Misguided Intent + Laywers = Social Media Disaster

facebook_house.jpg

Didn't we just go though this with Google or something? Facebook's TOS has been revised to state, basically, they own all your content forever and ever and they can do anything they want with it forever and ever. From the TOS:

"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."

and this was just added...

"You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content."

Ouch. Say it ain't so, Facebook. Where did this sudden need to own everyone's personal information come from? Oh let me guess...a lawyer?

UPDATE: Mark Zuckerberg, in response to the outcry over the recent TOS changes, clarifies things bit. And he makes some very logical points regarding the change.

by Steve Hall    Feb-16-09   Comments (17)   
Topic: Policy, Social, Worst
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Comments

The expiration of the license upon removal has been removed from the TOS.
http://tinyurl.com/ca4r2l
This makes for a very dangerous situation that will bring on some major legal issues. This is especially problematic because we were not informed of this change in a reasonable amount of time so that we may opt-out if we wanted.

-Joshua
@joshualogan

Posted by: Joshua Seideman on February 16, 2009 2:19 PM

I agree, they'd better make everyone RE-AGREE to these new TOS or ppl will sue if they do this retroactively.

Posted by: antje wilsch on February 16, 2009 2:24 PM

Way too many lawyers with no business and nothing better to do. Go back to being barflies and stick with the DUI crowd, it suits.

Posted by: fred on February 16, 2009 2:38 PM

Tell me why this is necessary, and what they plan to do about users who agreed to the original TOS so long ago. I just don't understand.

Posted by: Heather B. on February 16, 2009 2:59 PM

I'd like to know what exactly their intent is. I don't speak lawyer, but it sounds to me like their TOS gives them the right to steal your very identity.

Posted by: Jaymi on February 16, 2009 2:59 PM

Is the mass exodus about to begin?

Posted by: Jennifer Roland on February 16, 2009 3:02 PM

You would think that after a $65 million in cash and stock options settlement, Facebook would realize that you cannot own other's stuff just because they say.

Posted by: RIchard Becker on February 16, 2009 3:11 PM

Their TOS have always been similarly heavy handed, but the removal of the "removal clause" was unthinkable. Without notifying users of the TOS change, that has to at least violate ethics if not actual law regarding disclosure, considering the material nature of this change.

This topic has had a lot of interest within Facebook and has been written about previously, but I have to imagine that a new round of fire is about to burn under them and they will have to deal with a revise the TOS accordingly.

Didn;t they learn from Beacon?

Posted by: Jason Heller on February 16, 2009 3:17 PM

Worst part to me: fine print now sez FB owns anything you publish elsewhere if you "post" or publicize it on FB. An awful lot of writers and bloggers publicize their work on FB, either via the "post" function or in status updates -- so the sites that actually own that content (including NYT, Politico, Kos, HuffPost) should be sending cease-and-desist letters to FB.

Posted by: M.S. Bellows, Jr. on February 16, 2009 3:22 PM

this has everything to do with Facebook Connect....note the "on or in connection with the Facebook Service"....essentially this lays the foundation for granting data access and usage to 3rd party Facebook Connect-enabled sites.

I wrote a post a while ago on Mashable about FBC creating a revenue model for Facebook, and this new TOS basically lays the groundwork for said postulated revenue model.

The basic idea is that FBC-enabled sites would pay Facebook for the data feed (hence the liscencing) to be able to store user data (and not just access it as per the terms of FBC right now), and leverage it in site experience models, etc....

http://mashable.com/2008/11/19/facebook-marketing/#comments

Posted by: alisa leonard-hansen on February 16, 2009 3:27 PM

Wow, bad bad idea. They're definitely facing a backlash against this when the word gets out from the bloggeratti to the general FB population.

Posted by: Axcel on February 16, 2009 3:30 PM

just want to clarify the above comment...no, I'm not suggesting that FB would start charging for sites to build apps using the Facebook Connect API...not in the least. What I am suggesting is that right now 3rd party sites can only ACCESS FB user data, not STORE that data. The fee would be for storing user data. Basically, this appears to lay the groundwork for FB to potentially sell user data.

Posted by: alisa leonard-hansen on February 16, 2009 3:31 PM

I have to say, "What are we really upset about here?" You put something on the Internet and it's gone. End of story. It belongs to EVERYBODY who wants to clip that image or steal that thought. I'm not saying we give up rights, but we do have to accept that the Internet is not a safe place for copyright. And if FaceBook wants the freedom to use your content in promotions in exchange for their free services, fine. As long as they don't keep me from using my own content elsewhere, I'm fine with this.

As for the argument that they "own" stuff you promote on the site, that's just plain ludicrous. Even the most liberal interpretation of this can't see that as an enforceable clause.

Stuff like this seems a lot more scary than it is. Lawyers write this stuff with lawsuits in mind, not business objectives.

Posted by: Bob Knorpp on February 16, 2009 4:24 PM

There was a new Facebook group created this morning,People Against the new Terms of Service (TOS). It has over 5,000 members already and will no doubt continue to grow. Love when people use Facebook to speak out against it.

Posted by: Allie on February 16, 2009 4:56 PM

I hope ALL authors take this very seriously. They cannot post chapters and reprints of their books on Facebook! They lose all rights! That seems a shame, tons of great authors use Facebook to promote the conversation of their books. Guess they will just be posting links. Wait, that sounds a lot like this little site I am on called, twitter...

Renee
Ijustfinished.com

Posted by: Renee Giroux on February 16, 2009 11:17 PM

Well I had no idea I just opend a facebook account so I could get in contact with old friends. I will be sure that i do not put anything up that can compromise my image as a person. That means no addresses like all these stupid little kids do right down to where their house is and what room they sleep in.

any one can find anything out about you if you post images and such on the internet be carefull with what you put up and be careful of the pics and films that are put by ur friends. Such as half naked with a beer bottle in each hand, you do not want your employer to see that.

Posted by: steve on February 17, 2009 12:24 AM

Well I had no idea I just opend a facebook account so I could get in contact with old friends. I will be sure that i do not put anything up that can compromise my image as a person. That means no addresses like all these stupid little kids do right down to where their house is and what room they sleep in.

any one can find anything out about you if you post images and such on the internet be carefull with what you put up and be careful of the pics and films that are put by ur friends. Such as half naked with a beer bottle in each hand, you do not want your employer to see that.

Posted by: steve on February 17, 2009 12:24 AM

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