PetaPixel

New Service Turns Facebook Photos Into Products Without Your Friend’s Consent

photosatmydoor

Want to turn your friend’s Facebook photograph into a mug to sip your morning coffee from? A new service called Photos At My Door can help you do that. It’s an app that can access any of your Facebook friends’ public photographs and turn them into products ranging from photo prints and canvases to mugs and mouse pads.

If the thought of having your photos sold as commercial products without your permission makes you uncomfortable, you’re not alone: the app is attracting criticism for it’s apparently flippant views on photo copyrights.

Rebecca Britt over at Fstoppers writes that the service is “disheartening and disrespectful of a photographer’s copyright,” and that she along should have the power to “allow users to buy my images how I see fit, not some third party app.”

Over on DPReview’s coverage of the app, commenters write that they “smell a lawsuit a brewin’ here” and that Photos At My Door does not have their permission to commercialize their photos.

Let’s take a look at how the service works. It’s a very sparse website that looks like it was designed in the 90s or by a 7th grader. Click the main welcome image and you’ll be asked to give the service permissions to access your Facebook account and your friends’ photographs:

photosatmydoor2

Once permission is given, you’re shown a listing of all of your Facebook friends:

friends

Click on any friend to view a listing of their photo albums. Click on any album to view a gallery of the photographs it contains:

album

All that has been pretty innocuous. After all, there are plenty of third-party apps out there that are designed for browsing Facebook and viewing your friends’ photos.

Here’s where it starts getting messy: click any photograph, and it brings it up as a product purchasing page. Click the “Prints + Products” button and you’ll see all the different things you can order the photo as:

seal

mug

As you can see, ordering any of your friends’ photographs takes just a few clicks and costs just $11:

mugcreation

mugorder

It appears that Photos At My Door is attempting to rid itself of responsibility by using its Terms of Service to put the copyright infringement risks on the users of the app. Here’s what the document says under the section “User Contributed Content”:

WD Web may provide users of its Application with the ability to contribute content to the Application and to sell content through the Application, which may include but is not limited to text, photographs, audio files, comments, profile information, name, likeness, and designs (“User Contributed Content”). By submitting User Contributed Content to the Application, you grant WD Web a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty free, irrevocable, and perpetual license to use your User Contributed Content for the customary and intended purposes of the Application. These purposes may include but are not limited to the sale, rental, lease, or lending of your User Contributed Content, the reproduction of your User Contributed Content, the making of derivative works of your User Contributed Content, the public display of your User Contributed Content, and the public performance, whether by digital audio transmission or otherwise, of your User Contributed Content.

By submitting User Contributed Content to the Application, you warrant that your User Contributed Content will not (i) violate any term or condition of this Agreement, (ii) violate the rights of third parties, including but not limited to intellectual property rights and rights of publicity and privacy, and (iii) violate any applicable law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or treaty.

Notice how users must declare that their use does not “violate the rights of third parties, including but not limited to intellectual property rights.” Basically the app is saying, “we’ll make it easy for you to purchase any of your Facebook friends’ photos as a product without the photo owner’s permission, but first YOU must seek out the permission before doing so.”

In that sense, this whole thing doesn’t seem to be that different from downloading any of your friends’ photographs from Facebook directly and then commercializing it through any number of photo-to-product services out there.

However, many people (particularly photographers) aren’t seeing it that way, so this service (and services like it) will likely continue to generate controversy as long as it’s around.


Thanks for sending in the tip, Tammy!


 
 
  • http://tech.t9i.in/ Tahir Hashmi

    “In that sense, this whole thing doesn’t seem to be that different from downloading any of your friends’ photographs from Facebook directly and then commercialising it through any number of photo-to-product services out there.”

    Well, it’s different in that I wonder how many merchants would like to have an irrevocable perpetual license to use the pictures you submit. Once the product is finished and delivered, it’s done. The printer doesn’t need the license to that photo any more.

