Have you scrolled through your Facebook feed today? What about Instagram? Oh, of course, you have been there as well! Checking social media is now a part of our daily routine. It became as natural as making coffee in the morning. People share millions of copyrighted pictures every single day on different platforms. At the same time, not many respect copyright laws for images and stealing photos for social media becomes more and more common. Who stole my picture?

Man checking facebook pictures

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People stole photos for different purposes. Some end up being republished on another website, other printed in the magazines or as posters for sale. Some get reposted on social media. Penalties vary, depending on the further usage of a stolen image.


Let’s begin with a short introduction into the process and methods used for calculating damages. This brings us to the enigmatic MFM Tables. The Mittelstandsgemeinschaft Foto-Marketing (MFM) group annually publishes image fees as an overview of regular market payment for picture utilization rights. These are tariff agreements between the MFM-affiliated picture agencies and photographers – their organizations respectively – and are commonly viewed as ’the German standard‘ for calculating damages in cases of image right infringements.

The market-based and achieved average fees in this instance provide the basis of the calculation of the values. Many verdicts in court are reached in consideration of MFM tables and license analogy – value determined which the author would have obtained in case of a contractual agreement between both parties.

The tables get regular updates. Here are some latest numbers which you might find interesting:

3 months on a homepage, size of longest side up to 1500px = 260 € fee 

1 month on a social media platform =  197 € fee

6 months on a social media platform = 357 € fee 

Social Media icons

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It is crucial to be aware of what happens when you share your content on social media platforms. Some photographers are afraid of potential photo infringement and losing their ownership but Facebook does not take ownership for pictures you post on their platform. FYI, to keep the functionality of the service, Facebook needs this statement in their Terms and Conditions: ’To provide our services, though, we need you to give us some legal permissions to use that content. Specifically, when you share, post, or upload content covered by intellectual property rights (like photos or videos) on or in connection with our products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, and worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content‘. Keep in mind that, when sharing a picture, there is always a risk of losing control over the distribution of your pictures. If someone uses your content without your consent it is classified as image theft.

The latest European Union directive concerning copyright brought put more responsibility on big companies such as Facebook or Instagram and made them liable for the content posted on their platforms.

Phone scrolling

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Photo sharing became such a common practise that asking for the photographers’ permission for reposting and sharing is often forgotten. That is why it is crucial to keep an eye on your pictures. If you want to focus on taking photos, we will take care of your rights and look for copyright infringement. Once found, we will calculate the damages. We will base the calculation on the above-mentioned MFM tables. If you prefer to use your usual fees, we will use them instead.

While exploring the vast ocean of the Internet and searching for cases, we monitor different sources and search for copyright infringements on various platforms. Unfortunately, Google does not index Instagram, hence we can’t find any copyright infringements there. That is why we need a little bit of your help here! As soon as you find out that someone else uses your picture on Insta, please send us what you spotted. Read more here. We are looking forward to working on new findings and getting back the money you deserve from your copyrights!

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