Likemany professionals in the design and interiors industry, I’ve been watching Houzz for a while. I recently decided to post some of my images and get involved in the “community”. I rarely “click through” or gloss over the terms and conditions section of any arrangement, but in this case I did, and inadvertently agreed to their “contract.”
Fortunately, I was tipped off to go back and re-read them (when the site editorial called me to use the images) and I was shocked by the rights one (myself!) gives away when they upload images to this website.
“As part of your use of the Website, you may participate in certain ideabooks, message boards, member communications and/or other public forums. Your participation is voluntary; however, by choosing to create ideabooks, post photos or comments, send any messages, submit any ideas or feedback, or otherwise participate in any Houzz forum, you acknowledge and agree that any postings, messages, text, photos, audio/visual works, information, suggestions, feedback, reviews or content provided by you (collectively, “Content”) may be viewed by the general public and will not be treated as private, proprietary or confidential, and you authorize us and our affiliates, licensees and sublicensees, without compensation to you or others, to copy, adapt, create derivative works of, reproduce, incorporate, distribute, publicly display or otherwise use or exploit such Content throughout the world in any format or media (whether now known or hereafter created) for the duration of any copyright or other rights in such Content, and such permission shall be perpetual and may not be revoked for any reason. Further, to the extent permitted under applicable law, you waive and release and covenant not to assert any moral rights that you may have in any Content posted or provided by you.”
“We reserve the right, at any time, with or without cause to change the terms and conditions of this Agreement.”
After learning of this revelation, I was in touch with some of my local colleagues (very prolific on the site with gorgeous interiors work) and they, too, accidentally agreed to these terms. What’s worse, is when they alerted their clients (the actual designers themselves), not too many cared that the images (and their work samples) could be resold without their permission.
Why has the cost of doing business, and staying active in a select community. have to be at the expense of our own copyrighted material?
While Houzz may have done a great job at building community for people looking to improve their quality of life at home through design, they've alienated those very people who help make our dwellings a better place to live. I would be delighted to still participate on the site, and be active in a central space to share ideas, and broaden my network, but I just can’t do it when it looks like this. As a small business owner, I have the obligation to make sure my content is protected and secure.
To read more on this subject, visit: http://www.aphotoeditor.com/2013/10/02/houzz-has-your-image-rights-how-long-before-theyre-selling-them/