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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Ohhhh No You Didn't Facebook - Facebook Thinks They Own You Now

Yes, it's another rant about Facebook. However, this time it's a rant on behalf of writers (and all Facebook users of the world). The word on the street is that Facebook now claims, in their newly revised Terms of Service, that they "own" any post, image, and blog you create on Facebook. Basically, Facebook owns you. They already claim your time but now they own everything about you. Sure, let's use your kid's baby photo as part of our promotions. Nope, that's not breaking any laws because guess what, it's part of their new Terms of Service changes.

As a writer, I'm laughing at these preposterous service changes. You don't own my intellectual property rights to my writing (or photos), morons. Also, the privacy settings are subjective now. That's ok we don't have any privacy in the U.S. anyway, so why should we start now?

Here is the actual verbiage:

"You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof."

Also, don't even think about terminating your account with Facebook, because this bad boy clause pretty much screws you (according to their legalese).
"The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other."
So let me break it down for you (I've only worked with hotel and vendor contracts so my legalese is a bit rusty): anything you post on Facebook will come back to haunt you. Let's say you cancel your account and you're walking down the street ten years later with your wife/husband, 2.5 kids and you just became a Senator. There you are: glassy-eyed with beer bong in hand with a scantily clad woman (or man) at your side. Think Animal House-esque type setting. Your old frat party photo has been plastered on a gigantic billboard and you are the newest Facebook poster child. Hey, it could happen. However, you can't sue because remember back in the day when you clicked on the Terms of Agreement? You can kiss your political career good-bye, buddy. You also can't make any money off the ad because it belongs to guess who? Yup, that's right. Facebook.

If you need a good crisis publicist, give me a call Facebook. You're shooting yourself in the foot with bad publicity. Way to go!

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