  • Guest

    I wonder if someone would copy my naked photo and put it in a mug XD That’s sick. I would like to choose what photo they can use for posters, mugs and so on. If not, then I will post only good photos for such purpose. But the idea is still emberassing especially if someone else makes money behind my back.

  • Jan Kowalewski

    I prefer to choose photos they can print. But I don’t like some company makes money using my property and behind my back.

  • http://twitter.com/LeslieBAP Leslie Burns

    It appears to use only those photos marked as “public” on Facebook. If you read the TOS for Facebook, “public” content can pretty much be used however, whenever, and by whomever. The user who posts the work as “public” has, in other words, already granted the license permitting this use.

    For years, I have been telling photographers they should not post photos on Facebook–instead, keep your work on your own blog/site and post links. Here is another reason to do that.

  • http://www.facebook.com/igor.kennn Igor Ken

    Creepy.

  • http://twitter.com/mlabudaphotos Mitch Labuda

    How simple is a solution?

    We control access to our photos to prevent our friends or others from using our images with Facebook Privacy settings.

    Who knew?

    SOLUTION: Top right of your FB page, there’s a little roundish icon to the right of your name.

    Click on that …. for a drop down menu;

    Click privacy settings. Then in the far left column, click Apps, then towards the bottom, Apps Others Use and UNCHECK photos.

    OR put an X next to Apps to prevent that app from finding your photos.

  • https://twitter.com/#!/thelonelylights Adam Cross

    absolutely right!

  • Poster999

    Um, I’d have to say that if you have posted a naked photo of yourself on Facebook, you’re kind of asking for trouble anyway.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sin3rgy David Liang

    I was under the impression that by making some of my photos public, I am allowing the public to view them. Not allow a 3rd party company to commercialize them for profit, there is a line there they are crossing. For public view, for public use, for public profit?
    Once you add money into the mix it does cross copyright lines and violates the spirit in which the terms of use was written.

  • http://www.facebook.com/sin3rgy David Liang

    So your solution to having your rights violated is run and hide. While effective I would rather stand my ground for what is clearly my right, and have these opportunists do the running and hiding.
    This isn’t an issue of invasion of privacy I fully acknowledge public photos are for public “view” but they are NOT for private enterprises to commercialize, for profit, without my consent or pay me licensing rights.
    Is this not the exact same issue Instagram ran into? Is this not the exact same issue where photos are published in major newspapers without the photographers consent, because the graphics department “found” them on the internet?
    This is a trend and if content owners don’t draw a line, then you’ll find you HAVE you rights.

  • http://twitter.com/FilmTimelapse Daniel Lowe

    Thank you. I’m a professional photographer, former web developer, and I just made all of my content not usable by any apps from anyone else. Thanks!

  • ennuipoet

    This whole thing finally tipped me into removing most of my Pro work from FB, I will link to shots I host rather than post on FB. I blocked the App, but the door is opened and more will come through.

  • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.gr.3975 Gr Andrew

    Why not have some way of paying the photographer? Would seem fair :/

  • http://www.facebook.com/timing Ti Ming Tan

    Even without this service, is anything stopping me from downloading my friends’ photos and emailing them to any other company that prints photos on mugs/t-shirts/etc? Just being practical here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/michael.j.glenn Michael J Glenn

    I guess when they make entry into a stalker/killers house and see the place literally festooned with mugs, posters and the like of his/her stalked victim everywhere it will change. But seriously if they make money it is a violation if they dont have permission from the creator specifically to make money, seperate from TOS

  • http://twitter.com/FanechkaBronson Fanechka Bronson

    just before I saw the bank draft four $9000, I accept that my sister had been trully receiving money in there spare time on there computar.. there friends cousin started doing this for only and by now paid the mortgage on there house and purchased a great Audi Quattro. go to, ………. BIT40. ℂom

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/eziztm/ Eziz

    I doubt they had any malicious money-making intents with this service. It’s probably just another gift idea to give your friends. People have become such drama-queens, life must be boring.

