Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Trouble with Facebook

I'm still not sure about the whole Facebook thing, but this is a video that makes me think twice about the whole endeavour.

One of the interesting legal issues raised is indeed correct (read the terms of use). By posting on Facebook you are granting the company:

"By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. 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."
The "get out clause" is of course to close the account, but they will retain copies of the content nonetheless. I must not be the only person who finds this troubling.

Furthermore, here is a funny legal conundrum for you. According to the above, I'm granting Facebook a licence to use the work because all of my posts from my blog are sent to Facebook, but my blog is published under a Creative Commons licence. Which prevails?


Mike Linksvayer said...

Conundrum? Presumably your non-exclusive NC license does not apply to Facebook, so obviously their ToS. However, IANAL and am probably missing something.

I do have a question about the terms you've quoted above -- you're granting a perpetual license, which if you close your account expires. How does that make any sense? (Probably obvious, but remember that IANAL :) )

The more troubling thing for me as a user is "represent and warrant that you have the right to grant" part. Nevermind Facebook exploiting my content, I've just taken on a big risk for them, no?

pangloss said...

Haven't watched te video yet but I've sen similar alarmist posts about the T a c of eg YouTube and I tend to think it's all rather less than worrying.

First the license is non exclusive so there's no clash - you can still license your content to others as you please (unless you want to give exclusive rights which I seem to recall CC doesn't support anyway?)

Second the license claimed is ONLY "for any purpose on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof".

Since the contract is gratuitous ie FB is paying you nothing, this would be interpreted restrictively; I would argue they are doing nothing more than allowing themself the rigt to use FB content to promote/describe the site. Not, eg, to make money by publishing "The Best of facebook". :-)

As for your correspondent below; since FB gives you the use of its facilities for free, it seems pretty reasonable to me for them to seek warranties against the risk of YOU posting copyrigt infringing material and dumping them in it! Of course the DMCA migt protect them, but till Viacom v YT gets settled, who knows..

Andres Guadamuz said...

I just noticed that their terms and conditions do not make sense! Indeed, it cannot be perpetual if taking down the content terminates the licence.

I believe that the CC licence prevails and trumps their grant. I also think that such grant may be unfair in Europe.

Anonymous said...

I suspect it's a multiple licensing thing. There's no reason you can't make your work available under multiple licenses at once.