Recently I had an enquiry by someone who saw my photos and thought I was breaching a contract I signed with British Fashion Council. So I thought I would do a little research into all the Terms of Service across the best known social networks for photographers. Here are my findings and at this point I must tell you I am not a lawyer, not an expert, therefore do not take this as law abiding information, they are my observations only.
Flickr is owned by Yahoo and as such you are abiding by Yahoo's Terms of Service as found here:[link]
This is the part you need to read:(b) With respect to Content you elect to post for inclusion in publicly accessible areas of Yahoo! Groups or that consists of photos or other graphics you elect to post to any other publicly accessible area of the Services, you grant Yahoo! a world-wide, royalty free and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish such Content on the Services solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting the specific Yahoo! Group to which such Content was submitted, or, in the case of photos or graphics, solely for the purpose for which such photo or graphic was submitted to the Services. This licence exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Services and shall be terminated at the time you delete such Content from the Services.
(c) With respect to all other Content you elect to post to other publicly accessible areas of the Services, you grant Yahoo! the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sub-licensable right and licence to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed.
Having read the confusing terms I cannot seem to find anywhere that specifically says anything you post is yours. However, they clearly say that you are just giving them permission to use the content to promote themselves and you for that matter.
Google's terms can be found here:[link]
And google writes:Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.
When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.
In the same manner as Flickr they will be using the content to promote themselves and you, however, they do add that your content is yours.
Deviantart terms were really easy to find and they are here:[link]
There are two sections you must read, point 4 and point 16:4. Copyright
deviantART is, unless otherwise stated, the owner of all copyright and data rights in the Service and its contents. Individuals who have posted works to deviantART are either the copyright owners of the component parts of that work or are posting the work under license from a copyright owner or his or her agent or otherwise as permitted by law. You may not reproduce, distribute, publicly display or perform, or prepare derivative works based on any of the Content including any such works without the express, written consent of deviantART or the appropriate owner of copyright in such works. deviantART does not claim ownership rights in your works or other materials posted by you to deviantART (Your Content). You agree not to distribute any part of the Service other than Your Content in any medium other than as permitted in these Terms of Service or by use of functions on the Service provided by us. You agree not to alter or modify any part of the Service unless expressly permitted to do so by us or by use of functions on the Service provided by us.
16. Copyright in Your Content
deviantART does not claim ownership rights in Your Content. For the sole purpose of enabling us to make your Content available through the Service, you grant to deviantART a non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, distribute, re-format, store, prepare derivative works based on, and publicly display and perform Your Content. Please note that when you upload Content, third parties will be able to copy, distribute and display your Content using readily available tools on their computers for this purpose although other than by linking to your Content on deviantART any use by a third party of your Content could violate paragraph 4 of these Terms and Conditions unless the third party receives permission from you by license.
As you can see, it also clearly states you own your own content and they are just promoting themselves and you.
Another site with easy to find terms of service:[link]
You scroll down and you can find the section about content, they even do a summary, which makes it simple to understand. Which is just as well because their terms are the longest of them all:Please read this section carefully before posting, uploading, or otherwise submitting any Content to the site. By submitting content to the site you are granting 500px a worldwide, Non exclusive license to use the content and are representing and warranting to 500px That the content is owned or duly licensed by you, and that 500px is free to publish, Distribute and use the content as hereinafter provided for without obtaining permission Or license from any third party.
In consideration of 500px's agreement to allow you to post Content to the Site and 500px's agreement to publish such Content and for other valuable consideration the receipt and sufficiency of which are hereby expressly and irrevocably acknowledged, you agree with 500px as follows:
You acknowledge that:
By uploading your photographic or graphic works to 500px you retain full rights to those works that you had prior to uploading.
