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Facebook and Copyright

Is Facebook Selling You Out?

With Facebook steadily increasing in size and reach, especially in these pandemic times, knowing your rights when using the platform should always be very important. Unfortunately, many of the over 3 billion users as of last quarter are in the dark regarding their copyright protections.

This monolith though, has provided many good opportunities for its users. As reported in Wall Street estimates in 2019, the company’s growth was valued at $21.08 billion in revenue, increasing 25% year over year. Part of that revenue is from marketing, using its own membership’s material posted on its platform.

What is Copyright?

One of the misconceptions about copyright and social media platforms is that people have the right to use it without permission because something is on social media. This is not the case.
Copyright is a form of intellectual property law, that protects original works, including photographs, videos, literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works.

As the owner of the original work, you have the copyright. The work cannot be used without your express permission, especially for marketing and/or commercial use.

What are Your Copyright Rights According to Facebook?

Facebook tries to get around this basic rule. This is indicated in Sec 10 of their Terms of Use, which reads as follows:

“You give us permission to use your name, profile picture, content, and information in connection with commercial, sponsored, or related content (such as a brand you like) served or enhanced by us. This means, for example, that you permit a business or other entity to pay us to display your name and/or profile picture with your content or information, without any compensation to you.”


“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.”

In effect, by signing up and agreeing to Facebook’s Terms of Use, you are also waiving some of your rights over your copyrighted original work. This is a clear case of evading the need for an express consent on waiver of rights.

Most affected by these terms of use are those people that create original work for a living. This special group, like photographers, writers, and their brethren, often use Facebook to market their skills and talents. They often showcase their work on Facebook to gain exposure to people who would pay to license their work.

Their work and output are now subject to use by a third party (Facebook) without the need for explicit consent or permission related to that specific piece of work.

What Are My Options for Copyright Protection?

There are various ways to go about protecting your rights against Facebook. Here are but some of the ways:

Unplug – To unplug is to delete your profile from the social media platform. Make sure you remove all your images and words first. Keep in mind that your profile, along with your material, may remain on the servers of Facebook if people have reposted it.

Seek Legal Assistance – This is the more prudent move to make. By engaging the services of experienced copyright lawyers, you would be properly apprised of your rights and options as well as the issues you might face in pursuing a copyright infringement claim.

Consider taking the following steps when meeting with a lawyer to see if you have a copyright infringement claim against Facebook.

Preserve Evidence – There needs to be an infringement or a violation of your rights on the platform. The mere fact that Section 10 exists does not mean you have a right to file a case. It would help if you could demonstrate that your original work or composition was used for commercial purposes without your consent, or used in ways not allowed in that section. You need to present evidence. For example, you can take screenshots of your work and any misappropriation committed by Facebook or its minions.

Cease and Desist – This is an important step you could take when engaging the services of a lawyer for your cause. This means that you are serving notice upon Facebook to stop your work’s current and future misuse. In this notice, there is a period of compliance.

If someone continues to violate your rights, it leaves you with little choice but to file a lawsuit.

Seek Damages for Copyright Infringement – This is a challenging and complicated part of recouping the cost of the violations to your rights. Here, your copyright lawyer would draft and file a complaint detailing the copyright violation committed against you.
The goal is to provide you with compensation for copyright violations.

Contact Our Copyright Lawyers For Help Filing Copyright Infringement Claims

If you have copyright concerns about the work you placed on social media platforms and are looking for assistance from experienced copyright lawyers, contact the office of Sanders Law Group, today at 888-348-3090 or submit the form on this page.

We are here to help.

Our copyright lawyers at Sanders Law Group, are dedicated to protecting the rights of photographers and other artists around the globe. Don’t wait to get help enforcing your legal rights to control your work. Call us at 888-348-3090 for a free evaluation of your copyright infringement claim.


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