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ASMP Warns About New Facebook Terms Of Service Changes

By Anthony Thurston on September 7th 2013


As with other social networks, Facebook is constantly updating and changing their terms of service agreement. The latest change to Facebook’s terms of service has the American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) worried enough that they have issued a warning to photographers about the new terms of service.

logoasmptagredAccording to the ASMP the new language in the Facebook terms of service allows the social network to “exploit your name, likeness, content, images, private information, and personal brand by using it in advertising and in commercial and sponsored content — without any compensation to you.” This is obviously an issue, specifically to photographers, but also to the average user of the social network.

Originally these new Facebook terms of service were set to go into effect on September 5th, but do to some complaints about the new terms Facebook has issued a slight delay while they look into some of the complaints. So it is unclear if the language that the ASMP is complaining about will remain in the final version, but it is disheartening to say the least that these social networks continue to try and take advantage of users like this.

What are your thoughts on these new terms of service? Is facebook overstepping their bounds here or is the ASMP and other cautious individuals being overly worried? Let us know your thoughts in a comment below. 

[via Pop Photo]

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Anthony Thurston is a photographer based in the Salem, Oregon area specializing in Boudoir. He recently started a new project, Fiercely Boudoir to help support the growing boudoir community. Find him over on Instagram. You may also connect with him via Email.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Tonya Freeman

    I have many photographer, artists and music friends. I really enjoy their postings Many make their living by posting on FB. It will hurt my enjoyment of FB if they pull their work. Is there anyway they can protect themselves?

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  2. Well stated!!! I willl pull all of my images as well.

    Would not watermarking your work discourage use by FB as it is a crime to remove a watermark.’

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    • Stan Rogers

      Unfortunately, no. Again, read the terms and licenses you agreed to, which includes the right to create derivative works. That *can* be a benign grant of license; it’s required in order for Facebook (or any site built on the same sort of plan) to create the crops and thumbnails used on various parts of the site — but it also allows them to remove watermarks, etc. (They’re not going to put a lot of effort into it, so it your watermark can’t be easily cropped/cloned out without destroying the picture, they’ll find an easier picture to work with. That’s not a legal matter, just a practical one. They *could* have a good retoucher remove your watermark and be well within their rights, but it would be cheaper to find another image or use a stock image.) And don’t forget that the sharing mechanism (the thing that gets you the viral word-of-mouth if you’re using Facebook for commercial promotion) is a big reason for some of the other license grants you would probably never give away gratis under any other circumstances. If they use a picture that you’ve taken of somebody else who objects to the picture being used that way, it would be *your* fault (not Facebook’s) as the photographer and putative rights holder for granting rights that weren’t yours to grant, so if you don’t have a liberal model release to cover the usage, you’re on the hook.

      The point is that you need to be aware of what rights you’re granting when you use a service (or negotiate with a client, for that matter). Read the terms and conditions, and understand the implications. (The same thing goes for photo contests, by the way. If the entry form requires all participants, not just the prize winners, to grant publication/usage rights, then it’s not really a contest — it’s the world’s cheapest way of building a legal stock photography collection. $5000 in prizes for 100,000 or so usable photos is a really, really good deal.)

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  3. chillywilson

    So there for if I see an ad on cokacola and then share it to my FB that gives them right to licence that photo. Sorry but I don’t think FB will win this.

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  4. michelle guilmet-buck

    “due to”

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  5. Brian

    All this talk about Facebook using our hard work for free to advertise their website got me to thinking. How many of us pay Facebook for the traffic we get from being on their website? Last I checked it didn’t cost a dime to use Facebook, so we’ve been reaping benefits without putting forth more than the minimal effort to have a presence on the site. I know you can pay for ads to reach more people, but that’s an added service and not everyone does that.

    Remember: “if you’re not paying for something, you’re not the customer; you’re the product being sold.” Facebook has to keep those servers running and keep the high-bandwidth internet lines connected. Neither of those come cheaply at the level they’re operating at. I’m not saying that Facebook (and other social network sites) don’t exploit their users to make a profit, but just remember that nothing in life is free, so make sure you’re okay with the level of exploitation you’re agreeing to.

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    • Brian

      Woops… just realized there are two Brians commenting here… but it sounds like we have similar ideas anyway. Sorry for impersonating you! ;)

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    • Bjorn Hock

      All rhetoric aside, sure we all use FB for free whether there is a benefit (other than social) or not. There are legalities involved with copyright laws. FB is trying to circumvent those legalities by having us sign our rights away. I agree: if it is that troublesome, don’t use FB.

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  6. Jessica

    I got an idea! Everyone should move to google+

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    • Brian

      Do you really think that Google is any better? They’ve just been at the game of stealing people’s data and privacy longer, so they can hide what they are doing better.

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  7. Mramos

    Does a butcher go into your kitchen and take the dinner you made with the meat you purchased from him and serve samples to other potential customers? No! He spends the money he’s earned from the services he provided and pays for advertising to grow his business.

    Why should social media sites take the pictures and works of photographers to use for their ads., when the premise of using their site for free is to drive traffic to their page on order to sell ad. space to other clients?

    The relationship of a social media site and its users should remain symbiotic. The user benefits by using the ability to connect with other users be it socially or for their business, and the site benefits from the user by gaining their traffic, allowing the site to boost their advertisement strength for third parties to purchase. Should the social media sites, who already profit well, begin demanding ownership and use of their users’ creative works, the scale tips and the sites become parasitic to the user.

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  8. Martine Brucheau

    The bottom line is this is all bullshit, I as a photographer am so sick and tired of facebook stepping onto the brands of photographers. You want to use our brand, than ask, sign a contract and compensate us. It’s fair, if we did what they are doing to us, than we get sued in fact it’s downright illegal. if they go this route, I will not add my images to Facebook, I will just have a regular account and link my website where my images will be stored.

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    • Brian

      If you are tired of it, stop using facebook. I’m not saying that I like what Facebook is doing, but think about it… you aren’t paying to use Facebook. If you are going to make Facebook sign a contract and compensate you for the use of your resources, then maybe they should make you sign a contract and compensate them for the use of their site!

      (I happen to agree with you about having a website and linking to it… that’s what I do. I do post just a few “teasers” to get people over to the site, and when I do so, I do so knowing full well that I just lost all rights to those images to facebook.)

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    • Well stated!!! I willl pull all of my images as well.

      How foolish can FB be. They will lose much more then Photographers posting to their pages.

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