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Last month, Facebook came out with new terms of service, aimed at making privacy controls safer. I started wondering just how safe my photos are on Facebook, so I did a little research. Here’s the statement straight from Facebook’s website: “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.” Translation: If you post your photos on Facebook, you give Facebook the rights to those photos.  They can use them however they want, whenever they want, anywhere in the world they want… even if you delete your account.  They can even sell them without your knowledge and there’s nothing you can do about it.  Photos posted on Facebook are now Facebook property.  Period. So what does this mean for you as a photographer? Well, for starters, it means that if you’re serious about making money from your photography, you should reconsider posting your best photos on Facebook. Professional photographers Rich Wagner and Efraín Padró have said that Facebook photos (if posted at all) should simply be casual snapshots and candids that you AREN’T looking to sell. My general rule of thumb would be: Don’t post anything you wouldn’t want to give away for free, because that’s in essence exactly what you’re doing. Should you freak out if you’ve already posted a bunch of photos on Facebook that you want to sell? I wouldn’t.  Life’s too short to worry about things you have no control over.  Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are outraged about these new terms of service (and they’re posting their outrage all over the Internet and voicing it publicly in newspapers and live conferences around the world), and Facebook isn’t budging or showing any signs of intent to change them. Am I upset that I didn’t read their terms of service with a fine-toothed comb before posting my photos when I set up my account? Of course I am. Is it going to stop me from selling my photos?  No.  And am I going to waste time crying over it?  No. The best thing we can do is move onward and upward.  Focus on taking more pictures and selling them the way we know how. Tomorrow I’ll send you a list of websites where you can safely post your photos for sale, share them with friends, and even market yourself as a photographer without giving away the rights to your images. Stay tuned and, in the meantime, stay positive, –Lori Lori Allen Director, Great Escape Publishing P.S. Our monthly photo challenge contest is one example of a “safe” place to share your photos. We will never sell or steal your photos, and we’ll always keep your username attached with each of your photos. This month’s theme is Red, White, and Blue. P.P.S. Uploading your photos to our monthly challenge is good practice for uploading your photos to online stock agencies. And selling your photos as stock is a hobby that can easily earn you a nice secondary income stream. Simply upload your photos, get them accepted into online stock agencies, and each time your photo is downloaded, you’ll receive a nice check in your pocket. Learn more about how you can turn your pictures into cash in our free online newsletter The Right Way to Travel.  Sign up here today and we’ll send you a new report, Selling Photos for Cash: A Quick-Start Guide, completely FREE.

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