Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Friday August 05, @11:52AM   Printer-friendly
from the has-anyone-seen-my-face? dept.

Who owns the rights to your face?:

Last year, I received an Instagram DM from someone I was friends with in college. It had been a couple years since we'd caught up: We lived in different cities, had pursued different careers and, of course, the pandemic had brought any plans of hanging out again to a standstill. I was surprised to see her name pop up on my screen but even more so by the contents of her message.

It was my face. Specifically, it was me in a sponsored Instagram Story ad, putting on a lip balm. In the video, I applied the balm and smiled at the camera, looking pleased with my newly moisturized lips. In real life, I was confused. I had never agreed to appear in a nationwide social campaign, otherwise my checking account would have a couple more zeroes to show for it. I worked in the media industry then, sourcing the right influencers to participate in sponsored articles. I've spent years casting with talent, negotiating contracts to ensure fair compensation and modest usage rights for influencers, models, and real people. Based on my experience, it was clear that my image was being exploited by a multibillion dollar brand.

Usage rights dictate who owns an image or asset, exactly how, where it's allowed to appear, and for how long: A video is pricier than a photo, one month costs more than one year, and you'd charge a global brand much more than what you'd charge a growing business. Depending on the talent, the scale of the client, and the length of the campaign, standard licensing of images on social media alone can cost anywhere from $250 to $20,000.

Despite this, anyone who has worked at a media company will tell you that employees are often pressured to serve as a stand-in or supplement to these influencers. However, these campaigns are not a part of the full-time job and likely go uncompensated.

[...] Generally speaking, we hold the copyright to any content we upload to social media platforms. However, when we create our accounts, we agree to grant those platforms a free license to use our content as they wish. Twitter's recent ad campaigns are a perfect example: the everyday thoughts of regular people are what fuel the platform, and the decision to feature those tweets in marketing has been widely applauded. But as a Twitter user myself, spotting my own words on the train ride home would feel great, until I remember that one month of subway ads can cost up to $75,000. But, based on the terms and conditions I agreed to, none of that money has to make its way to me.

Our content is even more valuable to brands, who are slowly narrowing in on the average social media user. Where large companies were once funneling most of their influencer marketing budget into one or two macro influencers with 500,000 followers or more, companies like HelloFresh and Canon are now prioritizing the niche audiences of micro- and nano-creators. Research shows that shoppers find smaller creators "more authentic" and brands have identified those creators as "less costly," making regular people a win-win for boosting sales.


Original Submission

 
This discussion was created by janrinok (52) for logged-in users only. Log in and try again!
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
(1)
  • (Score: 2, Touché) by khallow on Friday August 05, @12:45PM (6 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @12:45PM (#1265090) Journal

    It was shot pre-pandemic, where I had been told to participate in a photoshoot demonstrating the product’s healing benefits.

    [...]

    Take time in reviewing your next job offer, identifying where the potential employer may have slipped in language granting them more access to your image than necessary.

    So an ex-employee regretted signed away rights to an image taken in a photoshoot and then extrapolates from that to images put on social media sites.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by crafoo on Friday August 05, @12:57PM (5 children)

      by crafoo (6639) on Friday August 05, @12:57PM (#1265094)

      Is it a valid extrapolation? I haven't ever read a EULA. If the same language is in the EULAs that was in his employment contract, it seems like it would be a valid warning.

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by PiMuNu on Friday August 05, @01:27PM (4 children)

        by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @01:27PM (#1265099)

        From the FriendFace privacy page:

        https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms [facebook.com]

        > Specifically, when you share, post or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights on or in connection with our Products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free and worldwide licence to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy,
        > publicly perform or display, translate and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings). This means, for example, that if you share a photo on Facebook, you give us permission to store, copy and share it with others (again,
        > consistent with your settings) such as Meta Products or service providers that support those products and services. This licence will end when your content is deleted from our systems.

        Interestingly, if FriendFace use your data in an advertising campaign/whatever, and you delete said data, then they have to dump the campaign or pay up.

        Now I have to go wash the filth out of my computer.

        • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Friday August 05, @04:01PM (3 children)

          by mhajicek (51) on Friday August 05, @04:01PM (#1265124)

          Can you actually delete all copies from their systems?

          --
          The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by PiMuNu on Friday August 05, @04:18PM

            by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @04:18PM (#1265127)

            As a non-victim, I don't know. Under GDPR you have a legal right to remove data, but it may entail deleting your entire user profile.

          • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Friday August 05, @06:29PM (1 child)

            by krishnoid (1156) on Friday August 05, @06:29PM (#1265148)

            Yeah ... depending on how rigorously you want to define "systems". And "delete".

            • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday August 06, @03:56AM

              by c0lo (156) on Saturday August 06, @03:56AM (#1265219) Journal

              depending on how rigorously you want to define "systems". And "delete".

              Europe's the right to be forgotten, would be my choice - if I'd ever post my face on internets.

              --
              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Opportunist on Friday August 05, @01:56PM (8 children)

    by Opportunist (5545) on Friday August 05, @01:56PM (#1265102)

    Shit like that couldn't fly around here. Any picture of me belongs to me and the photographer. Neither of us can monetize it without the agreement of the other, and the agreement has to be specific in its terms of use.

    • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Friday August 05, @03:07PM (7 children)

      by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @03:07PM (#1265110)
      We have publicity rights in the US. You can't use people's images in things like advertising or in other ways that give the impression that the subject is endorsing a product or service, without a signed release. If the person in the story is in the US, then they must have signed a release with their employer on the use of the photos, otherwise they would have a solid case to sue over their use in advertising.

      It's also a popular misconception that you can't use photos of people for any sort of monetization in the US. This isn't always true. For example, see the case of Arne Svenson: https://news.artnet.com/market/arne-svenson-neighbors-photographs-supreme-court-286916 [artnet.com]
      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Thexalon on Friday August 05, @04:42PM (6 children)

        by Thexalon (636) on Friday August 05, @04:42PM (#1265132)

        Regardless of the laws on the books, a common feature of US life is that lots of individuals and corporations routinely do things that could get them sued, banking on the fact that most of the time their victim(s) will not have the time, money, and willpower to hire a lawyer and actually follow through with the lawsuit. Add in that if you do your dirty deeds behind a corporate veil [wikipedia.org], you personally won't suffer any consequences whatsoever if you lose a lawsuit, and it often takes many years for a case to actually be decided so you've probably moved on to something else or successfully taken the money and run, it's a recipe for a relatively small number of unscrupulous people to do an awful lot of damage and get rich themselves while doing so. Alternately, if the person committing the violation doesn't have any assets to speak of, and a lot of people in the US don't, then it's distinctly possible that it won't be worth anybody's time to sue them.

        Oh, and one more thing: Corporations have included anti-class-action and binding arbitration clauses in many employment and consumer contracts that basically make it impossible to sue them under any circumstances. Instead, you can take them to private arbitration, where the private arbitration company is hired and paid by the corporation primarily based on their rate of ruling in favor of the corporation. So you can guess which way the arbitrators rule the vast majority of the time.

        The result of this mess is that civil law is always only somewhat in effect. And even criminal law is very variable about how much it will affect what happens in a situation.

        --
        Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
        • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Friday August 05, @07:22PM (2 children)

          by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @07:22PM (#1265155)
          Well in that case why did this person's job even exist? If, as you say, it is so easy for a company to violate the law, why hire a person to go out and recruit talent, get releases, and, actually pay them when they could just steal their images, Photoshop them, and sell them on to put in ads? Shit, why does any company follow any laws then?
          • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Friday August 05, @08:03PM (1 child)

            by Thexalon (636) on Friday August 05, @08:03PM (#1265170)

            Shit, why does any company follow any laws then?

            1. The risk of bad PR, which might shrink their customer base.
            2. If they go too far and haven't paid off all of the right people, they might end up having to deal with organized opposition or a government agency.

            --
            Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
            • (Score: 2) by EvilSS on Friday August 05, @10:10PM

              by EvilSS (1456) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @10:10PM (#1265181)
              You might want to try a slightly larger tinfoil hat my friend. Your current one is a bit too tight.
        • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday August 06, @10:57AM (2 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 06, @10:57AM (#1265247) Journal

          Add in that if you do your dirty deeds behind a corporate veil, you personally won't suffer any consequences whatsoever if you lose a lawsuit

          The corporate veil isn't magic. Do actionable misdeeds that the plaintiff can prove and then you're on the hook not just the corporation.

