What are your social media photo rights? Image T&Cs examined


What are your social media photo rights?It’s always an area that has little transparency, who actually owns the rights to our images once we upload them to social networks? Could I end up seeing one of my photos all over the web, in the papers or on TV? It’s a common question that’s asked when we run our social media strategy sessions with clients.

Steps to retaining the copyright of your content

First, determine whether sharing an image is a bad thing. Sometimes, an image being viewed many times can be good for your personal and professional brand image. However, if you want to protect yourself:

  1. Understand the rules of the site you use (they change often)
  2. Avoid posting pictures that you’re particularly ‘protective’ over
  3. Delete or export any content that you don’t want shared if it’s on a network that could distribute it (see a great post by The Next Web for more information on this)
  4. Be selective with your privacy settings and licensing selections
  5. Use sites like TinEye to see if your images are being shared where they shouldn’t be.

Kathy E Gill from Media Shift compiled a great list of the terms and conditions relating to photo usage on most social media sites. It’s a great resource for seeing the relevant information side by side and identifying which platforms could take credit for the photos that you create. (She also wrote a great blog post covering this in more detail)

So who are the good, the bad and the ugly in the world of photography rights?

Retain most rights:

“You retain full copyright of any original content that you send us. By posting to Posterous, you’re granting us a license to distribute your content on this site.”

Your images are licensed for use on Posterous but you retain how they are distributed.

flickr (by Yahoo!)
“Photos and/or images found on Yahoo! Images or Flickr are the property of the users that posted them. Yahoo! cannot grant permission to use third party content. Please contact the user directly.”

As long as you control your licensing settings you can limit use to Yahoo! properties.

yFrog (by ImageShack)

“The content that you distribute through the ImageShack Network is owned by you, and you give ImageShack permission to display and distribute said content exclusively on the ImageShack Network.”

After the Twitpic cotroversy, ImageShack have reversed their policy to give you more rights and limit the use to the ImageShack network.

Publicity / partner sharing:

Picasa (by Google)

“You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

This distribution of your content is also extended to the Google Partners, of which there are many!


“Instagram does NOT claim ANY ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, applications, or any other materials.”

However any content that is shared publicly can be used by Instagram for their promotion across any media.

Limited rights / sublicensing:

All of the following services have some form of ‘sub-licensable’ rights:


“You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings.”


“However, by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Service.”


“Subscriber shall own all Subscriber Content that Subscriber contributes to the Site, but hereby grants and agrees to grant Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, transferable right and license (with the right to sublicense), to use, copy, cache, publish, display, distribute, modify, create derivative works and store such Subscriber Content and to allow others to do so (“Content License”) in order to provide the Services.”


“By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed)”

All the statements about terms and conditions of the various photo sharing sites in this post are my own interpretation. Please visit the terms and conditions of the relevant site to view the official statements.

FreshNetworks Blog: Top five posts in August


number five
Image by Hilarywho via Flickr

As a social media agency, FreshNetworks aims to bring you the best posts in social media, online communities, marketing and customer engagement online. In case you missed them, find below our top five posts in August.

1. Learn from Abercrombie & Fitch: Embed social media in every customer touchpoint

When you pay at Abercrombie & Fitch in London, you are asked the same question: “Have you checked us out on Facebook?”. Rather than being just a phatic expression, this is a sign that Abercrombie & Fitch is taking its social media strategy seriously. And a great example of just how to embed social media across your customer touchpoints and with all your staff.

If you want to grow and engage more customers in social media the best way is to embed it into your existing processes. You currently have many customer touchpoints so make the most of them. And let social media complement what you already do rather than sitting on its own.

2. Social media case study: Cadbury spots v stripes campaign

Cadbury Spots v Stripes campaign is a great case study of how to use social media and shows just why social media doesn’t just take place online. The campaign integrates online and offline touchpoints, and rewards people for things they do in social media and offline. What is interesting to see is that Cadbury has recognised that offline is converging with online – something that all digital marketers need to be aware of.

3. 5 ways marketers could use Facebook Places

Facebook Places launched in the US in August. It allows users to share their location with their friends, find out who is near them and to discover new places nearby. This add another geolocation tool into the market alongside the likes of Foursquare and Gowalla and the reach of Facebook will put geolocation tools in the hands of lots of people.

