They’re Back: Hoax Status Updates Claiming Copyright to Intellectual Property on Facebook

By David Cohen 

IHearbyDeclare650We at hereby declare that the status updates many Facebook users are seeing in their News Feeds by fellow users declaring their personal details off-limits to Facebook are utterly and completely meaningless.

Similar misguided status updates went viral in November 2012 and June 2012, following Facebook’s announcement of potential changes to its data use policy and statement of rights and responsibilities and its initial public offering, respectively.

Gawker shared the latest version of the bogus status updates, as well as reasons why they are useless. The status updates being shared read as follows (unedited):

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. (as a result of the Berner Convention).

For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws.)

By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook’s direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates.

Gawker pointed out the following errors in this status update:

  • Facebook already acknowledges in its Help Center and statement of rights and responsibilities that users’ copyrights are attached to intellectual property that they post to the social network: “You retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a license to use and display that content.”
  • The Berne Convention (not Berner Convention) mandates that copyrights are automatic, rendering this status update useless.
  • Written consent is not required, as users agree to allow Facebook to use their intellectual property when they sign up for the social network, according to its statement of rights and responsibilities: “You grant us a nonexclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).”
  • Facebook being a publicly traded stock has no bearing whatsoever on its copyright and privacy policies.

Readers: Have you seen similar status updates in your News Feeds?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.