It’s a fact of life. Any image you post publicly online can be stolen or misused. Billboards for Australia’s Virgin Mobile recently featured 16-year-old Alison Chang. But the Texas teenager didn’t consent to the use of her photo. The company found her photo on the popular photo-sharing site Flickr.
A friend of the teen had posted the photo under a Creative Commons license.
The license allowed the photo to be used for commercial purposes. Chang’s family and the photographer are suing Virgin Mobile.
Don’t let this happen to you. Take steps to protect your images online.
Your best bet is to make your images private.
You can share them with people you trust not to misuse them. The leading photo sites allow you to keep your photos private.
Even then, you might be granting a site the right to use your photos. So before posting photos online, learn what rights you’re giving away.
You retain the rights to photos you post on Yahoo’s Flickr. However, you grant Yahoo a license to use photos posted in public areas. Yahoo does not pay royalties for the use of photos.
Yahoo can use your photos to promote Flickr. Yahoo also claims the right to modify or adapt your publicly posted photos. If you remove the photos from Flickr, Yahoo’s right to use them ends.
However, you can assign Creative Commons licenses to some or all of your work. The rights granted under these licenses vary. If you assign one, make sure you understand what it means. I have a link to Creative Commons at www.komando.com/news.
You own the photos you post to AOL Pictures. But, like Flickr, AOL is granted rights to use photos posted in public areas. AOL and its affiliates have the right to adapt your content. Further, you grant AOL the right to use the photos in any medium.
Unlike Flickr, AOL does not give you the option to apply a Creative Commons license.
Users may grant such licenses in comments displayed alongside a photo.
AOL includes a link to a Picture Usage Reminder. It reminds visitors that they need permission to use your photos.
Kodak Gallery does not claim ownership of your photographs. However, you give Kodak the right to use and distribute your images. This is for the purpose of fulfilling orders for merchandise, such as prints. When you share your images with family and friends, they can also make copies of the pictures. You’re allowing them to make prints or add them to their photo gallery.
Photos you share on Kodak Gallery are not publicly available.
So it’s unlikely that strangers will download them.
Picasa Web Albums
You retain the copyright to images you post to Google’s Picasa Web Albums.
However, Google is licensed to use your photos.
Google claims a perpetual, irrevocable license.
Further, the license is royalty free and worldwide. Google can modify and distribute your content.
Google also claims the right to make your photos available to companies to which it provides syndicated services.
The license is intended to help Google promote its Picasa Web Albums service.
Picasa Web Albums does not provide a way to offer Creative Commons licenses.