Social Media and Art do not mix!

The introduction of Google Plus has put a whole new life into the debate about Intellectual Property on the internet.

Question: Which social platform should I share my art on?

Short Answer: NONE!

Long Answer:

Intellectual Property is THE hot button issue on the internet. People steal art all the time, Music, Pictures, Videos, Animations. This hurts the independent artists, but when big companies steel art it hurts the Artist allot. So how do social media companies like Facebook and Google+ get away with steeling art? Easy, They simply tell you that they are going to take it, and if you don’t want them to you don’t have to put art on there website. This is called “Terms and conditions.” You agreed to it (probably without reading it) when you signed up for the site.

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. – Facebook Statement of Rights and Responsibilities (Terms and Conditions), Revision April 26, 2011 (latest)

So what dose this mean? Well it means that as long as your content is on the site, they get to do whatever they want with it. They can use it for advertising, Sell it to advertisers, remove it, copy it, run product recognition algorithms on it, whatever. So should you post art on Facebook? NO!

But what about Google?

11.1 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 license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services. – Google Terms of Service – Revision April 16, 2007 (latest)

Dose that line look familiar? It should, it’s almost identical to Facebook! So should you post art on Google? NO!

Let’s check out a the terms of a site specifically geared to art. Deviantart.com

4. Copyright

deviantART is, unless otherwise stated, the owner of all copyright and data rights in the Service and its contents. Individuals who have posted works to deviantART are either the copyright owners of the component parts of that work or are posting the work under license from a copyright owner or his or her agent or otherwise as permitted by law. You may not reproduce, distribute, publicly display or perform, or prepare derivative works based on any of the Content including any such works without the express, written consent of deviantART or the appropriate owner of copyright in such works. deviantART does not claim ownership rights in your works or other materials posted by you to deviantART (Your Content). You agree not to distribute any part of the Service other than Your Content in any medium other than as permitted in these Terms of Service or by use of functions on the Service provided by us. You agree not to alter or modify any part of the Service unless expressly permitted to do so by us or by use of functions on the Service provided by us. – deviatnART Terms Of Service (Current as of July 15, 2011)

Now that’s different! Do you see how they specifically claim that the art is NOT theirs and nobody but the creator gets to use it? So why doesn’t everybody do this? deviatnART is a relatively small website (compared to Google and Facebook) with a niche market. They only do Art. Facebook and Google are not interested in art. Infact they are not really interested in social media. They ARE interested in data. Everything that you post, +1, Like and Share is useful data to advertisers. That is what Google and Facebook’s business. With Google, you KNOW this because they admit it, with Facebook they try to hide it (and then get caught before admitting that they are selling every aspect of your life online).

So where can I post art?

Well deviantART is good, but the best idea is to make your own website. Find a host and buy a small site. It costs money, but not nearly as much as it used to. Be sure to read Terms of Service before you sign up. Don’t know how to build a site? Ask a friend! Also most hosting services offer simple site builders and pre-installed Content Management Systems. If you are serious about your Art, be willing to put the work in.

Good Luck!

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