How to get Facebook to remove a copyrighted image

Actually the title of this blog post should be:

How to get Facebook to remove a copyrighted image, in 10 not so easy steps, that are neither intuitive, nor user friendly and will take you some time to figure out

Say you’ve found a photo on Facebook that’s yours, but someone else is using with out your permission. That just happened to me a few weeks ago. Bitton Events, a local event company, had stolen a copyrighted image of an event, that I produced in 2013, without my permission. My requests to the company to please not use an image that displays work they had nothing to do with fell on deaf ears. I even wrote a review on their Facebook page, figuring this would maybe light a fire under their butt. However all that accomplished is that Bitton Events had Facebook remove my review (no wonder they have only 5 star reviews on Facebook, they have all others removed.) The event company that had actually light and provided sound for my event had even called Bitton Events and requested Bitton to stop using their work and deceiving people fraudulently in passing off someone elses work as their own.

How to get Facebook to remove an image of yours from where it does not belong

What do you do? Ok. Let’s back up just a bit – legally any photographer (amateur or professional) owns the copyright to any image he or she creates the second you click the shutter. You can register it with the US government’s copyright office, but that registration does not give you the copyright, it just records it in the Library of Congress. This registration does let you sue for damages, if it is made within 6 months of first publication, however this post is not about how and why you should register your images, but is to say that the copyright is yours, as soon as you create the image. Period.

Back to finding your image being used illegally on Facebook – oh btw this does not apply to any image you upload to Facebook, that Facebook wants to use. They can actually sell your image without any compensation to you, under the new Terms and Conditions.

FB IP Terms

Facebooks current terms let them use your content royalty free, i.E. without paying you.

Pretty nifty, huh? But that’s another story for another time, however it is the reason I watermark all my images on social media.

If you want to read a privacy lawyers opinion on how the new Facebook terms and conditions will affect all of us starting January 1st of next year read Michael Grothaus (@michaelgrothaus) interview on

10 Steps to get Facebook to remove a copyrighted image

Here are the 10 not so easy steps, that are neither intuitive, nor user friendly and will take you some time to figure out that you need to take to report a federal copyright violation to Facebook:

  1. Click on the photo on Facebook and select ‘Report Photo’.
    This option is either in options underneath the image right next to

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Domitila Falgoust - 10 months ago Reply

An awesome web page you’ve right here.

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Janet - a couple of years ago Reply

Hi ya,

Thanks again lol. I found more of my images an I forgot the process. so thanks to you I got through it quickly.
So thanks again


Pascal Depuhl - a couple of years ago Reply


You’re welcome. Happy to help – although the process itself is not difficult – Facebook doesn’t make it intuitive to find all the right buttons.

Janet - a couple of years ago Reply

Thanks for you article it really helped me.

Pascal Depuhl - a couple of years ago Reply


Happy you enjoyed it. You’re right copyright violations are no laughing matter and Facebook does not make it easy to figure out how to ask them to take down a stolen image. I was even happier when FB took down the page within 24 hours – although I’m still getting a notice from Facebook every time I log in (for over half a year now) saying that a review I posted online on this companies page violated FB guidelines – even though it did not. Oh well. One more thing to laugh about.

Shari Favela - a couple of years ago Reply

Really well written – enjoyed the light humor on a serious subject and hope I never have to use it.

Pascal Depuhl - 3 years ago Reply

Wow, sorry to hear about your troubles – really not sure what you can do about this situation. It’s always tough when work – personal life gets intertwined like this. If you’re concerned about a photo of you being used without permission, I would advise asking a lawyer. All the best.

Phoebe Swope-Askeland - 3 years ago Reply

A not-so-friendly-to-me woman photographed me without permission. I was up with a sick family member all night and appeared so along with a totally black garment required for the occasion. I live in New York State. Since then I told her in a civil manner to please remove the photo and not to use it at all. How can I check on it and get rid of it if need be? She (married) also, in linkedin (through Bing), has a photo of her lover (…) There was an image that looked like what I was wearing at the unwanted “photoshoot”. I want to stay out of the “personal stuff” because I am technically employed by her lover and a clergyman – and love my job – and was working while she and lover for several months were using my workplace to meet and… I complained discreetly to the pastor due to carelessly opened and unlocked doors to the church in the dead of night- I gave out no names. WHAT ARE THE LAWS REGARDING MY SAYING THAT I DID NOT WANT THE PICTURE TO BE USED OR HAD IN NY STATE? Thank you for a response.

Eric Mazzone - 3 years ago Reply

I had to file a DMCA takedown notice last year against another local photographer, who decided it was funny to take other people’s work, upload them to his profile and procede to bash them. Not shared, but intentionally uploaded.

A week after sending in my notice, I got a reply back from Facebook that he filed a counter claim on my image, listing an incorrect address, and other fields filled out incorrectly.

His deal was he was pissed because he felt threatened by our photography group because he felt that we were stealing work from him from models paying him to shoot them. It was really the models stopped going to him because he’s a creepy dick, and becuase he was creepy at one of our events he was thrown out and disinvited.

He is the whole reason why I started registering my images religiously with the LoC.

ted wentink - 3 years ago Reply

THANK YOU PASCAL! Even if I never need this, it’s good to know that there’s hope…!

inchoative - 3 years ago Reply

Excellent write-up. They clearly don’t give a damn.

Jim Anderson (@JRAphoto) - 3 years ago Reply

Excellent tutorial ! Shared just now and I will share again. Tampering with copyright, or any embedded, metadata should be illegal and command penalties to those social networks that do it.

michaelbellwv - 3 years ago Reply

Thanks for your efforts. Helps us all in the end. Now if Facebook was as concerned as they want us to believe they are things would get better.

Richard White - 3 years ago Reply

Nice article, hope I never have to use it.

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