Most of us don’t read the Terms and Conditions before signing up for any service on the net. Sure they don’t come back to haunt us most of the time, but that doesn’t mean that it will never or it can’t. Protecting your photos from getting abused or landing up on another site is slowly becoming a concern. What makes this thing monitor even more difficult is that there is not a common usage policy. Terms and Conditions differ from site to site, and the permission granted too.
For creative personnel, sharing their images or work is not such a bad thing. It can give them exposure and spread the word. But yes, they need to be acknowledged as the creator or owner of the image. A great tool to find whether your image has landed up somewhere where you don’t know is to use TinEye.
Of course, you shouldn’t be posting images on the net which you are really sensitive or protective about. You can check this awesome list by Kathy E. Gill from Media Shift, which offers relevant information about photo sharing among the platforms side by side. You can also read her blog post related to this here.
Following is the list of Terms and Conditions across various platforms regarding photo usage. (As the Terms and Conditions keep changing on the fly, if you find any discrepancy please comment.)
“You retain full copyright of any original content that you send us. By posting to Posterous, you’re granting us a license to distribute your content on this site.”
“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.
“By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)”
“Subscriber shall own all Subscriber Content that Subscriber contributes to the Site, but hereby grants and agrees to grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable right and license (with the right to sublicense), to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services.”
“You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”
flickr (by Yahoo!)
“Photos and/or images found on Yahoo! Images or Flickr are the property of the users that posted them. Yahoo! cannot grant permission to use third party content. Please contact the user directly.”
“However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service.”