The mere act of taking a photograph means the photographer holds the copyright for that picture. Sharing it on a social media site does nothing to limit or reduce that fundamental right, according to digital rights expert Mary Luria. “Unless (you) post the photo with a message that says, ‘please copy this and pass it along,’ the photographer holds the copyright,” said Luria, a partner in Davis & Gilbert in New York.
Misuse of content isn’t new, she points out — famous photos have been copied without credit for 150 years — but the Internet has made it easy and, in some circles, normal.
“The culture of the Internet is this concept of sharing everything. That things belong to us, not to a person,” she said. “And they are surprised when someone says, ‘You’ve taken this, it’s mine.”