The user-centric license model
This is what Flickr’s terms and conditions (actually, Yahoo’s, considering that Yahoo owns Flickr) say:
With respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services other than Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Yahoo! Services solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Yahoo! Services and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo! removes such Content from the Yahoo! Services.
Similarly, Twitter’s terms of service have a slightly different approach and focus more on the license required to make Twitter users’ content (including photos) available both on Twitter.com as well as through companies working with Twitter to publish Twitter users’ content:
You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. 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).
Tip: This license is you authorizing us to make your Tweets available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same.
You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content submitted to or through the Services available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use.
Tip: Twitter has an evolving set of rules for how ecosystem partners can interact with your Content. These rules exist to enable an open ecosystem with your rights in mind. But what’s yours is yours – you own your Content (and your photos are part of that Content).
- Using users’ content and personal information to present targetted ads based on users’ preferences and profile data; and/or
- Allowing the service and companies working with the service to publish users’ content as part of making the service available.
Typically these licenses are limited to the purpose for which the users make their personal information and content available.
The social influence license model
This model is a smart evolution of a popular legal framework by adapting it to fit the social sharing model far better. This model focuses on associating users, their identities and their content with a brand or product based on their personal information and activity on the service (the example we used in our previous post was of a Facebook user who “liked” a brand).
Why do they do this? Well, it’s pretty simple. Other users will be more likely to take more of an interest in brands or products their friends seem to be interested in. The catch is that the users apparently endorsing those brands and products through an apparent association with them may not even be aware that they have been associated with those brands or products. In fact, as some commentators have pointed out, the person associated with the brand or product may not even be the user who published the content but rather other people in the photos concerned.
Put another way
Targeted ads vs selling social engineering to advertisers