In this post we suggest five ways that marketers can use Facebook Places - from discounts to data.

4. 5 reasons why people follow brands on Twitter

Every wondered why people follow brands on Twitter? We’ve already written about why people follow the UK’s top brand on Twitter, and a recent report from ExactTarget builds on this analysis  further by revealing why people follow companies on the popular microblogging site.

In this post we look at the top five reasons for following a brand on Twitter, from displaying loyalty to getting discounts.

5. How social media is changing the way we travel

Social media is changing the way we travel. The way we plan, the way we book, the way we act when we are travelling and the way we report on it (in real-time and after the event). We are using review sites to book hotels and events. We are using Twitter and Flickr to find out what people really think of places we are going to or things we are going to do. We are using these same tools to report, often in real time, on what we are experiencing.

In this environment those in the travel industry need to take social media seriously, and find ways to make it work hard for them and their brand.

How social media is changing the way we travel


A train passing through the central station of...

Image via Wikipedia

I am about to embark on a trip alone across Europe overland - mainly by train. It’s almost 15 years since I last made a similar trip. Many things have changes over this period - I’m older, have travelled a lot more and am now more likely to stay in hotels than camp rough - but the biggest change is the way that social media is helping me do things I could never do back then. On that first trip, I had no mobile phone and not even an email address. Now I have many tools at my disposal to help plan and do more.

1. Planning the trip

Then: 15 years ago my only planning tool were two big books - a set of European train timetables that I had to pour over to check if I could get from one place to another, and a Western European guidebook. I couldn’t find out anything about the journeys I might take except for when the trains would be, and I risked falling into the trap of only going to places in the guidebook. I could only plan, not book, and I put my faith in some timetables and 0ne guidebook.

Now: I have bought some guidebooks - but only for cities that I am planning to spend a lot of time in. My main planning tools this time have been online - a mix of more traditional tools (including the fantastic European train directory at The Man in Seat Sixty-One) to reviews sites (such as Tripadvisor), individual forums and blogs about certain destinations and even Twitter and Flickr. I’ve been able to research the different options, discover places I would never have found about in guidebooks and even check things such as what the overnight trains I am getting look like, what people say about them on Twitter and use these user reviews and images to decide when I want to travel in a seat, when in a couchette and when it is worth paying extra for a sleeper compartment.

2. Keeping people informed

Then: Without a mobile phone or email address the only way I could keep people informed was by finding a public phone box and calling home. I had an unwritten agreement that I would call home every five days to let people know where I was. I had left a rough plan with them and that was it. I don’t know, but I imagine there were some worried moments when I missed my planned call as I had to choose between queuing for a phone at a station in Rome and jumping on the train that evening to Sicily (I chose the latter!).

Now: This is an area of real change. Not only do I have a plan that some people can see on TripIt, but social media and mobile internet means I can inform individuals but also anybody who is interested in what I am doing, seeing and experiencing. And where I am. Twitter will let me update people in real time, tell them where I am and even share photos of what I am doing and seeing (if you’re interested you can follow me @mattrhodes). Foursquare is a great tool to allow me to quickly and easily share exactly where I am - the hotel, restaurant, station or beach I am on. People back home will know what I am doing and will be able to share the experiences I am having.

3. Keeping myself entertained

Then: On long train journeys and overnight you need ways to keep yourself entertained and distracted. Back then I had a MiniDisc player and a set of compilations I’d put together before I went. I had some books and then had to rely on meeting people who knew of things to do and things that were on in the destinations I visited. Or I had to rely on myself stumbling upon them - which once found me in a hard rock festival in Hungary…

Now: I’m still taking a lot of books, but rather than making my own compilations I am taking Spotify - and am crowd-sourcing a playlist so I can hear things I wouldn’t normally listen to. If you want to add some tracks to my list find it here: Make Matt a holiday playlist. I can use Twitter to find out what is on in destinations and what people think of them.

So what does this mean for the travel industry?

Social media is changing the way we travel. The way we plan, the way we book, the way we act when we are travelling and the way we report on it (in real-time and after the event). We are using review sites to book hotels and events. We are using Twitter and Flickr to find out what people really think of places we are going to or things we are going to do. We are using these same tools to report, often in real time, on what we are experiencing.

