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Posting copyrights in your Facebook status does nothing

Here’s why you need to read the full legal text before you sign up for a service.

Can I come to your house and tell you what to do?

This seems to trend every few months on Facebook, people copying and pasting some copyright message in their statuses. Unfortunately, this status will offer absolutely no legal protection for content that you post. You are bound by the terms of service agreed upon by your own accord when signing up. Let me pose a question, can I come to your house and tell you what to do? Assuredly not; I would expect to follow the rules of your house.

If you really want to protect your photos, add a watermark to them. To be honest, I have yet to see proof of Facebook directly selling your photos to a third party. Keep note that public photos are available to the public (right-click, download) and that you may have granted third party apps which you’ve installed permissions to access your content. If you are really concerned about certain content being acquired by a third party, maybe it shouldn’t be on Facebook in the first place.

That said, Facebook isn’t the big evil corporation that these stupid propaganda messages being propagated by herd mentality are trying to stipulate; the Terms of Service are actually quite reasonable and easy to understand. Similarly as all the bogus Facebook security hysteria, how your info is made available to 3rd parties boils down mostly to your privacy settings, or lack of such.

Now I’m not going to copy & paste from the FB terms and discuss because those terms may change and then I’ll have egg on my face so instead I am going to provide links to the resources and urge you to take a look at them. They actually are quite informative, not only clarifying what the Terms of Service mean but also offering tips on how to set up your privacy policies to suit your needs.

First, you should be acquainted with the Legal Terms that you’ve agreed to by creating your Facebook account. Then you should peruse their Data Use Policy to understand which parts of your data are public domain and how it is used.

And now for something from the satire department, I have also seen this one going around.

For commercial use of my photos, etchings, relationship status and Farmville score, my written consent is needed at all times.

The content of this profile is private and confidential information. That’s why I put it on Facebook—for privacy.

Facebook is now an open capital entity. It used to be a private entity, which was better for me I don’t know how. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing Facebook to commercialize your information. You may have explicitly allowed Facebook to commercialize your information when you joined Facebook, but that was a really long form so I don’t know.Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. I know that I just prohibited you from copying me, but whatever, work it out guys.

Posting this notice to your Facebook Wall will place you under protection of copyright laws. Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice.

-Jesse Brown