As the Internet focuses on Social Media, photographs become increasingly important. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ posts share better with great photographs. Unlike video or text, photographs are immediate, beautiful and engaging. Unfortunately there are ownership issues surrounding photographs on social media that every photographer, marketing manager or business should be aware of.
The issues related to copyrights are clearly listed in the Terms of Service agreements on every social media site. Buried in these lengthy, complex agreements are terms that are designed to protect the social media site. Each agreement is a little different and they are updated and changed periodically.
On most Social Media sites when materials with intellectual property rights like photographs are posted the poster is granting a non-exclusive sub-license of the photograph to the social media site. The sub-license is free and it allows other users of the site and the social media site itself to turn around and then use or license the photo for free or for profit. The photographer (or owner of the exclusive license) retains ownership of the photograph but only in a non-excusive capacity once it is posted.
Why do these sub-licenses matter?
From a professional photographer’s perspective by posting a photo on a social media site they are basically removing the ability to ever sell the exclusive right to the photograph down the road. Should the photographer’s work ever become valuable both the social media site and any other entity that has acquired the photograph through the site can use it as they see fit for profit without owing royalties to the photographer. In the case of Google+ this license if forever, called an “irrevocable” license.
Here is the TOS for Google+
“By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.
You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.”
Google+’s user agreement is the most extensive of all the social media sites in that it is irrevocable. The forever nature of the license means that under no circumstances can the poster of the photographer ever recover exclusive rights to the photograph.
Good morning Google Plus one users, we have decided that it was best for us to change the colors on your website. We know everyone likes washed out red, so this is the new color we added to your website:
The good news is it still functions the same, although I personally do not like washed out red on my website. Well you have no choice as Google does not allow you to alter their button in anyway.
I would imagine that Google is trying to be more like Facebook, and pattern their button along the lines of that of Facebook.
Facebook has done us a favor today and changed the security settings in all of our accounts. Take a look at the Facebook URL (web browser URL window) you will see http://www.facebook.com (non-secure webpage) instead of https://www.facebook.com (secure webpage) you are no longer on an encrypted secure page. I am not exactly sure why Facebook likes to make these changes, and not tell anyone? People will figure it out and then it appears as if they are being sneaky! I think they would be better off going public and telling people it will provide a better user experience, which is what everyone else does.
How to fix this? Go to Account-Account Settings – Click Security on the left top corner – click Edit next to Secure Browsing, Check box, click Save. Facebook has the default setting to a non-secure setting; needless to say this non-secure setting provides benefits to Facebook, not to its users.
The battle between FaceBook and Google mightbe overrated, but in terms of innovation, both companies are definitely doing their best. In the “50 Most Innovative Companies of 2011” list, published by Fastcompany Magazine, Facebook, the leader in 2010 is placed third (“For 600 million users, despite Hollywood”).
Notably, one place ahead of the world’s largest social network is the micro-blogging website Twitter (“For five years of explosive growth that have redefined communication”). 200 million users mark is certainly not far away.
At the very top, placed first, is Apple (“For dominating the business landscape, in 101 ways”). iPad is probably the reason they went two places up from last-years third position.
And what about Google? And Microsoft? Don’t worry, both are there. Google is sixth (“For instantly upgrading the search experience”) – one place behind Groupon (5), whose courage is also admitted (“For reinvigorating retail — and turning down $6 billion”). Microsoft is only 37th – but still 9 places up from last year. Bing, and Win Phone OS 7 are both noted as good products, but it is the hand-free Kinect that impressed Fastcompany, “turning the human body into a game controller”.
Another notable inclusion is LinkedIn (“For turning 90 million members into the world’s most useful career database”) and Russian search engine Yandex (26) that is given credit for successfully battling Google in the Russian search market niche and for various complex algorithms. The list, of course, includes off-line companies, such as Nissan(4, “For creating the Leaf, the first mass- market all- electric car”), Trader Joe’s (11, for “For vaulting past Whole Foods to become America’s favorite organic grocer) and Snohetta (35, “For design that’s both social and beautiful”).
Twitter has been here for over five years, but it has become a real “hit” only recently. During the last Superbowl game, a new record for number of over 4000 tweets-per-second was recorded, emphasizing the usefulness of this tool when you want to share your thoughts/impressions/ideas/anything else quickly.
