Beth’s note about a tool for posting photos from Flickr to Facebook, and that tool’s lack of support for Creative Commons licensing got me thinking (and researching) Facebook’s terms of service. The news is not good.
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, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.
You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content. Facebook does not assert any ownership over your User Content; rather, as between us and you, subject to the rights granted to us in these Terms, you retain full ownership of all of your User Content and any intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights associated with your User Content.
In plain English, this means youâ€™re giving up copyright control of your material. If you upload a photo to Facebook, they can sell copies of it without paying you a cent. If you write lengthy notes (or import your blog posts!), Facebook can turn them into a book, sell a million copies, and pay you nothing.
This is incredibly disrespectful of my intellectual property rights. My photos are my photos. They’re not Facebook’s photos. I shouldn’t have to give up all my rights just to share photos with my friends on Facebook. That’s ridiculous.
For the curious: Flickr’s terms of service are much more respectful:
With respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Service other than Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Service solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Service and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo! removes such Content from the Service.
I’m not going to be posting my photos to Facebook, and I would encourage others who care about intellectual property issues to do the same.
Also, I would be very careful about using a “Flickr to Facebook” tool to repost others’ photos to Facebook.
If I find a Creative Commons licensed photo on Flickr, I would clearly not have the right to repost it to a service whose TOS required granting it complete control over the the photo. If I understand correctly, the only photos from others which I might be able to safely post from Flickr to Facebook are those which are marked as being in the public domain.
Sigh. Such are the problems with walled gardens, I suppose.