Viral post won't copyright your Facebook updates

Another chain letter disguised as a helpful post rears its ignorant head. It won't help you, at least not against Facebook.

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A hoax status update making the rounds on Facebook has some folks thinking a posted copyright statement will keep Facebook from using the content they post. It won't, and it wouldn't matter if it did.

This is because the post -- which urges users to copy and paste a message declaring rights to the material they post to their profiles -- doesn't apply to Facebook. The social network notes in its terms of service agreement that it doesn't own any user content. It does, however, use the data users generate for its business, something users agree to when they sign up for the account.

The chain letter post, similar to one about privacy that popped up on Facebook in June , has prompted Facebook to release a statement briefly clarifying its terms:

There is a rumor circulating that Facebook is making a change related to ownership of users' information or the content they post to the site. This is false. Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms. They control how that content and information is shared. That is our policy, and it always has been.

This is similar to Facebook's statement in June regarding privacy rights. As CNET explained then, Facebook users -- like those of any other site -- can't simply override the site's terms of use agreement with an after-the-fact disclaimer like this one. Once you've agreed to a site's terms of use, you're bound to those terms whether you like it or not.

This new post focuses on the copyright terms, but uses language similar to the privacy post. Here is the text of the bogus post:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place...them under protection of copyright laws. By the present communique, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook's direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates...

So, for the most part, this Facebook copyright post is useless. But for people with valuable posts (such as high-quality photos), it could still serve as the equivalent of a "no-trespassing" sign: warning people that you don't want your images reused without permission, and implying that you're willing to pursue infringers.

 

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