  • Josh

    Except that you are granting FACEBOOK that license not Photos At My Door/More Photos or your individual friends both of whom have not been given ANY reproduction rights to any of your photos. It is illegal for either your friends or Photos At My Door/More Photos to reproduce and/or sell for profit the photos you upload to Facebook. PERIOD. END OF STORY.

    Further Facebook only uses their license so it is legal for them to display the photos on their site and maybe for some small scale promotion which is reasonable and what the users expect to happen. It is not reasonable for a user to expect their photos to be sold for a profit either by Facebook (even though they maybe technically could legally) or a third party company or individual who has NO license to the photos what so ever. Regardless of whether or not the user agreed to grant the license to Facebook so Facebook can legally provide the user with a photo sharing service.

  • Josh

    You probably just upload cell phone snaps to Facebook. Which is fine but you need to understand the people who are upset are artists, serious photographers, and professionals who invest a great deal of time, money, blood, sweat, and tears into creating their images and expect to have their copyrights which protect the monetary value of their work respected.

  • Josh

    First that is illegal. Second this is different. What you describe would be an individual taking maybe one or two photos. still illegal but pretty small scale and not likely to hurt the photographer much. Plus most people would just contact the photographer about getting a print in they were planing on paying for it anyway.

    Photos at my Door is not only encouraging and making it easy for people to break the law but trying to make full on profit driven business out of selling photographers work without their consent or paying them. Profits that should be going to the photographer are being taken by Photos at My Door. What Photos at my Door is doing is basically the same as recording a movie in a theater and selling bootleg DVDs.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/eziztm/ Eziz

    Then by all means, upload your precious work to your own paid hosting. Facebook is a free service, they will have to make money somehow.

  • http://www.bobcooleyphoto.com/ bob cooley

    Only the law, ethics, good sense and decency… other than that, no.

  • dorabowers

    Sydney. if you think Judith`s blurb is amazing… on friday I got themselves a Peugeot 205 GTi from making $4604 this-past/five weeks and a little over $10 thousand lass-month. this is really the most-comfortable work Ive ever done. I began this eight months/ago and practically straight away began to bring in at least $72, p/h. I use the details on this web-site, jump15.comCHECK IT OUT

  • Kaouthia

    Facebook’s not making the money off this, you moron.

    This is some random person who’s decided to create an app.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/eziztm/ Eziz

    I’m speaking in general terms, you a-hole!

  • Kaouthia

    What general terms?

    In general terms, you’re saying it’s ok for somebody to base their entire business model off of copyright theft?

  • pffft

    I find it pretty ironic and funny that this blog doesn’t have a G+ button to share the article.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/eziztm/ Eziz

    You seem to fail to understand that you or any other facebook user is not actually the client but the product. Facebook’s clients are the ones who pay e.g. advertisers (who pay to access the product — you). If Facebook is offering this service, it is definitely not out of the kidness, but because they have something to gain from it. It’s naive to think otherwise.

  • Kaouthia

    What you fail to understand is that FACBOOK IS NOT THE ONE DOING THIS.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/eziztm/ Eziz

    So frigging what? Read my top comment, I’m merely pointing out that people complain over nothing or over-dramatize things because they feel entitled to something while using a free service. Anyways, this is my last post here. You are free to have last word.

  • Kaouthia

    So frigging what? It’s kind of the whole point. The company who have created this are nothing to do with Facebook, they’re not paying Facebook, they’re just ripping images off and then selling them and profiting from it.

    That’s called copyright theft. FACEBOOK HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS. Nobody is complaining about Facebook.

    I refer back to my original statement, you’re a moron.

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/eziztm/ Eziz

    Oh wow, you hurt my feelings there :D. Dickface.

  • http://twitter.com/Brookelorren Brooke Lorren

    I generally don’t put many photos up, because I really don’t like FB’s TOS with regards to photos, but that doesn’t stop other people from buying photos taken of me that other people put up. Probably not going to happen, but it shouldn’t be an option for anybody in the first place.

  • srs veenu

    hi, i hired one photographer too take my wedding photos and to make an album. and he is holding some of my good photograph and asking for more money to deliver extra photos which is not in the album. help me..