By now, we’re sure you’ve seen the ridiculous copyright notices that have been popping up on Facebook status updates left and right — and if you haven’t, then perhaps your friends are simply more intelligent than the masses who’ve been fooled into believing they can override the social media giant’s terms of use.

We’ll put this simply to avoid further confusion: stringing together nonsensical bits of pseudo-legalese cannot save you from succumbing to the rules and regulations of the Facebook gods. On the other hand, stringing together nonsensical bits of pseudo-legalese is sometimes what law blogging is all about, so we’ll help our readers debunk the myths of privacy and intellectual property rights on Facebook.

Aww, you thought Facebook couldn’t use all the things you posted on the site because of your privacy settings? Well, isn’t that just precious….

Here’s the copyright notice that’s been making the rounds on Facebook (courtesy of Mashable):

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, 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 communiqué, 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 If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status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…

Dude, thank God you cited the “Berner Convention,” the Uniform Commercial Code, and used a fancy word with an accent aigu, or else you would’ve been totally screwed… except for the fact that you kind of already are.

First of all, it’s the Berne Convention, not the Berner Convention — the latter just sounds like a nickname for your stoner gatherings with friends. Anyway, under the Berne Convention, copyright is automatic, and Facebook acknowledges that you own your copyright to the things you oh-so-carelessly post on the site 24 hours a day. (By the way, sorry, no one really cares about how beautiful your food is.)

Another thing that Facebook freely admits is that once you’ve agreed to their terms and conditions — which you already did, by signing up to use the site — you’ve granted the company a “non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.” That being the case, you may want to delete that picture of your half-naked keg-stand.

For the non-believers who still think they can turn it around on Facebook, here’s some guidance from Snopes:

Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their accounts nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict any new privacy or copyright terms instituted by Facebook simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls.

If only contractual agreements could be voided by posting something akin to “LOL no” on Facebook, perhaps we’d have a more peaceful world (or a much more confusing one); but whatever, no one really cares about legal mumbo-jumbo (except for lawyers), until they think they have something to stomp their feet about online.

So why are people’s panties in such a bunch? Because Facebook is changing its privacy policy. For the details, we turn to Kashmir Hill, ATL editor emerita and goddess of all things privacy- and tech-related:

Facebook is adding a clause to the data use policy that allows it to share “information with affiliates,” i.e. other companies that Facebook owns. Bloomberg calls the move Google-like, pointing out that it will allow Facebook “to build unified profiles of its users that include people’s personal data from its social network and from Instagram.” I think it’s less like Google mashing up everything it knows about a person in one basket and more like a typical corporate clause. But it does mean that Facebook and Instagram info may now exist on the same server and won’t be kept separate, meaning the social networking can now see everything it knows about you through a Walden filter.

For additional information, you can read more at the Not-So Private Parts on Forbes. That’s about it when it comes to your new and improved privacy and intellectual property rights on Facebook. Next time you “Instagram That Hoe,” you’ll be allowing Facebook to share your stats with other affiliated platforms. Big deal.

Here’s a proposition for you: delete the things you’d prefer Facebook not to see. Here’s another one: don’t pretend you’re a lawyer and propagate completely meaningless information to all of your Facebook friends. And here’s the most novel suggestion of all: if you don’t like the changes, don’t use Facebook.

Don’t Fall For Fake Facebook Privacy Notice [Mashable]
Facebook Privacy Notice [Snopes]
What You Actually Need To Know About The Changes Facebook Is Making To Its Privacy Policy
[The Not-So Private Parts / Forbes]


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