In this environment those in the travel industry need to take social media seriously, and find ways to make it work hard for them and their brand. They should be listening to what people are saying about them, their destinations and services and about their competitors. They should be identifying their advocates and dealing with those who are less positive about them online. They should use their experience and expertise to add real value to the discussions and debates in social media. And they should capitalise on the real-time discussions and reviews to showcase what people think of them, and also to start to service people in social media.

We’ve blogged before about how the travel industry can use social media and it is one of the industries where social media can make a real impact on a brand and a business. Right now, I am just grateful for the way social media has made planning and reporting on my travels much easier than 15 years ago - follow me to find out what I think of the places I visit!

20 Social media speakers and experts


Image via Flickr by 160e29c6

Image via Flickr by 160e29c6

We’ve spoken at more social media conferences and events in the last three months than in the first three years of FreshNetworks’ existence. One of the benefits of all the talking has been the opportunity to listen to other social media speakers and experts.

As a social media agency we’re often  asked to recommend a few social media speakers for events (particularly in London and the UK), so I thought it might be useful to note down  some of the people who have recently impressed us and why.

Neville Hobson @jangles - sage advice with a strong PR-slant on social media. I thought Neville was at his best when it came to social media disaster scenarios and social media crisis management.

Gary Veynerchuck - Gary was the highlight of SXSW for me. He’s brimming with passion and energy and has some excellent hands-on social media experience. He spent 10 minutes talking and 45 minutes answering questions. You can easily get a taste of Gary online - just search YouTube. Or submit yourself to the full experience by listening to him read Crush It, his new book

Michelle Goodall @greenwellys - from Econsultancy. Michelle is a great social media trainer. Especially good at educating an audience to give them a common understanding of social media. I’ve heard Michelle speak about social media at a couple of events recently - Technology for Marketing and Advertising and FreshIdeas Events - and both times walked away feeling the learning points were super clear.

Joanne Jacobs @joannejacobs is a force of nature. Guaranteed to wake up any audience, she combines years of  social media experience with a ferocious presenting style. I am certain there is no one more capable of keeping a post-lunch audience stimulated.

James Hart @ASOS_James is eCommerce Director at ASOS.com. James (and ASOS) have been among the early adopters in community building and social media marketing in the UK. He’s a wonderfully open and frank speaker (no social hype, just his practical experience). However, I am told he may have recently hung up his speaking boots.

Geoff Quinn, CEO TM Lewin - I was on stage with Geoff at a recent Retail Week e-commerce Conference. I think it’s hard to beat listening to a CEO talk about where they see social media fit in to their broader business goals. In addition to the fact that Geoff is really open and frank about the process, they have been  giving real ROI numbers and developing detailed plans for the future. You can get a sense of his style from this recent Radio4 Bottom Line interview (disclaimer TM Lewin is a client).

Brad Little @bradleyjlittle - Brad runs Neilsen Buzzmetrics in Europe. As a result he’s great on social media monitoring content and thinking. He’s also full of energy and enthusiasm, and a great speaker.

Anna Rafferty @raffers from Penguin Books. Anna has a great case study on building a community on a budget that really engaged Penguin’s customers. An engaging speaker who provides good takeaways.  Oh and Anna recently recommended Jon Davie from Zone as a great speaker.

Steve Dunn Steve is a very energetic performer. I spoke alongside him at a CIM event and he did a good job of covering off high-level social media basics. In particular he brought a PR perspective.

Chris Brogan - Chris is one of the handful of truly global social media gurus (although I am sure he’d hate the term). I really enjoyed his combination of a conversational and relaxed style with excellent story telling. Chris is particularly good on B2B and SME social media.

Steve Bridger @stevebridger has years of community management experience working with charities and membership organisations. Steve always brings solid, practical tips to his social media sessions.

Louise White @louisecwhite - I really enjoyed listening to Louise recently. She has a refreshingly honest and open style giving a no-holds barred account of life inside a publisher as digital and social are changing the world around them.

Paul Hopkins, Head of Customer Experience at easyJet - I was on a panel with Paul at the Call Centre and Customer Management Conference. As you’d expect, Paul is particularly knowledgeable speaker on customer service opportunities and issues arising from social media. He is heavily involved on a day-to-day basis with easyJet’s activity.

