I know with other works, as soon as a person creates it, it is automatically copyrighted. So does that mean when a person takes a picture its automatically their property and no one else can do anything but view it?

I ask because I'm curious how this effects social media. I'm part of a free running group I found through Meetup.com and they normally take pictures and post them to the Meetup page. I would like to put some pictures on my Facebook but not sure if its allowed. It's not really feasible for me to ask every person in the picture because most of them I don't know!

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    You have conflated two different questions: To use something covered by copyright, you only need the permission of the copyright owner, or the sanction of fair-use. To use pictures of individuals is a question about the right-of-publicity.
    – feetwet
    Commented Aug 4, 2016 at 14:48
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    This cannot be emphasised enough: the people in a photo are usually not the copyright owner(s)! The person who took the photo is the copyright owner, unless a specific law or agreement causes the copyright to be transferred to different owner(s). Commented Apr 2, 2021 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


The default answer is NO, but you would have to check the terms&conditions of Meetup.com.

For a simpler example, just look at the bottom of this page: "user contributions licensed under cc by-sa 3.0 with attribution required". That means that you can copy pictures from this site to your Facebook page, if you acknowledge the photographer and link back to here.


http://lifehacker.com/5992419/the-best-ways-to-be-sure-youre-legally-using-online-photos. And I quote "Attribution Does Not Make it Right

Taking another person's image or graphic and giving them a "shout out," linkback, or any other type of attribution does not negate copyright infringement. Common sense may say that an artist wants exposure for their work, but we're talking about the law here and common sense doesn't always parallel. Copyright law gives the copyright holder the right to decide where their work is published and maybe they don't want their work on your site, in your book, included in your newsletter or distributed to your social media network. It's not for us to question why they wouldn't want "exposure.""

So basically, the answer is, if you are given the right to use it, even without a link back, you're good. But if they didnt gave you the right, EVEN with a link back, then you may be in trouble.


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