A notice doesn’t help: Facebook still gets rights to your pictures

“In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, paintings, writing, publications, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times. (Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws.)” -useless notice going around Facebook right now

Facebook has always had a pretty sketchy set of user guidelines (seriously, read that link!). They can do pretty much whatever they want to do with whatever you post or upload onto the site. Photos, messages, ridiculous cat pictures, whatever…. By virtue of having a facebook account, you have already given facebook the worldwide, sublicensable, royalty-right to do anything they want with photos, video, and text. Here’s the relevant copy from their terms of service:

“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 privacyand 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’s terms of service

Any copyright notice, especially one referring to the nonexistent “Berner” convention (it’s the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works), will do nothing for you. You only have 3 ways out of this agreement with facebook: 1. Don’t have a facebook account, 2. Negotiate a special agreement with facebook (good luck!), or 3., Delete your facebook account.

Don’t take my word for it. Snopes, Gizmodo, and Mashable all have more on this subject.

Embarrassing party photos posted on Facebook? Not with this beer cooler / photoblocker

“Ostensibly, the Norte Photoblocker is a functional beer cooler surrounded by four sensors that can detect the flashes from cameras or cell phones. If a flash goes off in the direction of the Photoblocker, it fires its own flash to flood the resulting photos with bright white and obscure anyone nearby.” -Gizmag, Norte Photoblocker keeps your face out of embarrassing club photos

Apparently this actually exists. A South American beer brand called Cerveza Norte has developed a beer cooler/photoblocker device in partnership with Brazil-based ad agency Del Campo Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi. The device keeps a beverage cold and is outfitted with an array of flashbulbs. If the device detects a flash from a camera pointed in its direction, the photoblocker fires its own flash in order to overexpose the picture being taken. Watch the video above (skip to 0:38 to see the device), and it will all be clear. The device has been field-tested in bars in Argentina, and it works as advertised. No word on when the photoblocker will be available for purchase. Fast Company has a little more background.

This isn’t the first such device. A few years ago, NYU grad student Adam Harvey developed an anti-paparazzi clutch purse that operates in a similar way.

(via /.)

Dina Litovsky’s “Untag This Photo”

Dina Litovsky, a Brooklyn based photographer, recently sent us a look at her new project Untag This Photo, a complex project looking at the role of pictures and feminine exhibitionism in modern society. Litovsky writes: “Instead of an instrument of voyeurism, the camera becomes a welcomed participant.”

I think there are a lot of interesting issues at play here: the omnipresence of cameras and the changing perceptions of posing and being pictured, alongside what are acceptable public (or are these private?) exhibitions. These lines are blurring, and it is great to see photographers exploring this territory. I’m sure all of us who have social media accounts can relate to wanting to ‘untag’ pictures of ourselves for a variety of reasons, whether our friends took the picture or we showed up in someone else’s images.

But I think we should leave it to Litovsky’s statement and her pictures to be our introduction to this discussion. I look forward to seeing feedback on this project.

“For the last few years I have been photographing the New York City nightlife in its different incarnations- clubs, lounges and bars, as well as parties – both public and private. During this time I observed the focus of the events shift from partying to photographing the partying and became fascinated by the often exhibitionist behavior of women in this changing social context. This project is my exploration of how public behavior and personal representation have been influenced by the accessibility and availability of electronic media, specifically digital cameras, iphones and networking sites.

In one form or another, self-representation of women has been linked to exhibitionism since the Flapper age. Women’s compliance to adjust to the ever-changing ideals of beauty has been evolving hand in hand with an eagerness to showcase the results. In the digital age, this has become easier than ever. Enabled by the new technologies and encouraged by the Lady Gaga-like conception of femininity, the desire to reveal has transformed into a willingness to expose. With this, self-representation of women has reached a curious state, one where women are both in control of their image and at the same time, participate more than ever in their own objectification.

Social networks provide a perfect platform for wide and instant exposure and familiarize the mainstream audience with overtly sexualized behaviors that in the past have only been permissible in the contained settings of Spring Break or Mardi Gras. Cameras, ever more compact and omnipresent, are increasingly admitted into heretofore ‘private’ realms: late-night dance halls, erotic events, even in the bedroom. Instead of an instrument of voyeurism, the camera becomes a welcomed participant. The women photographed are not just permitting but actually performing for the camera; it connects them, the virtual exhibitionists, to a vast anonymous audience.” – Litovsky