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Facebook rights grab

“By posting user content to any part of the site, you automatically grant … an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide licence … 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. … Facebook does not assert any ownership over your user content.”

 CBC.CA, the Canadian news website, has a great story about Facebook. I a nutshell, it explains, with a recent example, that any image that you upload to you Facebook account can be used without your authorization, for free, anywhere . And unlike the tricky option of Creative Commons, Facebook does NOT grant you a choice. It is all or nothing.

Which is fine if you are posting a mugshot of yourself so your buddies can see you griming face. But what happens if you upload, on your profile, an image of Britney Spears you lifted from Wireimage that you found on the website ? or like Fotolia, you create a profile on Facebook, suddenly allowing Facebook to license your images for free. Well, according to the EULA, it can now be distributed freely around the world . Not good.

CBC.CA example shows images used for news purpose and the Canadian law that allows for such “fair use”.  It is understandable that a site such as Facebook, or Flickr, cannot worry about licensing rights on everything that is posted on their site. It would be an impossible task. But to take full licensing rights by default is a bit extreme, no ?

So photographers and photo agencies beware : Before you create a member page on one of these web 2.0 social site, please read the EULA correctly.

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