Opening Your Door to a Thief


Recently, many folks have put up on their Facebook walls language allegedly designed to prevent Facebook from using the content they post. Often a friend will post a comment pointing out that such language will not work — it is a scam — Facebook still owns all your content and can sell it to anyone.

Perhaps I delude myself to think that my words and photos are worthy of protection — so be it. In light of that potential delusion, I considered myself clever not to post my photos on my Facebook page, but rather to post links to my own personal websites on which websites I shared some of my photos. But was I clever enough to stymie the Facebook rights grab?

The following portion of Facebook’s terms of service is instructive as I consider that question: “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).” The key clause, I think is “in connection with.” Other bloggers have scratched their heads, wondering what that might mean, but I have an idea as to what it might mean and how it might impact my “clever” strategy.

By posting a link to the websites that contain my photos, notwithstanding that I have exclusive ownership of those sites, perhaps I have made a post that is “in connection with” Facebook, thereby opening a gateway to grant Facebook all rights to the photos I post on my own websites.

With that in mind, I have deleted the links to my personal websites from my Facebook wall. Again, I may be deluding myself that my content is worthy of protecting, but I am taking steps to protect it nevertheless.

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