          • (Score: 2) by Thexalon on Saturday August 06, @12:40PM (1 child)

            by Thexalon (636) on Saturday August 06, @12:40PM (#1265251)

            Tell that to the Sackler family, who via Purdue Pharma got hundreds of thousands of people addicted to opioid drugs, many of which would die from overdoses because of that addiction, knew that was exactly what they were doing, and have gotten immunity from lawsuits over that. They made billions from pushing drugs, and have only had to give up a fraction of what they pulled in.

            Had they been one of the cartels, they would be in prison for life. But they did their crimes under the guise of a corporation, so they're completely fine.

            --
            Alcohol makes the world go round ... and round and round.
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday August 06, @06:19PM

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 06, @06:19PM (#1265321) Journal
              What would be the point? It remains true. Corporate veil isn't why litigants are having so much trouble getting stuff to stick to the Sacklers.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Dichzor on Friday August 05, @02:22PM (3 children)

    by Dichzor (4816) on Friday August 05, @02:22PM (#1265107)

    Q: Who Owns the Rights to Your Face?
    A: The question is malformed. It's like asking, who owns the empty space im standing in.

    The picture/video is a pattern of binary digits, it can be generated by a random process, copied and stored indefinitely without any significant additional expense and therefore is completely unlike any physical object that traditionally was considered ownable, by dirty human monkeys.
    On the basis of that, it is my opinion, that concept of ownership does not apply to things that aren't physical objects (and even then its... problematic).

    So there is no problem, 'cos there are no rights.. and no licensing fees, ahaha.

    But clearly, some people think otherwise.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, @04:45PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 05, @04:45PM (#1265133)

      Some people are in a position where they feel like they'd benefit from loose ownership. Others aren't. Your life's circumstances have probably led you in a direction that's different from others. If you were creating content and having it ripped off, you might feel differently, although that's no guarantee because (biggest example) the recording industry's failed promise of wealth (or even solvency) for artists on the basis of IP has led some artists to ignore or even encourage copying (most famously, the Grateful Dead).

      So while I would most certainly not want use my likeness used outside my control (and have even made some DMCA takedown requests for that very reason) you don't care? Different strokes for different folks.

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Friday August 05, @05:12PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Friday August 05, @05:12PM (#1265137) Journal

      It's like asking, who owns the empty space im standing in.

      I don't know where you are currently standing, so I can't tell. But I know that the empty space I am currently sitting in is owned by me. But then, I'm often in spaces owned by others. For example every time I'm shopping.

      So yes, the question who owns the empty space you're standing in is definitely meaningful.

      Well, at least if we ignore the fact that if you are standing in that space, it is by definition not empty.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Saturday August 06, @06:17AM

      by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 06, @06:17AM (#1265235)

      > it can be generated by a random process

      As can the works of Shakespeare. It needs a lot of monkeys though.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by MIRV888 on Friday August 05, @02:53PM (3 children)

    by MIRV888 (11376) on Friday August 05, @02:53PM (#1265108)

    If you put it out there, it can be used. Legally or not.
    I miss anonymity.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Barenflimski on Friday August 05, @03:49PM (2 children)

      by Barenflimski (6836) on Friday August 05, @03:49PM (#1265121)

      I used to ask people to not post my pictures on Facebook. It quickly became so tedious for everyone that my choice was to either never hang out with anyone, or quit bitching. Facebook and the like, won.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Friday August 05, @04:17PM

        by PiMuNu (3823) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 05, @04:17PM (#1265126)

        Remember - friendface is a virus

      • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Saturday August 06, @05:12AM

        by c0lo (156) on Saturday August 06, @05:12AM (#1265223) Journal

        There's still not a picture of mine on the internets; at least not one that Google image search knows about, I just checked.

        I created a FB account a good while ago (to avoid squatting) and didn't answer any of the invitations from my friends and acquaintances to... whatever FB calls "follow" or something; if they tried, I emailed them with apologies and told them that they may use phone, Skype or email if they are interested in staying in touch.

        One on top of the others, I still have a handful of friends I keep in touch. And I don't feel like going out of my ways to make more of them.

        --
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Acabatag on Friday August 05, @08:06PM (1 child)

    by Acabatag (2885) on Friday August 05, @08:06PM (#1265171)

    As the creator, Mom owns the copyright on my face.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, @09:22AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 07, @09:22AM (#1265408)
      If so how about boxers and knife-fighters? Some of them have helped with making "unique" faces.
(1)