Viral Post Won’t Protect Copyright in US… Although Maybe in EU 2

If you use Facebook, I’m sure you have seen the viral post proclaiming copyright in posted content. While the proclamation sounds rather official…. it doesn’t actually mean anything (if you are in the US)… nor does it preserve any of your rights (including copyright) that are modified, abdicated,or terminated by the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy of the Facebook website. What this means is that by using the Facebook website the conditions listed in the Terms of Service (which speak to broad control and use of posted content by Facebook for virtual eternity) are consented to.

The Viral Post (or a modified version of it):

I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, professional photos and videos, etc. For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times! (Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place…them under protection of copyright laws).

In response to the viral post, Facebook has a statement on their website dispelling the rumor and directing folks to its Terms of Service which state (but are subject to change):

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.

How did the viral post get started? One explanation is youthful optimism. Another possibility (and very interesting possibility) is that the post was started in the EU where organized challenges to Facebook’s Privacy Policy and Terms are Services are being made for non-conformance with EU laws. The EU has different policies (from the US) regarding the use of data including photo archives and EU laws may require different consent mechanisms. (Since Facebook is a US company, it is likely that their Privacy Policy and Terms of Service are written in American legalese). While surfing through the website for Europe-v-Facebook.org (which is a group in the EU that is challenging Facebook’s Privacy Policy and has threatened litigation for non-compliance with EU law) I read this: “We were just informed that Facebook is soon proposing a new change to its privacy policy…. Facebook said so far that if 7,000 users demand the same changes they would have users give the chance to vote on them.” If this is true… it could be interesting… it could have started the viral post or one like it… and it could possibly change Facebook’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Service in the EU… and maybe other places too.

See also, http://europe-v-facebook.org/EN/en.html; http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57554497-93/viral-post-wont-copyright-your-facebook-updates/; http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms; http://newsroom.fb.com/Fact-Check; NY Times article: Law Students in Austria Challenge Facebook Policy on 12/5/12 and www.kasterlegal.com

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

Recording and posting concert clips: what’s legal… what’s not 6

Just because it is easy to use your phone to record a clip at concert doesn’t give you the right to do very much with the recorded clip. There are multiple sets of legal rights at play in every concert performance which include:

  • Copyright in the music compositions and lyrics (often controlled by the publisher or sometimes the artist)
  • Copyright in the performance (often controlled by the label)
  • Trademarks of the band, club or venue
  • Band’s right of publicity
  • Contractual rights granting you the privilege to attend the performance (often on the ticket stub, or posted signs at the venue, or the terms and conditions of a website)
  • License granted by ASCAP or other rights manager to the club or venue for the performance.

Each of these rights gives the holder a monopoly to do certain things or exclude others from doing certain things. Excluding others (ie you with the recording device) can be taken seriously by all the rights holders. For example, club or venue owners can exclude others from recording on their premises. This means they can confiscate your phone until the end of the performance or ask you to leave if you are caught recording a clip of the concert.

Technically speaking, recording a clip of a concert for your own personal use is probably considered fair use. If you post the recoded clip to a website, chances are that one of the rights holders listed above will contact the website and request that the clip be taken down. If this happens, the clip will come down and you may forfeit your right to access or use the website where you posted the infringing clip.

Rights holders generally try to maintain a balance when it comes to enforcing their rights; since, they don’t want to alienate their fans and patrons. Although, given the history of how aggressively the music industry went after folks who were targeted for illegally downloading music… this could change.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

See also: Other posts on music copyright at https://iplegalfreebies.wordpress.com/category/c-o-p-y-r-i-g-h-t/copyright-music-copyright/; Music Law 101: Legal Issues Surrounding the Recording and Posting of Concerts, by R. Friedberg; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

What happens to your photos once posted to Facebook? Reply

Facebook thrives because people want to connect and share photographs and other content. However, connecting and sharing content on Facebook means that Facebook makes the rules for how the content is shared, used, copied and made available to others. (Facebook also has the privilege of changing these terms of use at anytime and is known for making significant policy changes frequently. For the current Terms of Service see –>; http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms).

Here are three significant components of Facebook’s current policy concerning photographs that you post to Facebook (these are the terms as of today… and may change tomorrow):

  1. …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. (Subject to how you set the privacy and application settings on your account).
  2. 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).
  3. Facebook respects the intellectual property rights of others and is committed to helping third parties protect their rights. Our Statement of Rights and Responsibilities prohibits users from posting content that violates another party’s intellectual property rights. When we receive a valid notice of IP infringement, we promptly remove or disable access to the allegedly infringing content. We also terminate the accounts of repeat infringers in appropriate circumstances.

What can happen to your photographs when you post it to Facebook under these Terms? The short answer – ALMOST ANYTHING… especially if you have left the default settings on your Facebook page to allow public access to the content you post on Facebook.  If however, someone else posts a photograph that you took and own the rights to… then you have a bit more muscle and can request that Facebook remove or disable access to the photograph by reporting a copyright infringement to Facebook.

To report a copyright infringement on Facebook go to –>; https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=190268144407210 …you will see that there is an online form as well as a contact email [ip@fb.com] and mailing address.

