Considering I use social media all the time, I’ve never really properly looked at the terms of service or privacy policies for any of the platforms I use. When it comes to promoting myself and my work online, I need to be more aware of who can see and potentially use my work and what I can do to control this. Here’s what I learnt.
Protecting the intellectual property and the privacy of personal information is one of the many challenging issues that companies and individuals globally are faced with when promoting themselves online. The UK has a Data Protection Act 1988 in place which controls how this information is used through strict rules called ‘data protection principles’. Adhering to these principles allows both business and consumer to build trust, protect their reputation and sustain relationships – but sometimes these rules can be broken and it’s therefore important to audit my own privacy and rights when publishing my work and personal details online.
“Privacy protection can be considered a process of establishing an appropriate balance between privacy and multiple competing interests.” (Askelson et al., 2012, p9)
The UK also has a Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 which automatically protects against the use of intellectual property without the author’s permission and entitles the author to benefit from that work. Virtually all creative works – whether literary, photographic, illustrative, filmed or computer-generated – are protected by copyright. The period of copyright generally lasts until 70 years after the death of the author or creator of the material. The act covers both copyright and moral rights which are equally important when it comes to protecting and spreading reputation. Infringement of copyrighted work is defined as when substantial work has been copied without the permission of the copyright owner, although there is no clear definition as to what amounts to substantial and the Courts decide on a case by case basis.
“Creative Commons is a global non-profit organization that enables sharing and reuse of creativity and knowledge through the provision of free legal tools. Our legal tools help those who want to encourage reuse of their works by offering them for use under generous, standardized terms; those who want to make creative uses of works; and those who want to benefit from this symbiosis.” (Creative Commons, 2017)
One of the best tools for copyright licences is the Creative Commons licences, which allow creators to communicate which rights they reserve, and which rights they waive for the benefit of recipients or other creators. These licences are based upon copyright, but do not replace it – they simply aim to remove the need for individual negotiations for specific rights between licensor and licensee. There are six regularly used licences: Attribution (BY), Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA), Attribution-NoDerivs (BY-ND), Attribution-NonCommercial (BY-NC), Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA) and Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (BY-NC-ND). Each is comprised of a selection of four conditions:
- Attribution – Work may be copied, distributed, displayed and performed, plus derivative works and remixes based on the work may be created, but only if appropriate attribution is made
- ShareAlike – Derivative works may be distributed but only under a licence the same as the original work
- Non-Commercial – Work may be copied, distributed, displayed and performed, plus derivative works and remixes based on the work may be created, but only for non-commercial purposes
- Derivative Works – Work may be copied, distributed, displayed and performed, but only verbatim copies, derivative works and remixes are not permitted
At the time of writing, my portfolio is temporarily published using a subdomain of my partners company, however once it is at a presentable level I’d like to purchase my own domain and use a separate company to host it – this way my URL will be more appealing and relevant. In the meantime, all rights to my portfolio site are my own. I’ll also be promoting myself through various other platforms: LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and possibly in the future, Facebook and Behance. For the purposes of this assignment I am also using WordPress to host my blog.
Twitter – When members signup for an account with Twitter, some information is necessary such as name, username, email and password, as is standard for most platforms. Members can choose how much of their contact and additional information they provide. The terms of service state that account members must be at least 13 years old and are responsible for their use of service and content provided. “By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed). This license authorizes us to make your Content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same.” (Twitter, Inc, n.d.). I plan to use Twitter to tweet work progress updates, respond to topics of discussion within my industry and connect with other industry professionals. The nature of my tweets will be almost “disposable” and therefore fine for the public to view.
Facebook – The Facebook terms of service state that the member owns all content and information posted to the site, and how it’s shared can be controlled through the privacy and application settings. Any posted content that is covered by intellectual property rights grants Facebook a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook” (Facebook, n.d.), subject to the members privacy and application settings. Backup copies of any deleted information will remain for a reasonable amount of time but cannot be seen by others. Facebook collects a large amount of information – what you post, who you posted to and even from what device. The information I will share on Facebook will be more text based, any images I share will be behind-the-scenes or things I am happy for people to use.
WordPress – The terms of service on WordPress state that the blog or website author is responsible for the security of the account, as well as any content or comments they post. By publishing content members grant WordPress with “a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing, and promoting your blog” (Automattic, n.d.). All site traffic is measured and recorded with no credit given to the member. Personal information isn’t stored or shared with anyone except for legal reasons or to help develop the sites products and privacy settings can be used to control what’s visible to the public. If I decided to include a permanent blog on my portfolio site, I might consider using WordPress to host it as I agree with their TOS and also really like the back-end customisability.
Because the industry is so saturated and experience is vital, I might also consider using a platform such as Freelancer to promote my services and attract clients as well as entering submissions to design contests. The catch is that when submitting content, you grant Freelance a “worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise any and all copyright, trademark, publicity, and database rights (but no other rights) you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future” (Freelancer Technology Pty Limited, n.d.).