Can anyone use my Facebook photos without permission?
Q I take photos and post them on my Facebook page. Recently, I’ve had trouble with people using them without my permission. So I told each of them that provided they sent me a cheque for £7.50, which I’d donate to Diabetes UK, they could continue to use them. However, one guy said he was entitled to use the photos because I’d posted them online, and then his friend sent a Facebook message threatening to “sort me out”. What are my rights?
These photos are Edgar’s intellectual property. He owns the copyright, so nobody can use them without his permission. It doesn’t make a jot of difference that he’s posted them to Facebook, or anywhere else online. While Facebook’s terms and conditions do give it a (broad) licence to use your work, it can’t grant this to others.
If you find yourself in a similar situation you should first contact the person using your photos. In many cases they won’t realise they have done wrong, and will remove the photos. If they won’t, then report the matter to Facebook – you’ll find details at www. snipca.com/24501 (look under the ‘Reporting Copyright Infringement on Facebook’ section). One way to prevent this from happening in the first place is to tweak the privacy settings for your photo albums (Facebook explains how at www.snipca.com/24531).
As for the threats, Edgar has decided not to pursue the matter. Making threats online can be a criminal offence – ‘harassment’ or ‘malicious communications’, as explained by the police at www.snipca.com/24502 - so we’ve advised Edgar to save any he receives and report them to Facebook (via www. snipca.com/24503) and his local police force.