Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Pinterest, & More: Terms of Content

For professional illustrators and artists who make a living from the work we produce, we must be aware, and beware, of what we are agreeing to when we click on “agree” when setting up a relationship with a social network. It is important to read the terms of service and to know what you are agreeing to. For instance, by posting examples of your work you may inadvertently be licensing a social network to use your work for anything they fancy. Sure, you own the copyright, but that copyright s compromised by you agreement to allow a social network to essentially due anything they want with your imagery in perpetuity. Of course, for those hobbyists who don’t intend to make a living from the work they create, posting photos or drawings may not pose a concern.

© 2014 Don Arday.
So lets say you don’t actually display work on these network sites, you only post links. Be aware that some have included language in their terms that also include material that are provided in active “click” links provided, this could be your website, or other domains where your work is housed.

So how can you safeguard your rights of ownership as an artist, and still be able to participate in social networks. First you must assess what advantage there is in partnering with a social network. Is it for increasing business sales, cultivating followers, exposure to unknown markets, showing off work, communicating with other artists, or for ego, etc. In other words, for what benefit you are you willing to grant unrestricted licensing of your work to a social network for. And then make a decision as to whether a social network will provide the service and advantage that you seek.

Even the social networks refer to your image, writings, messages, etc., as “your content”. It is your responsibility to safeguard and protect that content. It is particularly crucial as you may be dependent on the earnings your creative output generates or may engender in the future.

The statements below were extracted directly from terms of use and content agreement statements provided by social network providers. The social network providers represented here are among the most common ones subscribed to by illustrators and artists.

The Illustrators Partnership Of America (IPA)

To be in the know, I highly recommend consulting the Illustrators Partnership of America website. The IPA is, and has been, dedicated to protecting the rights of illustrators and illustration works, as well as all artists for a number of years.


License and warranty for your submissions to LinkedIn: You still own what you own, but you grant us a license to the content and/or information you provide us. As between you and LinkedIn, you own the content and information you provide LinkedIn under this Agreement, and may request its deletion at any time, unless you have shared information or content with others and they have not deleted it, or it was copied or stored by other users. 

Additionally, you grant LinkedIn a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sub-licensable, fully paid up and royalty-free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, process, analyze, use and commercialize, in any way 
now known or in the future discovered, any information you provide, directly or indirectly to LinkedIn, including, but not limited to, any user generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques and/or data to the services, you submit to LinkedIn, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties.

We will respect the choices you make about who gets to see your information and content. Pursuant to this license, LinkedIn may grant other Members and/or Visitors access and share rights to your content and information in accordance with this Agreement, your settings and degree of connection with them. With respect to your SlideShare content, you may choose to make it available to Members and Visitors under the Creative Commons license of your choice. You promise to only provide us information and content that you have the right to give us and you promise that your LinkedIn profile will be truthful. Any content or information you submit to us is at your own risk of loss. By providing content or information to us, you represent and warrant that you are entitled to submit it and that it is not confidential and not in violation of any law, contractual restrictions or other third party rights (including any intellectual property rights).It is your responsibility to keep your LinkedIn profile information accurate and updated.


Statement of Rights and Responsibilities. Sharing Your Content and Information: 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

In addition: 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. 

When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others). When you use an application, the application may ask for your permission to access your content and information as well as content and information that others have shared with you.  We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.  (To learn more about Platform, including how you can control what information other people may share with applications, read our Data Use Policy and Platform Page.) When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture). We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).


Your Content. Ownership: You retain all rights and ownership in your content.  Behance does not claim any ownership rights in your content. 
License to Your Content.  Even though we don’t claim ownership of your content, we do need certain licenses to your content in order to operate and enable the Services. 

When you upload or submit content to our Services, you grant Behance (and our parents and affiliates) a worldwide license to communicate, distribute, host, make modifications or derivative works (solely for the purpose of better showcase your work), publicly display, publicly perform, publish, reproduce, store, and use such content.  The license granted by you is for the only purpose of operating, marketing, promoting, and improving our Services.  We will attribute to you if we incorporate your content into a Behance feature or into promotional or marketing materials.

Accessing and Sharing Your Content.  By submitting your content to our Services, you also give other Behance users the right to share your content via various social medial platforms integrated with Behance.  

We may offer you ways to access and remove your content.  Our Service may also provide ways for you to limit the scope of use and access and other user’s access and use of your content.  You are responsible for determining the limitations that are placed on your content and for applying the appropriate level of access to your content.  We do not monitor or control what others do with your content.  It’s your responsibility to let other users know how your content may be shared and adjust the setting related to accessing and sharing your content accordingly. Termination of License.  You may terminate this license at any time by removing your content from the Services.  However, you agree that Behance may retain and use copies of your content for archival or backup purposes and for the investigation purpose mentioned later. Feedback: You have no obligation to provide Behance with ideas, suggestions or proposals (“Feedback”). If you submit Feedback to Behance, we may use it for any purpose without compensation to you and have no obligation to keep your Feedback confidential. 


Your Content/Posting Content: Pinterest allows you to post content, including photos, comments, links, and other materials. Anything that you post or otherwise make available on our Products is referred to as "User Content." You retain all rights in, and are solely responsible for, the User Content you post to Pinterest. More simply put: If you post your content on Pinterest, it still belongs to you but we can show it to people and others can re-pin it.

How Pinterest and other users can use your content. You grant Pinterest and its users a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute your User Content on Pinterest solely for the purposes of operating, developing, providing, and using the Pinterest Products. 