But maybe the founders/owners of twitter have finally decided to make some serious profit from the almost-two-hundred-million registered users? According to some unofficial reports, Twitter had talks with both Google and FaceBook about a potential deal – that is the buyout of Twitter, of course.
While the talks are, reportedly, in the very early stages and seem more like a “what-if” scenario for Twitter, the figures mentioned show that the micro-blogging site’s value went up considerably. It is now estimated about $10 billion, opposed to about $3.7 billion figure, reported about a year ago.
An interesting is that the two “potential buyers” are Google and Facebook. Not Yahoo, not Microsoft… With Google being a runaway leader in the search industry niche and FaceBook establishing itself as an undisputed number one social media , blogging (and micro-blogging) seems like a field that neither of the two has a real advantage. So, will Twitter serve as a neutral ground for a decisive encounter between the two giants? I guess it will take several months, and maybe years until we get a conclusive answer to this question…
Woke up this morning thinking further about my statement yesterday that Microsoft should by Twitter. I really think that if Google does not buy Twitter and it lands in the hands of Microsoft, it could potentially become a great equalizer. Bing’s real time search results would be exclusive and therefore at the very least very different from Google. Bing needs to do something, it is sort of floundering as many companies do when they are not really committed to being the best.
On the other hand if Facebook buys Twitter, Google has a much bigger problem, potential elimination from real time search. Facebook is the number one visited website in the world. Now this is great, but their problem is, their visitors are not interested in buying anything, they do not click on ads, they do not convert into $$, and this is becoming a problem for the future of Facebook. It is sort of the old school internet business model on steroids: build it,make it cool and free, get traffic, and with traffic all your problems will be solved. Now if your roll Twitter into Facebook, you do not get any better profit generation, but now you hold all the cards in real time search. Facebook could place extraordinary value on this real time data, and begin to charge search engines massive amounts of fees to access their websites and data. If the search engines do not agree to pay these outrageous fees, then Facebook can begin to build their own search engine. Even if their algorithm was not very robust to begin, with having the real time data from Facebook and Twitter would insure that they provide phenomenal real time information (that would not be found anywhere else) and can use this real-time data VERY effectively. It is a fact that no one is really Tweeting or Facebooking about the spamming Viagra website they found on page one of Google, nor the insurance website they found in BING. Therefore Facebook would be able to quickly put a serious reduction on spam, create a place in search, and provide themselves with very bright future for profitability and a serious chunk of what Google and BING currently have.
As an internet marketing professional, I really do not care who does what. I do not own the game, just play by the rules set forth by people far smarter and wealthier than I. I must say though, I really like Twitter in the hands of Facebook or Microsoft. Lets see what Google is really made of….
I was in the shower this morning, considering the impact that Twitter and Facebook have had on Google’s search results. After reading Rands test results from Twitter links versus traditional text links in ranking pages within the Google search results, it is clear that Google is placing significant weight on links from Twitter and Facebook. Based upon this information, one would assume that if Facebook and Twitter no longer permitted Google-bot access their websites, Google’s algorithm would have to be seriously adjusted. It would probably end up in pushing Google search results to displaying only yesterday’s news and information, instead of real-time search results currently based upon the linking patterns Google-bot gets from Twitter and Facebook.
I was just reading a blog post on searchengineland about Twitter being acquired by someone, whether it be Google, Microsoft or Facebook. I find this concept interesting: Whomever buys Twitter will have the most updated real-time content online. I believe that the acquisition of Twitter must be made by Microsoft. This would give Microsoft its first leg up on Google in search. Microsoft could probably license the access to Twitter to Google for hundreds of millions of dollars.
The facts are quite simple that without Twitter and Facebook links, Google’s sort of screwed. Unfortunately Google’s recent behavior has created a bit of industry anger towards its online business practices. I think this is why Groupon did not sell to Google.
I wanted to mention that this blog post was written with the assistance of NaturallySpeaking by Dragon. If you have hesitated in using speech-recognition software, I would say now is the time to give it a try. I think that using this software will make it much easier for me to blog from this point forward.
While I’m getting NaturallySpeaking a plug, I may as well mention the really really cool viral marketing tool they’ve built on their website. It’s called Fingers of Fire.