Can I Use Photos From Facebook? A cheap and easy solution!

Well, the answer is no, you cannot download and use someone else’s Intellectual Property (IP)/copyright unless you have permission from the photographer or licensed it from a stock photography agency. Although this seems like we are taking this too seriously because you’ve probably seen millions of people freely downloading and resharing someone else’s copyrighted image on social networks, blogs, forums, etc., right?

Yes, this is pretty common today, but it is illegal, and the internet is starting to crack down on the biggest copyright offenders. The truth is, the internet is still in its Wild West phase, in which lawlessness is pretty much everywhere when it comes to copyright infringes stealing images for use. And today, that is a problem because we are only now in the infancy of enforcing IP/copyright laws on the internet. ugc videos for facebook

Hell, you might even be guilty of doing this because you didn’t know how copyright works when it comes to the internet. The best remedy to avoid this situation is to use your own images, get permission from the content creator, or use stock photography. creative flow
Your budget is tight, and you really need professional-looking photos to use in your designs.

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But in the meantime, I want to give you all the information you’ll need to know about Facebook’s rules and regulations and general information about copyright and IP law.

To know how to tackle a social media campaign with stock photos, read our guide to photos for social media. 

We are seeing IP holders and companies sprouting up to help content creators enforce their copyright, and even in some cases, they have helped photographers collect money. Two of these companies are ImageRights and Pixsy, which help content creators track down image thieves and collect money.

While most of the time-image thievery isn’t really worth enforcing for some content creators because they don’t want to waste the time or money, you can still effectively get the image burglar to take down your image.


How? A DMCA takedown. DMCA stands for Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which is a U.S. federal law that an IP holder can invoke when it is found someone is using your content unlawfully. IP holders and photographers can issue a DMCA takedown to the webmaster or web hosting company of the person using your photo, and 9 times out of 10, they will take it down if you can prove it’s your IP.

Any creative work automatically obtains a copyright that belongs to the creator. This applies to photos, art, music, writing, or video. The copyright can be bought or transferred with the written consent of the owner, generally done by a signed contract.

If you want to instantly access that permission without having to track down the photographer and get permission, stock photography is the number one way of doing so. Not only is it almost instantaneous, but royalty free images can often be used over and over again.

For example, at, the licensing is quite lenient. In fact, once you download an image from us, you can use that image forever. You also don’t have to put a special watermark or copyright symbol within the image, as some stock photography agencies require.

Facebook Terms of Use

There are millions of Facebook users, but very few are aware of the terms of use and user agreements. Facebook strictly outlines in its user policy that any photos uploaded to an account become the property of Facebook. In simple language, you are providing them with copyrights to your photos when you publish them on the social network.

Sharing a posted photo on a social network using a share button is actually fine because you are crediting the owner of the photo. Downloading a photo to your computer and using the image without written permission is not allowed.

In fact, here’s Facebook’s exact wording on copyright:

  1. Copyright is a legal right that seeks to protect original works of authorship (ex: books, music, film, art).
  2. Generally, copyright protects original expressions such as words, images, videos, artwork, etc. It does not protect facts and ideas, although it may protect the original words or images used to describe an idea. Copyright also doesn’t protect things like names, titles, and slogans; however, another legal right called a trademark might protect those.

Learn more about Facebook and copyright by reading “How Stock Photos Can’t Be Used on Facebook.”

The Internet is Not a Public Domain

The term ‘public domain’ is misunderstood. Since the birth of the internet, people are confusing the legal definition of public domain and public. Public domain refers to books, photos, and written work that have fallen into a status where the copyright has expired.

Facebook, the entire internet, google, yahoo, are public search engines or internet pages, but they are not ‘public domain’. For example, the book Pride and Prejudice is now in the public domain and can be downloaded as a free book and Alice in Wonderland is the same. This confusion has people grabbing photos, books, and artwork from the internet and thinking that they have full right to the object because it is on public display.

Better Safe Than Sorry

Copyright and Intellectual Property laws have been a great debate so far and will continue to be a discussion in the years to come. If you find a photo on Facebook and really want to use it, ask. Send a direct message to the Facebook user who posted the photo and request permission. If permission is not granted, it’s simple, you can not use it. If it is granted, obtain the permission in writing and pay for the use. After all, it is a friendly thing to do.

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Amos Struck
Amos Struck

Amos Struck, a renowned expert with over two decades in the stock photography industry, is known for his profound expertise in both stock imagery and artificial intelligence (AI). He is the founder of and a driving force behind the innovative AI-driven platform, His pioneering work in visual AI is marked by co-founding Ximilar AI. Amos also established the Microstock Expo Conference, a key event in the stock photography sector. As a regular speaker at major industry conferences like DMLA and a prominent member of CEPIC, he consistently contributes to the industry's growth and evolution through a blend of technological innovation and market insight.


    I wish more of the jokers who try to steal my watermarked images on Facebook would see this.

    The ignorance and blatant disregard for copyright laws and flouting of common professional decency of people in media production completely astounds me at times.

    • The reason people steal images is because what going to happen to them?? Nothing. The most you can get is the cost of the image. So if you are selling an image for $30 and someone takes it, all you’re entitled to is $30

    • Sorry to hear that David, but it happens quite often. Thats the reason why we have written this article.


      From Facebook's Terms:

      Sharing Your Content and Information

      You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

      For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

      When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).

      When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).

      When you use an application, your content and information is shared with the application. We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information. (To learn more about Platform, read our Privacy Policy and Platform Page.)

      * * * When you publish content or information using the Public setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture). * * * (THE KEY ONE TO PAY ATTENTION TO)

      We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).

  2. good to know.

    • Nice, thanks for tagging me to that. If I upload a picture and you "Like" it, your friends are not supposed to download it. My suggestion of overlaying a transparent GIF file, means that even IF they download it, it still has YOUR copyright on it. How exactly to overlay a GIF file, I really do not know.

    • Barbara

  3. Good article! PS> Internet is uppercase 🙂

  4. Great post and thanks for mentioning Pixsy, Amos!

    Hopefully, the more people know about copyright and rights of photographers, the more difficult it would be for infringers to neglect them.

  5. A photo that is purchased and shared to social media with permission, but is then shared, copied or reposted…. is that copyright infringement?

  6. I am stating that I have the same rights as Meta has when it comes to the receiving of data from the internet, that I have access to through the use of the Forum. If this data is available for Me to view, it is now My property and I as well as Meta, now have the right to publish this as Mine. If this is all that is required by Meta, then I expect the same to apply to Me or anyone else that can make this statement as Meta has. I also state that anything I publish to this Forum is free to use if those that also state that they also have the same rights as Meta.

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