Martha Lane Fox - @marthalanefox - As Digital Inclusion Champion, Martha is clearly an expert on digital engagement issues. She’s also a captivating speaker, always good at pulling out key facts to get her point across.

Dom Sparkes @DomSparkes - Dom runs the moderation agency, Tempero. He’s especially strong on community management of children’s websites and the processes required to run them in a safe manner.

Thomas Power - I have not heard him speak myself, but heard a rave review from Neville Hobsbon on his podcast. Thomas set up Ecademy and is famous for being one of London’s great connectors. Whilst I don’t agree with all he says e.g. “the most important thing about your network is size, not quality” he’s clearly very enthusiastic and engaging.

Matt Rhodes - OK, so Matt works with me at FreshNetworks. I am biased. But time and again he gets rave reviews from his audiences whenever he’s asked to speak about social media. Matt is one of the foremost thinkers on social media in the UK (he’s the reason why this blog is consistently one of Europe’s Top 3 social marketing blogs). And despite being a Cambridge graduate, he generally has an insightful perspective on all social media topics.

Tim Hwang‘s SXSW talk was one of the most entertaining in Austin. Not because of his speaking style, but purely down to the content: What we learned watching kids with homemade flamethrowers. You can catch a great video here.

Two more speakers

These two don’t fit into the social media speaker bracket, but they are two of my favourite business speakers ever:
Dennis Turner - Dennis is Chief Economist at HSBC. He manages to make macroeconomics both enthrawling and easy to understand. A delight to watch.

BJ Cunningham - BJ tells a fantastic story about Death Cigarettes - a brand he founded 20 years ago. He’s a superb speaker.

Your turn
Have you been struck by an excellent social media speaker? who was it and why were they good?

Social Media Case Study: LEGO CLICK


Walk Into The Light
Image by Kaptain Kobold via Flickr

LEGO is a brand that many people are very passionate about, a brand people love and we’ve written before about how they use segmentation to engage their consumer base from children to enthusiasts in an innovative way. Now they have continued their innovative approaches to engagement and embraced social media. In a big way.

They have launched LEGO CLICK, an online community that brings together innovators, designers, artists and creative thinkers to develop new ideas related to toys. The site is designed to bring together ideas in written form, images and videos. They want to capture and catalogue ‘lightbulb moments’, ideas that are relevant to toys and to the market LEGO serves.

Unlike other ideas communities, LEGO CLICK does not (at least not yet) allow users to rank and rate the ideas. It merely allows you to suggest your idea or to share ideas that you see and like or are interested in. What makes this site particularly interesting, though, is its use of Twitter, Facebook and Flickr as a way of generating content for the site and promoting participation.

The LEGO CLICK community is a great example of the hub-and-spoke model of social media engagement. Users can contribute their ideas by tweeting with the hashtag #legoclick. They can contribute images by tagging their Flickr contributions with the same tag. And they can suggest ideas by video by tagging on YouTube in the same manner.

This is an interesting use of social networks to drive content to a community. In parts it is not dissimilar to the California Governor’s use of Twitter to harvest ideas for MyIdea4CA in 2009. It relies on contributions from users of other social networks and then brings them together in a single hub where different types of content from different sources meet.

What will be interesting to watch as this site develops is the amount, and the relevance of content that is created and added to LEGO CLICK. Currently there is a lot of content being dragged into the site that is discursive about the concept rather than the kind of ideas that the site is designed to harvest. It is getting a fair bit of content that is more like this particular blog post than an idea of lightbulb moment. This is one of the real problems with using tagging and a feed from other social networks to populate any site, but an online community in particular. You could end up with a lot of irrelevant content.

One of the things that MyIdea4CA did, and that it will be interesting to look for as LEGO CLICK develops, is to use rating and even commenting in the community as a way of sorting and prioritising ideas. The most popular or interesting ideas are likely to get the most votes or comments. And so these will rise to the top on the site, leaving the less relevant comment much further down.

But even without this kind of feature, LEGO CLICK is an interesting site and itself an innovative use of social media. Really driving the hub-and-spoke engagement model. Now we just need to watch to see what happens.

Read more of our Social Media Case Studies