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Facebook ‘Copyright’ Status is Meaningless

Facebook copyright status hoax
Justin Sullivan, Getty Images

Surely you’ve seen at least one person post a variation of a copyright protection declaration as their status on Facebook to ‘protect their rights.’

Too bad it doesn’t mean much.

You know you’ve seen them:

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).’

or this one:

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.)’

It would be lovely to think this status protects you, your photos, or your hilarious new and completely original joke about the pop culture topic of the day…but it doesn’t.

When you sign up for Facebook, you agree to their privacy statement and legal terms. Posting this status does not negate the original ‘contract’ you agreed to when you signed up for Facebook.

That means that if you don’t want Facebook to have your stuff, then don’t give Facebook your stuff.

If you want to keep your photos private, change your Facebook privacy settings to private, or for all you conspiracy buffs, don’t put them on Facebook at all.

Depending on your settings, Facebook is within its rights (that you agreed to when you created your Facebook profile) to use your photos for advertisements without giving you a dime.

As for the Berner Convention, Rome Statute, and UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103, they all sound very fancy and reassuring, but a quick Google search reveals there is no such thing as the Berner Convention (Berne Convention?), the Rome Statute controls power given to the International Criminal Court is regards to prosecuting war crimes and genocide, and UCC 1-308 doesn’t apply because when you agreed to Facebook’s legal terms upon signing up, there is no place for you to note you were agreeing under protest.

Sorry, folks, Zuck wins again.

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