BuzzFeed is a global news organization and entertainment division set on sharing video and content across multiple platforms. You would think they would know a few things about photo rights, but they chose to ignore them.
BuzzFeed runs several different groups for fans of different themes. The group Room of Requirement was made for fans of the “Harry Potter” series. You can find Buzzfeed sharing the group on their site here. Photographer Rebecca Britt is a huge Harry Potter fan, and being a professional working photographer, she found their rules for the group quite unexpected. You are not allowed to credit or link photographers in their work upon sharing in the group. You are also not allowed to post images that have watermarks on them. According to the admins of the group, this falls under spam: no advertising or promoting, no sharing social media pages.
I think we all understand the “no spam” rule and agree it should be there, but not to this extent. I have been in many groups where you get those fake accounts posting multiple times to buy their cheap sunglasses and other merchandise. Hey, we all hate it, and yes, that shouldn't be allowed. However, allowing photos with watermarks or simply crediting the photographer in a single photo isn't spam.
What happens when you do post a photo with a watermark or you credit the photographer? You'll get a comment from the admin that it violates their group rules and you will have disciplinary actions taken against you. As you can see, there's even a mention of cropping out the watermark so it will be allowed in the group, which directly violates the photographer's copyright.
Britt even went as far as to inform them that the rule is against copyright laws without success. You can see there are many comments where the admins are informing the members they are in violation. Many of them are no longer a part of the group. This isn't the only group they run and this isn't the only group I have come across with this.
My personal experience was when a local car group tried to use a photographer's photo to produce and sell calendars. When the photographer messaged them about it, an online argument was started and he was removed from the group, with new rules banning photos with watermarks coming shortly thereafter.
Have you come across any groups with similar rules? What do you think about not allowing photographers to be credited for their work and having their watermarks removed?