It's normal to not consider where a photo is going or who now has access to it when you submit a photo or video to the internet. Millions of users submit material to websites every day in a matter of seconds, but who actually has control over this content? The images and videos you publish online belong to who exactly?
Where Are Your Online Pictures Stored?
Your images may need to be stored on a variety of websites and applications, including those that specialise in:
- Photo editing.
- Social media.
- Cloud storage.
- Second-hand clothing sales.
- Progress tracking.
- Image hosting.
Thousands of websites and applications may ask for a photo of you, a product you're selling, or a form of identity like a driver's licence or passport, even though the aforementioned examples are the ones that come up most frequently when discussing photo storage.
Many of us are unaware of how and where our internet photos and videos are kept. As an illustration, when you post a photo to Instagram, it is kept to your account so that your followers may access it from anywhere. But where are these images kept in order to make this possible?
Like the majority of services, Instagram stores this data on cloud servers. The majority of platforms employ servers to keep track of names, addresses, and other kinds of contact information, along with images, videos, and other types of data. The location of these data centres or data farms varies depending on the firm in question. This is where these servers are often maintained.
Facebook stores user images in data centres as well. Facebook maintains a sizable facility in Sweden called the Lule Data Centre where it stores a sizable portion of the social media platform's data, including user-uploaded images and videos. Facebook has several data centres, but this one serves as an illustration of how the corporation manages data.
But here, you need to take into account more than simply social media. Your photographs and movies may be managed on a wide variety of additional platforms, including cloud storage services like Google Drive. Your data is often stored on distant servers in data centres by cloud storage providers as well.
For instance, Dropbox stores user data on secure servers in the US, UK, Japan, EU, and Australia. So it's clear that secure servers, whether used by social networking platforms or cloud storage providers, are the most popular method for storing user data.
Do you still own these images after they are uploaded and saved, or does someone else have priority over you?
Who Owns Your Uploaded Photos and Videos?
Generally speaking, the owner of the photo or video you posted is the one who made it. For instance, if you use your smartphone to snap a photo and then post it to Twitter, Google Drive, Facebook, or another website, that photo is your property. If you produced the content you post, no website can assert ownership of it.
On the other hand, it is not your property if you decide to post someone else's photo to a social media site, a cloud storage service, or another platform. That material is still the property of the person who took the shot or the person who purchased the rights to it. It is not up to you, for instance, to decide how someone utilises a digital graphic you uploaded to social media. It is up to the creator or legal owner, instead.
The same is true of online cloud storage services like Google Drive and OneDrive. These sites admit that they do not own your data even if they may store it. According to the extra Terms of Service page for Google Drive, "your content remains yours" when you upload it for storage.
There are a few exceptions to this rule, though. For instance, if you give someone else the rights to a picture or video you took, it then belongs to them.
But there's also the usage of your images to think about in this situation.
Who Can Use the Photos You Upload?
Can websites and apps use the photographs you submit even if you own them? On stock image websites like Pixabay and Unsplash, some photographers post their photos for public use. On these websites, you are free to use a particular image or video whatever you wish without giving the originator any credit.
But when you post images to social networking sites, cloud storage services, and other similar platforms, you often aren't hoping that someone else would use them.
Although each network has its own rules on how user photos may be used, it is generally accepted that anything you submit cannot be used without your permission. For instance, Instagram's Help Centre states that you must give your express consent for an advertiser to utilise your images. Otherwise, you can't access your media. Facebook has one additional restriction, though: if your profile or a few chosen photographs are marked as "Public" in your privacy settings, the social media site may utilise them, effectively interpreting your privacy settings as giving Facebook permission to do so.
There are also rules in existence for this if you're concerned that someone could take your social media photo and use it somewhere else. The use of your photos or videos requires your consent if they are not listed as being "licence free." It would be against the law to use your content if they did not ask for your permission beforehand.
How to Keep Your Photos and Videos Safe
It's advisable to preserve this media on your own offline hardware storage device if you're worried about businesses or individuals exploiting the photographs you upload.
By making your accounts private, you can stop other users from downloading your social media photographs and videos. Some social networking platforms enable you customise your privacy settings further, while others merely allow you to select between public and private settings.
If you often post pictures or artwork online, you might also want to think about adding watermarks or a message emphasising that the image is not intended for repurposing. This can reduce the likelihood that your work will be reshared or utilised in other ways without your permission.
Last but not least, it's critical to review the storage and privacy policies of the platforms to which you upload images so that you are aware of how a certain business will manage your content.
You Own Uploaded Content if You Created It
In other words, so long as you do not sell the rights to someone else, the pictures and films you capture and post online are your property. It is most certainly a copyright infringement if someone utilises your material without your consent or pretends to be the owner of it. Therefore, the images and videos you post online are solely yours.