When an author publishes their work themselves

An author can decide to make their work available on social media themselves or grant social media or  users certain rights regarding their work. Many social media sites include licences in their general conditions of use and these can have varying effects.

This means, before they publish their work, an author can take considerable precautions against losing their exclusive rights.

For example, Wikipedia’s conditions of use stipulate that authors who publish their work on Wikipedia accept the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence, according to which other users are free not only to share the work in question but also to adapt it once they have indicated the source and share their derivative work according to the same conditions.

Other sites, such as Flickr, offer their users a range of Creative Commons licences and invite them to choose one that suits them best. DeviantArt only requires authors to grant it the necessary rights to post their works on its site.

However, the vast majority of social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, YouTube, SoundCloud, Instagram or even Tinder, allow their users to retain their rights to the works they share and create.

But by accepting the general conditions, the author grants these sites an extremely broad, global licence, which allows them to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, publish, share, post, distribute or perform the published work. In other words, these social media operators grant themselves rights which can be far-reaching without incurring any significant obligations themselves in return (Rebetez M., Internet, les réseaux sociaux et le droit d’auteur [Internet, Social Networks and Copyright] p. 92).