copyright attorney. What is clear is that you should think before you post.
Anyone that can see the photos that you've posted can steal them. There's a download link for each photo. Facebook is built around the idea of sharing.
There are a few things you can do to protect your photos from being copied:
1. Adjust your privacy settings in Facebook to control who can see them.
2. Watermark them with the © symbol and your name or another graphic.
3. Make your images small so that your photos can't be sold or printed.
The only 100% method of preventing anyone from copying your photo is not to upload it to Facebook in the first place. But then nobody can enjoy your photographic masterpieces or can view your work and consider hiring you.
One additional note: Facebook does have a method for you to report if someone is using one of your photos improperly.
Shoot more photos.
Watch less TV