See also: http://www.facebook.com/legal/terms, https://www.facebook.com/help/?faq=190268144407210; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

Copyright Law – Using photos of other people on your website, blog or publications Reply

Using recognizable pictures of other people on your website, blog or publication of any kind requires their express permission (unless they are a celebrity or it is ‘newsworthy’ photo).  How do you do this?  Ask them for permission AND have them sign a simple agreement giving you permission to use their image.  Specify in the agreement the ways, websites, publications etc where the photo will be used.

Here are a few myths and truths on this topic: 

MYTH:  Just because you took a photo of the bride at her wedding gives you permission to use it on your website

MYTH:  Having permission to use a portrait in a book automatically gives you permission to use it in a film

MYTH:  It’s okay to use a portrait you took of someone in a public place without permission

TRUTH:  Virtually any photo of a celebrity is considered newsworthy and okay to use

Cover your bases and get permission to use the photos you take of other people at the time you take the picture.  (These types of agreements are called a Photo Release or Model Release).

See –> http://wp.me/p10nNq-J for more information on Photo releases and www.kasterlegal.com.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

Interested in PINTEREST.COM’s growth and use of photographs posted to the site 3

Have you heard the buzz about PINTEREST.COM? Amazingly, PINTEREST is demonstrating record-breaking growth and is now the fastest growing site to reach 10 million users… and it focuses on sharing photographs and visuals.

This obviously raises questions on what you are ‘agreeing to’ when you post a photograph or visual image on the site. Like all large social media websites, PINTEREST, outlines these details in their terms of use.

The bottom line: If you post a photograph to PINTEREST you are virtually giving your image away. By posting content on PINTEREST you grant the site a:

“worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, royalty-free license, with the right to sublicense, to use, copy, adapt, modify, distribute, license, sell, transfer, publicly display, publicly perform, transmit, stream, broadcast, access, view, and otherwise exploit such Member Content only on, through or by means of the Site, Application or Services.” http://pinterest.com/about/terms/

(This means that the website can use your image for virtually any, conceivable purpose…. including granting their other users permission to use and exploit your work on the ‘Site, Application, or Services.’)

Three things to watch out for:

  • Post only your own original work or work you are authorized to distribute and license (or the content can be removed due to copyright infringement if the actual owner requests PINTEREST to do so)
  • Post only work that you want to have FREELY USED by and potentially SOLD to others
  • Post only work that you have permission to use in this way

For example, a bride may not have permission from the professional photographer who took the photo to share it in this way and conversely the photographer may or may not have permission from a bride to share her portraits in this way. (Under these terms agreed to when posting a photograph to this site… any picture posted could potentially be sold to another party and end up in an advertisement on the other side of the world without needing permission from or paying $ to the person who posted it on the site. This could get complicated…)

P.S. Keep in mind that the Terms of Use often change frequently for most social media websites… so it’s a good idea to recheck them often.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

 

See also:http://pinterest.com/about/copyright/ ; http://rawsocialmedia.wordpress.com/2012/03/19/the-power-of-pinterest-a-great-infographic-guide-to-pintrest-with-some-very-persuasive-data/; http://www.bloomberg.com/video/88836636/@iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

An interesting online concert venue via STAGEIT.COM Reply

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New and creative outlets and revenue streams are possible for artists on the internet.  Have you heard of STAGEIT.COM?  I just read about and surfed through the Stageit.com website and I’m impressed with the platform that it offers for artists to host live events online … and make money.

Via the Stageit.com website an artist can invite fans to join live events, concerts and jam sessions via the internet.  The interesting twist is that an artist can use a laptop to record and transmit their live performance (strumming guitar in their kitchen or recording in a studio.. etc) to their fans… who buy cheap tickets to tune into the concert from their own laptops.  Ticket prices vary and can range from ‘pay what you wish’ to a couple of dollars.  Stageit.com advertises that it gives artists up to 60% (sixty percent) of the ticket sales.  While I might prefer to see 80%-90% going to the artist… 60% isn’t too shabby.

Another fun feature of the website is that fans viewing the Stageit.com performances can tip to request songs and can also use Twitter to chat with performers.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

For more info on this topic see  —>http://www.stageit.com/  and http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/evan-lowensteins-stageit-a-live-music-site-02092012.html; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.

Social Media: joining the conversation Reply

Social Media networks have created a global conversation of epic proportions.  Figuring out how to plug-in and use social media efficiently is a million dollar question.  Monitoring trends and conversationsdisseminating information… and joining the conversation are all ways to plug-in to social media.

Actually joining the conversation is proving to be the most effective way to reach people.  This is common sense, really.  A conversation engages people and has a higher chance of eliciting a response than just talking at someone, blaring a commercial, or watching silently on the sidelines.

A few interesting tips on effective use of social media:

  • 3am to 9am, pacific time… is the magic window when social media posts have the most traction because, this is the time of day when a posting or tweet can generate the most discussion around the world and across time zones.
  • Social media management tools have developed that allow you to manage various social media sites from a single account.  (Hootsuite, Tweetdeck and Postling)

Think about it… have fun… and be smart as you join the conversation and maneuver through social media networks.

BY: Vanessa Kaster, Esq., LL.M.

vk@kasterlegal.com

 

See also: Time, Tide and the Net Wait for No One by Chief of Navel Operations Adm. Gary Roughead; and The Twitter Paradox at www.briansolis.com; www.hootsuite.com; www.tweetdeck.com; www.postling.com; @iplegalfreebies and www.kasterlegal.com.