From a legal and privacy ‘point of view,’ it is always an interesting question if the images or anything else you upload on Facebook belongs to you or not. Facebook has highlighted extensive details on the matter, but let’s face it, you will not invest your precious time going through every nook and cranny attempting to figure out the true ownership of the uploaded images.
However, while answering the mighty question of “Do I Own My Facebook Photos,” we are here to separate fact from fiction and provide you with the necessary information.
Does Facebook actually own the images I upload on the social network?
To summarize everything, no they do not because that is not how the world of copyright works. If you’ve snapped them with your camera, they still belong to you, not Facebook.
The juicy bits have been highlighted in Facebook’s terms of service page, where the important details have been posted below, and we strongly suggest that you pay close attention to these —
- Some content that you share or upload, such as photos or videos, may be protected by intellectual property laws. You own the intellectual property rights (things such as copyright or trademarks) in any such content that you create and share on Facebook and the other Facebook Company Products you use. Nothing in these Terms takes away the rights you have to your own content. You are free to share your content with anyone else, wherever you want.“
- Specifically, when you share, post or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights on or in connection with our Products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free and worldwide licence to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate and create derivative works of your content
- This licence will end when your content is deleted from our systems.
What rights does Facebook have over the photos I have uploaded? Do I Own My Facebook Photos?
HowToGeek has managed to see through the lines of Facebook’s terms of service and has detailed that the social network giant will get a ‘non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license’ to your photos.
Now, what exactly does this mean for the ownership of your photos? It means that you will still be in possession as far as ownership goes, but there is a lot of depth to that.
In the above sentence, it is stated a ‘royalty-free, worldwide license,’ which means that Facebook can use your photos pretty much how it sees fit, and you’re not at liberty to ask them for payment if you feel offended by their actions. In simpler terms, it means that taking them to court will not result in you becoming an overnight millionaire.
Now that this is off the table, what about the remaining terms such as ‘transferable’ and ‘sub-licensable’? Well, it means that Facebook can either transfer the license to another entity or just sub-license it, and this will once again be carried out without your permission.
As for ‘non-exclusive’, it means that you are free to license your photo to anyone else you want and Facebook or its legal team are not going to put you in their crosshairs. Just because you have uploaded a photo to Facebook, does not mean you’re barred from sharing it on other social media networks ranging from Twitter, LinkedIn, and several others.
Why has Facebook imposed these terms? Are they evil?
Think of this “Do I Own My Facebook Photos” situation like this — in order for Facebook to function like it does, the above terms and conditions have been dotted down. If they were not present in the first place, then it means that publicly displaying your photos for the sake of your friends’ viewing pleasure would have been downright impossible.
If the licensing conditions were not present there, it would have been a straight road to copyright infringement, resulting in both parties taking long and arduous trips to the courtroom, but we’re glad that’s not happening.
How can I take better control of my Facebook photos and data?
You still have the freedom to limit your photos from being viewed by other people. This way, they won’t be able to access your photos and download it. All you have to do is make a setting tweak options in security, and you’re done. As for ownership, you’ll be in command of whatever is uploaded, but Facebook is still able to use them on their own accord.
However, keep in mind that the company is definitely not going to take advantage of whatever you upload in an unethical manner, so you have nothing to worry about.
It’s already making tons of money by tracking you, selling your data to advertisers, and it won’t sell your pictures to earn a little more. The scary privacy settings are just there to make sure that the website functions without any legal troubles.
If you have something to add to this story on Facebook photos ownership, share your thoughts and feedback.