By posting Content to the Site you hereby grant to 500px a non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content in connection with the Services. This license will exist for the period during which the Content is posted on the Site and will automatically terminate upon the removal of the Content from the Site;
The license granted to 500px includes the right to use your Content fully or partially for promotional reasons and to distribute and redistribute your Content to other parties, web-sites, applications, and other entities, provided such Content is attributed to you in accordance with the credits (i.e. username, profile picture, photo title, descriptions, tags, and other accompanying information) if any and as appropriate, all as submitted to 500px by you;
500px uses industry recognized software and measures to restrict the ability of users and visitors to the Site to make high resolution copies of Content posted on the Site. Notwithstanding this, 500px makes no representation and warranty that Content posted on the Site will not be unlawfully copied without your consent. 500px does not restrict the ability of users and visitors to the Site to make low resolution or 'thumbnail' copies of Content posted on the Site and you hereby expressly authorize 500px to permit users and visitors to the Site to make such low resolution copies of your Content; and
Subject to the terms of the foregoing license, you retain full ownership or other rights in your Content and any intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights associated with your Content.
Your photos will preserve whatever copyright they had before uploading to this site. We will protect the copyright and will not sell your photos without your permission.
As you can see, clearly states the content is yours and they are just promoting themselves and you.
Facebook now owns a number of social networks which include Instagram, Lightbox and many others. The site's terms and conditions are here:[link]
Here is what facebook says:You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:
1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
3. When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you. We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information. (To learn more about Platform, including how you can control what information other people may share with applications, read our Data Use Policy and Platform Page.)
4. When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
5. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).
They also say you own everything you post, however, they do not delete your content even after you delete it or think you have deleted it. The information is there to stay forever and they can use it without compensating you for it. Once you upload, they can sell it without giving you money for it.
From the above, I think I made the right decision when I removed everything from Facebook (although it is still in the servers somewhere). Also took the right decision to not use Flickr any more, I would like to see it clearly stated that anything I post there is mine before I use it again. Deviantart I have used for years and I love it. The best artist's social network around as far as I am concerned. And 500px is a brilliant site. I have had more feedback and seeing more interesting photographs than I ever did in any of the other sites. Google+ is also brilliant and hence why it is growing in popularity amongst photographers.
Having researched everything I am pretty sure I have not breached any contract with anyone. The photos I post here, in Deviantart and 500px are clearly stated as my own and no one is selling them without my permission.
So there you are, hope this has helped you. If you are a lawyer and can help further, feel free to comment. These are my observations only so please seek further advice from an expert if you need more help or want any clarification.
If you download my stock photographs you have to abide by these rules:1. Lusete retains all rights to the photograph
It is Lusete's copyright. Do not claim as your own. You are purely granted permission to use it, nothing else. You are NOT allowed to sell my photographs anywhere. 2. Stock Photographs are Royalty-Free
This means you can use them for most projects provided you have paid the FEE (read fee section) and followed rule No.1. Projects can be: artworks, marketing, book covers, CD covers, editorial and educational purposes.3. No need to notify me, but would be nice.4. No need to credit me, but would be nice5. I reserve the right to change my rules at any time FEES 1. Fees of old stock photographs
If you have already downloaded, in the past, one of my stock photographs you now must pay a fee to use it. The fee per image is 10 DA points. This is per image used and it is less than $0.10! Bargain. There are exceptions, please read below.2. Fees of new stock photographs
Fees are individual to each photograph. Details are provided on every photograph. Exceptions 1. What happens if you did an artwork before my rule changes?
If your artwork appears in this folder [link]
then you are exempt from the 10 DA points charge. If your artwork does not appear in the above folder it is because you never notified me. You will have to pay 10 DA points to use the stock image. You still need to abide by the other rules.2.What about the Exclusive Dreamers of Avalon Stock Packs?
These are exempt of any charge. You still need to abide by the other rules. And I will be uploading more to this group. You can find them here: [link]3. What about the stock photographs that were done by ~LughoftheLongArm ?
These are exempt of any charge. You still need to abide by the other rules. The stock photographs taken by ~LughoftheLongArm
are clearly marked. You can find these here: [link]
and [link]4. What if I won a gift pack or paid for a gift pack?
These are exempt of any charge as the people won them fair and square. Plus the people who paid for a gift pack have in effect already paid a fee. You must still follow the rules.