Facebook will give people more control over the pictures they own and where they end up.In an update to its rights management platform, the company started working with partners today to give them the right to claim ownership of images and then control where they are displayed on Facebook, including instagram. The goal is to eventually open the feature to all, but the company has no timetable for opening it up more widely.
Facebook didn't disclose who the partners were, but in theory that might mean that if a brand like National Geographic uploaded its photos to Facebook's rights manager, it could monitor where the photos appeared, just like other brands' instagram pages. From then on, companies can choose to leave the images unchanged, issue a deletion notice to delete infringing posts, or use the zone control feature, which means the posts are still valid, but not visible in the areas where the company's copyright applies.
To claim their copyright, image rights owners need to upload a CSV file to Facebook's rights manager, which contains all the metadata of the image. They also specify the scope of copyright and may exclude certain regions. Once the manager verifies that the metadata matches the image, it processes the image and monitors where it is displayed. If another person tries to claim ownership of the same image, the two sides can argue back and forth several times, and Facebook will eventually give it up to the person who applied first. If they want to appeal the decision again, they can use Facebook's IP report form.
This update may subvert the current way instagram works. There are often accounts sharing the same image, and only the presumed original obligee is marked as the obligee. Now, these rights holders can withdraw their posts without delay. In the end, creators may eventually have to invest in their own photography or photo creation to avoid posts being dropped. This may be what instagram ultimately wants: to be a place to share original images, not to reprint them.