Copyright & Facebook
“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.”
— Facebook, Terms of Service, section 2
“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.”
— Facebook, Terms of Service, section 2.1
“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).”
— Facebook, Terms of Service, section 2.4
“Facebook respects the intellectual property rights of others and is committed to helping third parties protect their rights. Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities prohibits users from posting content that violates another party’s intellectual property rights. When we receive a valid notice of IP infringement, we promptly remove or disable access to the allegedly infringing content. We also terminate the accounts of repeat infringers in appropriate circumstances.”
— Facebook, Intellectual Property
“You can anonymously report photos that violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (ex: pornography) by clicking on Report This Photo in the Options menu at the bottom of the photo. Facebook reviews these complaints and takes down photos as necessary.”
— Facebook, How do I report an abusive photo?
The Facebook Hoax
“In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!”
— A hoax posted on Facebook feeds
“Facebook doesn’t own your media and there is no such thing as the Berner Convention.”
— Joanna Stern, ABC News, Nov 26, 2012
“We have noticed some statements that suggest otherwise and we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the facts — when you post things like photos to Facebook, we do not own them. Under our terms (https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms), you grant Facebook permission to use, distribute, and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings.”
— Andrew Noyes, Facebook spokesman
“There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users’ information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been.”
— Facebook, 11/26/12
“[You provide Facebook a] non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any content you post. You do not need to make any declarations about copyright issues since the law already protects you. The privacy declaration [in this message] is worthless and does not mean anything.”
— Brad Shear, a Washington-area attorney and blogger
“Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their Facebook accounts nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict terms instituted by Facebook simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls.”
— Barbara and David Mikkelson, Snopes.com / Urban Legends Reference Pages
How do I know whether I am allowed to post copyrighted works to the site?
If the content is subject to copyright protection, you must own the copyright, have permission from the copyright owner(s), or otherwise be legally entitled to post the content. In the United States, and in most other countries, the copyright owner is the person who originally made the content (such as the person who took the photograph). The copyright owner is not necessarily required to register their copyright. For example, in most cases a person who snaps a photo would own copyright to that photo as soon as the photo has been taken, without any registration required. On the other hand, merely appearing in the photo does not mean that you have copyright to it. And similarly, merely owning something that appears in the photo, such as your dog or car, does not provide a basis for you claiming copyright in the photo. Also, giving credit to the person who created the content or disclaiming ownership of the content generally will not be sufficient to avoid infringement. If you are in doubt, you may want to consult with a lawyer or other legal resources.
How do I report a claim of copyright infringement?
Submitting a claim of copyright infringement is a serious matter involving legal process. Before you report a claim of copyright infringement to us, we encourage you to reach out to the individual posting the content. You may find that you can resolve the issue simply by bringing it to the attention of the person who posted the content.
Please also be aware that if you knowingly materially misrepresent that material or activity is infringing, under 17 U.S.C. 512(f) of the Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) you may be liable for any damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees incurred by us or Facebook users. If you are unsure whether the material you are reporting is in fact infringing your legal rights, we recommend that you obtain legal advice before submitting a report to us.
If you believe your copyright is being infringed, the fastest way to send our designated agent a DMCA notice of copyright infringement is by using our online form, which is DMCA compliant. Nevertheless, if you wish to contact our designated agent through traditional (and slower) methods, you may instead use the contact information for our designated agent.
Please note that if you choose to submit a report to our designated agent any means other than through our online form, you may be required by law to include all elements of a complete copyright notice.
Do I retain the copyright and other legal rights to material I upload to Facebook?
“Yes, you retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a license to use and display that content. For more information please visit our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, which contains information about intellectual property, as well as your privileges and responsibilities as a Facebook user.”
— Facebook, Intellectual Property
Facebook displays the metadata copyright field next to the photo. Read more here.
How do I request the removal of my image for privacy law reasons?
If you are attempting to request the removal of an image of your child, you can take the appropriate steps here to receive additional support.
Facebook removes photos or videos that violate our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities in some way. You can report an abusive photo or video by using the "Report" links located near most pieces of content on the Facebook to report offensive material. If you’re tagged in a photo or video you don’t like, you can remove the tag by clicking the "remove tag" link next to your name. Your name will be removed, and the photo or video will no longer be associated with your profile (timeline).
If you have a copyright complaint in any jurisdiction, you can find more information here.
If you think a photo should be removed because it violates your rights according to a privacy law (originating outside the United States of America), please explain in detail how it violates this law here, and we’ll investigate further.
If you think non-photo content (i.e., a video) should be removed because it violates your rights according to a local and national privacy law (originating outside the United States of America), please explain in detail how it violates this law here, and we’ll investigate further.
We will remove photos that you report as unauthorized if this is required by relevant privacy laws provided that you are pictured in the photo and you have filled out the appropriate contact form in its entirety. If you’re not the person pictured in the content you wish to report, or their legal representative, please advise that individual to view this page and make the request.
If you live in a country where the law does not require the removal of unauthorized photos for privacy reasons, including the United States, we will not remove unauthorized photos at your request. You may want to consider contacting the user who posted the photo in order to request that it be removed.
How can I get an image of my child removed?
Facebook removes content that violates the Facebook Terms, based on laws in specific jurisdictions. Use the Report link located near the photo or video to report the abusive content to us. Facebook offers additional privacy safeguards for people under the age of 18:
- Under 13 years old — Please submit a request to have the photo or video removed. We will review the content and remove if it contains an image of your child, he or she is under 13 years old, and you have filled out the report form accurately and completely. Please understand that we can only take action on reports that come from a parent or legal guardian of the person pictured.
- Between 13 and 17 years old — We can’t help you directly unless required to do so by law. Please ask your teen to submit a request to have the photo or video removed.