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Press Release

November 9, 2009


Eugene Mopsik, Executive Director, ASMP
American Society of Media Photographers
Phone: 215 451 2767


ASMP Reports on Terms of Social Networking Sites

Philadelphia, PA … The American Society of Media Photographers (ASMP) has issued a report about the Terms of Service (TOS) of major social networking sites including Facebook, Photobucket, Flickr, MySpace, YouTube and Twitter. ASMP commissioned this report to address the responsible use of social media by members of the photographic community in light of unclear terms and conditions which give varying image usage rights to image owners, hosting companies and other users.


According to ASMP President Richard Kelly, "We undertook this review to provide our Members with important information to help them make good decisions about posting their work on social networking sites. We believe it is crucial for photographers to understand their rights as they navigate the rapidly changing world of social media."


The report presents recommended best practices, TOS considerations, common terms used and hypothetical situations photographers may face when images are posted on social networking sites. The report is available at no charge on the ASMP website


The report offers recommended best practices including becoming familiar with a site before posting images; reading and understanding thoroughly the TOS of a site; and embedding all images with copyright, contact and other information before uploading. The report also suggests that photographers should be aware that, in many cases, the host has the right to change its terms without notice to customers. Not only can the terms be changed but, in addition, much of the language is so broad that it's often difficult to identify the extent of the hosting company's rights. The report points out that there is some commonality among the sites. In all of the site terms reviewed users are prohibited from infringing the intellectual property rights of owners of posted images; users can report copy infringement and the host must take down the infringing material; and there are procedures in place for reporting copyright infringement.


Finally, the report contains hypothetical examples of situations photographers may face when dealing with social networking sites. In the report's three examples, all six hosting sites offered a wide range of confusing outcomes which demonstrate the importance of studying the terms of each site and understanding the potential risks of each.


ASMP is the premier trade association for photographers who create images primarily for publication. Founded in 1944, ASMP is the leader in promoting photographers' rights, providing education in better business practices, producing business publications for photographers, and helping to connect purchasers with professional photographers. ASMP has 39 chapters across the country, and its members include many of the world's foremost photographers. More information is available at