If you are posting pictures that you’ve taken on Facebook or any other social media website, you may be wondering if you are allowed to post your own watermarked pictures there.
If you own the photo you are posting to Facebook, you can watermark it. However, there are some caveats on Facebook’s right to use your photos.
Now, you may be curious as to what some of these caveats may be and if there is anything that can be done about it. Below, I will cover everything you need to know about watermarking photos on Facebook and the rights you have to them!
Yes, you can watermark any photo that you are the creator or copyright owner of. There is nothing against you putting those photos on the social media giant.
It is recommended that you put watermarks on your pictures because this keeps them safe. They will prevent thieves from taking and using your images without permission or even profiting off of them.
Make sure your watermarks are big and not easy for someone to photoshop them off of there. Image thieves are crafty and will go to lengths to pass off your hard work as their own. The internet is full of bad people that want to profit off of other people and the work they have done, so it’s better to be safe than sorry!
So, you may think that because you own the photo Facebook wouldn’t be allowed to take your photo and do anything with it. This is not the case though. When you post them to really any social media, you are basically giving them a royalty-free license to use your images!
Posting photos gives them the right to use them however they see fit and they can even gain profits from your pictures. They are basically able to use anything that is posted on their website because of the user agreement when you sign up.
This obviously doesn’t sit well with a lot of people, but that is the risk you sign up for when you are using these websites. It’s a little scummy but many photographers get their income from advertising their works on social media because it’s advertising.
Not only that, but they can grant others the right to use these photos. If you are posting them to Facebook, be aware of these issues and know that the copyright laws are on their websites because you don’t want to be caught off guard.
There is more information on this subject here. It’s a good resource for seeing how much power these websites have over the personal content that is posted on their platforms. These may not be the newest updated terms and services, but this particular issue is still the same.
No, the watermark doesn’t protect them from using your work. It can act as a deterrent though. If the image you are uploading is watermarked, that is the version you are giving them a license to use, they can’t demand a watermark-free version.
So, if you are going to upload pictures and you don’t want them to use them, the best thing to do is to put a big watermark all over it. Make sure to include a link to any off-site portfolio and your name or the name of your business.
The best way to protect your photos from photo thieves and social media websites is to simply watermark them.
If you are worried about the aesthetic of the photos, there are slightly transparent watermarks you can put over the image that don’t negatively affect how it looks. It’s not the most ideal situation but if having your work stolen is a genuine concern, it may be the only option you have.
It may also be helpful to let people know that they can purchase your photos to use commercially or non-commercially. That way you can at least make money on something that is likely to get stolen. The purchaser would receive the watermark-free version.
There is no surefire way to keep the most determined people from using your photos, but making it difficult can prevent a lot of theft. Anything that gets uploaded online is at risk of being used without permission or used in an inappropriate way.
There are a few things you can do if you see your photos are stolen, with or without the watermark.
You can send an email to support if it’s on social media. If you see them on a website, you can email them to remove the copyrighted photo. This may or may not work, because a lot of these places will not listen.
You can send a DMCA takedown notice to the website owner and the company they are hosting. This usually gets more done than a simple email because people fear the consequences of copyright infringement. However, if it doesn’t work, the next step would be an attorney and if they aren’t making money off of it, it may not even be worth the hassle and money.
If they are in a foreign country it can be even more difficult to get your stolen pictures removed. Remember, none of this applies if the image was posted to Facebook or other social media websites, since uploading them gives them automatic usage.
As you can see, the world of copyright and watermarks can be a difficult thing to navigate. The looming power that social media giants have is concerning for artists and everyday people alike. Always read the user agreements before posting your images somewhere and be aware of what can happen.
For those that may take your pictures and post them on sketchy websites, or sell merchandise with your photos, you can always do DMCA notices or hire the help of a copyright attorney.