Nothing in these Terms shall restrict other legal rights Pinterest may have to User Content, for example under other licenses. We reserve the right to remove or modify User Content for any reason, including User Content that we believe violates these Terms or our policies.

How long we keep your content: Following termination or deactivation of your account, or if you remove any User Content from Pinterest, we may retain your User Content for a commercially reasonable period of time for backup, archival, or audit purposes. Furthermore, Pinterest and its users may retain and continue to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute any of your User Content that other users have stored or shared through Pinterest.

More simply put: Copies of content shared with others may remain even after you delete the content from your account. Feedback you provide. We value hearing from our users, and are always interested in learning about ways we can make Pinterest more awesome. If you choose to submit comments, ideas or feedback, you agree that we are free to use them without any restriction or compensation to you. By accepting your submission, Pinterest does not waive any rights to use similar or related Feedback previously known to Pinterest, or developed by its employees, or obtained from sources other than you

More simply put: Also, don't post porn or spam or be a jerk to other Pinners. Oh, and we can actually use your suggestions to make Pinterest better.


Content and Subscriber Content: Definitions: For purposes of this Agreement: (1) the term "Content" means a creative expression and includes, without limitation, video, audio, photographs, images, illustrations, animations, logos, tools, written posts, replies, comments, information, data, text, software, scripts, executable files, graphics, Themes (as defined below), and interactive features, any of which may be generated, provided, or otherwise made accessible on or through the Services; (2) the term "Subscriber Content" means Content that a Subscriber submits, transfers, or otherwise provides to the Services. Content includes, without limitation, all Subscriber Content.

Your Rights in Subscriber Content: Subscribers retain ownership and/or other applicable rights in Subscriber Content, and Tumblr and/or third parties retain ownership and/or other applicable rights in all Content other than Subscriber Content. You retain ownership you have of any intellectual property you post to Tumblr.

Subscriber Content License to Tumblr: When you provide Subscriber Content to Tumblr through the Services, you grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable right and license to use, host, store, cache, reproduce, publish, display (publicly or otherwise), perform (publicly or otherwise), distribute, transmit, modify, adapt (including, without limitation, in order to conform it to the requirements of any networks, devices, services, or media through which the Services are available), and create derivative works of, such Subscriber Content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purposes of allowing Tumblr to operate the Services in accordance with their functionality, improve the Services, and develop new Services. The reference in this license to "creat[ing] derivative works" is not intended to give Tumblr a right to make substantive editorial changes or derivations, but does, for example, enable reblogging, which allows Tumblr Subscribers to redistribute Subscriber Content from one Tumblr blog to another in a manner that allows them to add their own text or other Content before or after your Subscriber Content.

When you upload your creations to Tumblr, you’re giving us permission to make them available in all the ways you would expect us to (for example, via your blog, RSS, the Tumblr Dashboard, etc.). We never want to do anything with your work that surprises you. Something else worth noting: Countless Tumblr blogs have gone on to spawn books, films, albums, brands, and more. Any royalties or reimbursement you get for your creations are, needless to say, entirely yours. It's your work, and we're proud to be a part (however small) of what you accomplish.

You also agree that this license includes the right for Tumblr to make all publicly-posted Content available to third parties selected by Tumblr, so that those third parties can syndicate and/or analyze such Content on other media and services.

An example of what it means to "make all publicly-posted Content available" to a Tumblr partner for distribution or analysis would be licensing the Tumblr "firehose," a live feed of all public activity on Tumblr, to partners like search engines.

Note also that this license to your Subscriber Content continues even if you stop using the Services, primarily because of the social nature of Content shared through Tumblr’s Services - when you post something publicly, others may choose to comment on it, making your Content part of a social conversation that can’t later be erased without retroactively censoring the speech of others.

One thing you should consider before posting: When you make something publicly available on the Internet, it becomes practically impossible to take down all copies of it. You also agree that you will respect the intellectual property rights of others, and represent and warrant that you have all of the necessary rights to grant us this license for all Subscriber Content you transfer to us.

Content License to You: As a Subscriber of the Services, Tumblr grants you a worldwide, revocable, non-exclusive, non-sublicensable, and non-transferable license to download, store, view, display, perform, redistribute, and create derivative works of Content solely in connection with your use of, and in strict accordance with the functionality and restrictions of, the Services (including, without limitation, Paid Services, as defined below). This means, for example, that we license Content to you for purposes of reblogging.


Rights: Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service.

Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, subject to the Service's Privacy Policy, available here http://instagram.com/legal/privacy/, including but not limited to sections 3 ("Sharing of Your Information"), 4 ("How We Store Your Information"), and 5 ("Your Choices About Your Information").

You can choose who can view your Content and activities, including your photos, as described in the Privacy Policy. 

Some of the Service is supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you. You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

You represent and warrant that: (i) you own the Content posted by you on or through the Service or otherwise have the right to grant the rights and licenses set forth in these Terms of Use; (ii) the posting and use of your Content on or through the Service does not violate, misappropriate or infringe on the rights of any third party, including, without limitation, privacy rights, publicity rights, copyrights, trademark and/or other intellectual property rights; 

(iii) you agree to pay for all royalties, fees, and any other monies owed by reason of Content you post on or through the Service; 

and (iv) you have the legal right and capacity to enter into these Terms of Use in your jurisdiction.


It costs money to set up and maintain a social network, especially one that has free access, so it is not surprising that these networks want something in return. The question for an illustrator is: Does the return justify the potential cost? And for those who need and seek exposure, for the time being, it might. Perhaps all of this legal language is harmless, and I hope it is, but at the same time it may not be.

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