Does Facebook own my photos?

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girl wearing a plaid skirt, with no top on and a banner going over her breasts that says "Facebook is hotter than me."Facebook owning the rights to our photos is something most of us never think about when we use it. But if your photos are part of your business or professional image, then this might be a big concern for you.
The Facebook Terms of Service state:

  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.

What this means is that when you post photos on Facebook you give permission to Facebook to use that content, however they only have the right to use your photos in connection with Facebook or Facebook promotions, like television or internet ads.

The exception to this is if you have your privacy settings to only show your photos to your friends list. Facebook will respect your privacy settings.

When you delete your account, Facebook no longer has rights to use your photos. But there is a catch. This is only true if you have all your photos set to be visible only to your friends. If they are visible to friends-of-friends, networks or the public, then Facebook has rights to use them whether you have an account or not. Also, if you post a picture on a friend’s wall, and they do not have their profile set to private, then Facebook has the rights to those pictures too.

The likelihood that Facebook is going to use your photo is pretty slim. And if they do use it, it will only be used on Facebook or for Facebook promotions.

If this is a concern for you, there are a few ways you can help prevent unwanted distribution of your photos.

  1. Put a watermark on your photo, or put a line of text on it that says “this photo is the property of…”

This will also help prevent people from snagging your images.

A watermark or line of text won’t technically prevent Facebook from using your photo, but it does greatly reduce the possibility.
  2. Change your privacy settings to “Friends Only”. 
This will only allow your friends to see your photos.  However, public figures like porn stars, dancers or prominent business people, most likely want their images available to everybody.
  3. As an adult star or dancer, you can use your publicity shots or teaser pictures exclusively in your profile, since you probably don’t mind if people share them.

Read about how not to get deleted from Facebook! More information on Facebook practices for Adult Entertainment.

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