Facebook Terms of Use & Points to Ponder

facebook revised their ToS recently in the month of feb and since then, there are lot of voices raising concerns against some of the clauses in the ToS. i finally couldn’t resist the temptation and finally gave up my lethargy and read thru the entire ToS.

basically the section which is earning the ire of the users on the net relates to what facebook can do with the content uploaded by the facebook users, even after u close an account with them.

here is a copy from the facebook ToS (link – http://www.facebook.com/terms.php)

“Licenses

You are solely responsible for the User Content that you Post on or through the Facebook Service. 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. “

on the point of termination, it states:-

“Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service

We may terminate your account on the Facebook Service, delete your profile and any User Content you have Posted on or through the Facebook Service, and/or prohibit you from using or accessing the Facebook Service (or any portion thereof) for any or no reason, at any time in our sole discretion, with or without notice. Further, we reserve the right to change any aspect or feature of the Facebook Service at any time without notice. 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.”

i am not sure how many existing or new facebook users read the ToS and realize the implication of the same.

the photographs, messages or any content that anyone with a facebook posts on facebook will be owned by facebook for times to come and it can end up in servers outside of facebook control and nothing can be done to prevent them from doing so.  i hope facebook does enough due-dilligence in selecting their partners but u can never be sure if its foolproof.

also since almost anyone can post anyone’s picture on their account and it may end up on some weird website and you as a grieved party, can’t stop either facebook or that site from using the content from using it in a way they please even if they decide to edit or modify or create the so called “derivative” works.

one line that i read on someone blog describes it the best – it’s another reminder that what you do on the Internet is probably permanent, and much of it, probably outside your control

few links that i found that discuss this issue in detail:

 http://consumerist.com/5150175/facebooks-new-terms-of-service-we-can-do-anything-we-want-with-your-content-forever

http://www.legalandrew.com/2007/07/21/facebook-and-the-law-8-things-to-know/

mark zuckerberg’s@facebook response to the ToS related issues:

http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=54434097130

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One Response

  1. It makes no sense that Facebook would risk messing up a good thing by edging in on people’s intellectual property. They had people’s trust and then they go and risk losing it; not smart.

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