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Who Owns Your Photo's Posted Here


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Under copyright law, a copyright to a photograph generally belongs to the creator of the photograph.  As the copyright owner, you own the exclusive rights to display, copy, use, produce, distribute and perform your creation as you see fit and approve.  The subject of the photograph, (the person depicted) has a “right of publicity”, which allows the subject to get paid for the commercial use of his or her name, likeness or voice.


When you decide to post that picture on the Internet you still “own” the photograph and all associated copyrights. However, depending upon the “terms of use” of the particular forum upon which you posted the photo, you grant the social media site a license to display and allow the photo to be viewed on that forum.


Certain sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat etc… include in their terms of use an implied license that allows the forum to use the photograph anyway they see fit for free and you grant them the right to let others use you picture as well. This means that not only can Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook make money from the photograph or video (otherwise, a copyright violation), but these sites are making commercial gain by licensing these images, which contains the likeness of the person in the photo or video (otherwise, a violation of their “rights of publicity”).


I’ve not come across a “terms of use” on NJ Woods & Water that permits the forum’s use of posted photos or video. But a person or entity cannot take a photo from the forum and use it for their own purposes (except under limited circumstances as outlined below).


The Fair Use Doctrine was created by statute as a limitation to copyright law and permits the unlicensed use of copy right-protected works in certain circumstances such as political discourse, news reporting, teaching, and scholarly research…However, fair use does not include use of copyright protected works for financial gain. This exception is where someone (the anti-hunting groups) will claim entitlement to use of your photo. But keep in mind, that they cannot use it for financial gain….so posting your photo as a fund raising tool is not fair use and a copyright violation. But taking it and posting it to further a political discussion likely is.



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Some of my photos I post using links from my own servers.  I publish the link on this site, but the original work is still stored on servers that I own and manage.  So I fully retain ownership and copyright regardless of where my link appears on the Internet (since in that case the data is being called from my server to your browser).


If someone posts the photos and not the link, I send out a nice cease and desist note to them, telling them that they pulled the photo from my servers and are not using a direct link.  Pulling the photos, regardless of the situation, is a copyright violation even under fair use.  It's a technicality in the digital world that works to my advantage.


Plus, I can track the IP addresses of people who view my stuff since it's housed on my servers.  And based on the time it's viewed and then posted elsewhere, I can determine who may have lifted it.  So keep that in mind all of you antis who are trolling this site.

Sapere aude.


When you cannot measure, your knowledge is meager and unsatisfactory.

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