Pictures, Copyright and Licenses

Recently, I find myself in the position of creating a lot of Facebook events, for reasons unrelated to the post.

When creating events on Facebook, you are given the option of attaching a picture. This picture, or thumbnails thereof, are used by the website wherever the event appears. The default was changed to be slightly less horrible than it used to be, but it is still a little embarrassing to use the default. Therefore, I find myself often needing pictures with a certain theme.

However, I am very careful about mistreating copyright works. I feel copyright is an outdated way of protecting creativity, but I am not willing to expose myself to C&Ds in the name of that belief just yet.

There are two good sources of pictures which can be used for those purposes:

  • Flickr — just make sure to go into “Advanced search” and click “yes” on the “Creative Commons” check-box.
  • Wikimedia Commons

Note that most pictures you find with a Google image search are not CC, free or in any way OK to use. However, the two sources above are a wonderful resource for finding great pictures without violating copyright.

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3 Responses to Pictures, Copyright and Licenses

  1. Tuure Laurinolli says:

    Is CC compatible with whatever license Facebook requires you to provide for images you submit to their service?

  2. moshez says:

    Facebook doesn’t “require” you to use any license for the images. Specifically, when you do “Add event image”, there is no pop-up that tells you anything about licensing. I assume you mean this clause: “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”)”. However, it does not say anything about limiting the license by share-alike or attribution, and CC is by its nature non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, and so forth.

    (Notice that it says “a license”, but it does not limit which license, as long as it abides by the above criteria…)

    In any case, the worst thing that can happen is that I’d be found in breach of Facebook terms (not CC terms), and Facebook terminates my account. Since they already have the power to do that under the terms, I don’t really see an issue…

  3. Tuure Laurinolli says:

    I’m mostly concerned about the SA part or the typical CC-A-SA license. I’m pretty sure that you do not have license to redistribute a work licensed to you under CC-A-SA to FB unless the SA part also binds FB, and I don’t see anything in their terms of use text saying they would agree to that.

    But you may well be right about the consequences.

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