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Image rights on social media - Who can do something with my photos in 2021

Image rights on Instagram and Facebook are not your area of ‚Äč‚Äčexpertise? You just want to share your vacation photos with your friends and you don't know anything about image rights, copyright and Co.? Wonderful. We tell you who with your photos in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter What is allowed to do - and who is not. For the photo professionals, there are a few little tips at the end.

Image rights on Instagram, Facebook and Co? What is that?

As soon as you take a photo, you have certain rights to this picture. Which these are is regulated in the copyright laws. This differs from country to country, but is essentially always the same in Europe. It defines who owns the rights to a work and who is allowed to do something with it. You can find detailed information on the Austrian Copyright Act on Wikipedia. For the short version, just read on.

Basically, if you have created a work (this includes your tipsy selfie on your last vacation at the hotel bar), you are automatically the author of the work. You don't have to register this anywhere, everything happens automatically. This right belongs to you from now on for your entire life. It stipulates that only you can reproduce, publicly distribute or exhibit your work. This also includes uploading and posting the photo on social media.

If someone else takes a photo that shows you, you also have certain image rights. You can find out more about this in this article on the right to your own picture.

What happens to my photos on social media?

When you upload photos to social networks, you accept that many people will be able to see your photos. Depending on your privacy settings, these can also be complete strangers. You must also expect the photos to be used in thumbnail ads on search engines or the like.

Basically, this is nothing more than taking an old photo album (these are those ancient books into which photos were pasted in the distant past) and placing it on a pedestal in a public square. Anyone could look at it and enjoy your cute kids photos. Whether you want that is entirely up to you.

Be it a photo album or social media - this does not change your image rights as the author. That leads directly to the next question:

Image rights on Instagram & Facebook: May my photos continue to be used?

The answer is yes and no. All social media portals have their own terms and conditions with rules on the subject of image rights, which are really tough.

Facebook calls for a "non-exclusive, transferable, sublicensable, royalty-free, worldwide license for the use of any IP content". (As of February 2017)

Instagram grants a "non-exclusive, fully paid, royalty-free, transferable, worldwide license to use the content you post on or through the Service". (As of February 2017)

TwitterorWhatsappprovide similar information in their terms and conditions. It all sounds incredibly cryptic, but basically they all mean the same thing:

  • You stay the author and can do whatever you want with your photos.
  • You give the respective social medium the right to do what it wants with your photos.

What that means for you

Imagine Facebook selling your last party selfie and suddenly you find your face on posters for a campaign against alcohol abuse. A drastic example, admittedly, but it is possible - if it weren't for the Supreme Court. He recently decided (6 OB 14 / 16a) that third-party media will allow your photos uploaded on Facebook Not be allowed to use without your consent. You were lucky again.

Nevertheless, the legal situation remains vague. It's best to follow a few simple resolutions:

  • don't post anything you don't want anyone to see.
  • pay attention to your privacy settings on Facebook, Instagram and Co. (there are helpful guidelines here)

This gives you full control over your photos and doesn't need to worry about image rights on Instagram and Co.

Tips for the professionals

If you work professionally with image content on social media, we have a few more tips for you:

  • Keep your high resolution photos to yourself. We also do something smaller for social media.
  • Use a watermark. No matter what happens to the photo, your name will stay with it everywhere.
  • Upload a photo only once. So you never lose track.

What if I want to use other pictures myself?

Should you ever need pictures for your own post, then under no circumstances should you just steal a photo from another profile. You should have learned that much by now. You can find out where you can legally get a large number of great photos for blog posts or social media posts in our blog post on image rights online, which you should definitely take a look at!

Click here for the article on image rights online

Become a social media professional!

Now you know the basics of image rights on Instagram, Facebook and Co. We explain other helpful basics about Facebook in our Facebook Essentials. If you have any questions or suggestions, write to us at [email protected]