2.16.2009

No thanks, Facebook

I've always been apprehensive to join the commotion at Facebook. I can't explain it - it started as thinking the applications were annoying, and went further to feeling that the interface was boring and had little use. Finally, it seemed the only people I was connecting with were old high school peers, who I really don't care to share my life with. I started uploading my Flickr stream, and thought I'd use Facebook as just another Online Reputation Management tool for myself, posting little information aside from work/career based content.

But now, I am done. As of today, all content is erased from my profile. And it's because of this.
Excerpt:

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.

Facebook is stating that they can take anything you put on your profile for themselves, modifying it in any way to sublicense or make money off of however they like, even after you delete it and your profile. We already knew that Facebook's applications were harvesting our personal data, but this change in TOS now means that anything shown on a Facebook page is theirs, forever. That includes personal information, text, photos including any and all uploads from any mobile device or other service that feeds to Facebook, or any other imaginable intellectual property or liability you chose to post.

For me, this means that any photos I post as a professional photographer do not belong to me. They belong to Facebook. If I watermark the photos I post, which I do, Facebook can edit/modify them to disinclude the watermark. As a musician, it means that any music I post belongs to Facebook to use, or license to someone else, freely and without my permission. For those of you who are parents and post photos of your children, Facebook can take those photos and license them to Gerber or Disney for use without your permission.

Please, interject here if this sounds AT ALL ACCEPTABLE.

As a member of the vast community that is social networking, I have taken the time to understand that anything I post online could be at risk for theft, and I understand that certain services do retain certain rights for stuff I share through it's platform. That being said, Facebook's decision to retain any and all rights to any intellectual property shared on it's site even after the User Agreement has been terminated is utterly demonic. That service, which already shares too much personal information, has now become a black hole for artists and those who create - even if it's just family photos. You never know where something of yours might turn up. It's like signing away your soul.

I urge you to join me and Taylor in going blank on Facebook. Some of the damage has already been done, but we're choosing to shut off the valve now.

And if you decide you want to continue as you always have, please think before you mindlessly share your work or your personal information. If you create something, do not give it away for free. Do not think it is normal or necessary for any company to take what is yours without your permission or without compensation.

ADDENDUM:

Un be-f*cking-lievable. I just got this new and amazing blog and had to add it to this post.

Facebook terms of service compared with MySpace, Flickr, Picasa, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Twitter


She does a great breakdown of other social networking sites Myspace, Flickr, Blogger, etc. and the TOS they use. Specifically, none of these sites claims any ownership of intellectual content posted to their platform. While some claim licensibility in some form, all contracts end when a user removes content or deletes their profile.

I might throw up now.

2 people's thoughts:

Gianna February 16, 2009 at 4:36 PM  

I don't post anything I give a crap about on facebook so I don't care...

but I'm glad to know about this so that I'll NOT post original writing etc...

thanks.

and I'll also post the TOS you cut and pasted on facebook to warn others...

Brand4profit February 17, 2009 at 2:54 AM  
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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