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.
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 vice.com.
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: