Update (2009-11-02): I had the content removed this summer. Pretty fast, too; Facebook’s DMCA team had both offending albums deleted within about 24 hours.
All right, it’s time to get this issue out there. I tweeted it a few times before, many months ago, but last night I was just reminded of the issue by an entire Facebook album of photos uploaded by someone I went canoeing with last summer — but represented as original works. No credit, no acknowledgment, not even anything about the fact that someone else took the photos!
Fine, I did upload the photos to Picasa Web Albums and set them as public, and I did send everyone on the trip the URL of the gallery page… But still, those are my pictures that have been taken without any attribution and uploaded to a social website that claims a ton of rights to user-submitted content in the fine print of its user agreements:
By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing.
[…] this means you’re giving up copyright control of your material. If you upload a photo to Facebook, they can sell copies of it without paying you a cent. If you write lengthy notes (or import your blog posts!), Facebook can turn them into a book, sell a million copies, and pay you nothing. This deserves careful consideration!
Both of the above quotes were copied from a great post at Legal Andrew on the subject of Facebook. (See? Attribution is so easy to give, and yet it’s so often left out.)
So there are issues with Facebook’s terms of service. There are also issues with the emotional connection I feel with my own photos, and my desire to be credited for my work, and my wish to be recognized by others for what I’ve done. Oh, and let’s not forget the horrible feeling that comes from knowing other people think someone else created your work.
I’m not going to mention who copied my photos, not by name. That doesn’t matter; I can handle that person’s abuse easily enough, once I decide what course of action to take. Which brings me to the point of this post.
Using a question as a post title isn’t something I do often (despite it being advised). That means I really want reader feedback on the post, even more than normal. So, it’s a simple question:
How should I handle this unauthorized, unattributed uploading of my content to Facebook?
Should I contact the person through the messaging system (or email)? Or just send Facebook a DMCA notice for the images and be done with it?
I look forward to any and all opinions on this matter.