What exactly can Facebook do with your pictures?Posted: Updated:
By Jennifer Thomas
PHOENIX -- Facebook is seeing another round of "privacy declarations" by users who copy and paste a statement intended to protect the privacy of photographs and other intellectual property posted on the site.
These posts come after Facebook announced proposed changes to its current policies Nov. 21. The changes would include a new Statement of Rights and Responsibilities and the end of user voting on policy change.
Users seem to be responding to the proposed changes by cutting and pasting a message that says, in part, "In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, crafts, professional photos and videos, etc."
"Those disclaimers have no legal effect," said Phoenix intellectual property and social media attorney Ruth Carter. "It does not change the terms of service you are bound by in using the site."
Those terms of service, already in effect, are available on Facebook’s home page, and include a laundry list of legal jargon. Everyone who has a Facebook profile has agreed to the terms and conditions, and an after-the-fact disclaimer does not void those terms.
The website’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities section includes the following statement:
"…you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and applications settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it."
Carter said this means that although you own what you post, Facebook theoretically has the freedom to use it.
"You have no expectation of privacy in what you post online," she said. "Assume that whatever you put out there, regardless of what your privacy settings are, that eventually your best friend, your worst enemy, your boss, and your mother are going to see it."
The proposed changes to Facebook’s policies probably won’t change much in terms of privacy, given the already broad freedoms users grant to the company when they create a profile.
Facebook did not immediately respond to 3TV’s request for an interview, but a spokesperson released a statement Tuesday.
"Anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content they post, as stated in our terms."