During your recent Internet travels, you may have seen friends post a message on Facebook informing the publicly traded mega-corporation that Facebook’s privacy and copyright guidelines don’t apply to them.
Not so fast, it doesn’t work like that!
The text of these posts usually begins like this, “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.” It goes on to claim Facebook cannot, “disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against [the user] on the basis of this profile and/or its contents.”
In Session’s legal experts say the reason why this doesn’t work is quite simple: Facebook users and their content are bound by the user’s agreement that you consent to when you sign up for an account with the social media site. So posting a copyright declaration after agreeing to the site’s user agreement changes nothing. The user agreement is a legally binding contract, which should remind people to read things before they sign them.
Snopes.com says these posts started circulating a few years ago. So it’s not clear why they have started to resurface now.
Here is a partial text version of a post supposedly taking a user’s copyright back from Facebook:
“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 [sic] 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)."
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