Copyright and Facebook

Did a friend(s) re-post a bit of text about reclaiming copyright to anything posted on Facebook because the site changed its terms of use? Yeah, that. Inevitably there’s the backlash, as others post the corrective debunking.

It uses lots of big, legal-sounding words and cites things like the Rome Statute, UCC Section 1-308, and the “Berner Convention” (presumably a misspelling of the Berne Convention), but that doesn’t give it any more legitimacy than it had the last time it made the rounds, in June. Here’s with more:

Facebook users cannot retroactively negate any of the privacy or copyright terms they agreed to when they signed up for their Facebook accounts nor can they unilaterally alter or contradict any new privacy or copyright terms instituted by Facebook simply by posting a contrary legal notice on their Facebook walls.

And from Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities: “[Y]ou retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a license to use and display that content.”

The whole thing sounded off to me, but some of the people posting it were major artists whose feeds I follow, lending it an extra layer of plausibility. It’s not as though there have not been concerns over Facebook’s claims to material posted by users. But how do we know what’s real and what’s bogus online? Sites like provide some level of fact checking, but they do not address every myth running around online.
To get a stronger sense of the layout, what you can lose (in terms of rights) and what you can use, here are some titles in the stacks.

Artists, technology & the ownership of creative content : creative control in the digital age : scenarios for the future – KF3024.C6 A97 2003

Permissions, a survival guide : blunt talk about art as intellectual property / Susan M. Bielstein – KF3050 .B54 2006

The Public domain : how to find & use copyright-free writings, music, art & more / by Stephen Fishman. – KF3022.Z9 F57 2006

Remix : making art and commerce thrive in the hybrid economy / Lawrence Lessig. – KF3020 .L47 2009

The anarchist in the library : how the clash between freedom and control is hacking the real world and crashing the system / Siva Vaidhyanathan – T58.5 .V35 2005

Image ethics in the digital age / Larry Gross, John Stuart Katz, and Jay Ruby, editors – PN6728.P54 S68 2001

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