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Facebook's new "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities"

9:16 pm on Apr 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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I just noticed that Facebook is having an online vote for their new "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities" and "Facebook Principles", that is kind of being rushed through the users, with voting starting on the 16 and ending tomorrow the 23 (only a week).

Here is something that strikes me from the "Statement of Rights and Responsibilities":

2. Sharing Your Content and Information

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how we share your content through your privacy and application settings. In order for us to use certain types of content and provide you with Facebook, you agree to the following:

2.1 For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application 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 (except to the extent your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it).
2.2 When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
2.3 We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them(just as you have no obligation to offer them).

First, what does "except to the extent your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it" mean? I thought that sharing content is pretty much everything that Facebook does! Basically, if I create a photo gallery of my art, and someone comments on one of my pieces, does that make the piece "shared" and this it will remain on Facebook until the other person "deletes" what? Their comment, making the image not shared anymore? Very fishy IMHO.

Second, what does the whole 2.3 point mean, it feels like it was written by an intern: "to compensate" for what? For feedback or suggestions about Facebook? How does that relate to the section it's in: "2. Sharing Your Content and Information". Are they trying to say that if I give them a good idea on what to do on Facebook functionality wise, they don't have to compensate me? If that is the case, then that point is in the wrong section.

Finally, here is an answer Facebook has give about the "transferable" point of the license we grant them:

Why does Facebook need permission to sublicense or transfer content to a third party?

We couldn’t enable lots of functionality on Facebook if you didn’t give us permission to sublicense or transfer content to third parties. For example, in order to view content on your mobile phone we may need to transfer that content to your mobile carrier and give them a sublicense so they can show it to you.

To me this is either a mistake made by the people on Facebook or a lie. Point: when you upload your art on your site, you never grant a sublicense to the telecom operator that provides the Internet connection to people that visit your gallery. There is no need for that because the carriers simply transfer the information back and forth. So their example with the mobile operator is not true.

11:32 pm on Apr 22, 2009 (gmt 0)

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joined:Aug 11, 2008
votes: 0

Hugene, you have excellently cornered the essence of the issue into a small enough area for all of us to examine.

Your focusing on the issue of "shared-content" from a service who's purpose is to "share content", is very interesting and stimulating.

I think I shall eat a dry cracker and have a sip of water.


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