Monday, February 16, 2009

A Lawyer Explains Facebook's Revised Terms of Use

What Facebook's revised terms of use mean for your content | Jacobson Attorneys: the new media law firm:
"The license which you, as a Facebook user, grant to Facebook is very broad and it covers not just your content on Facebook but content you may have linked to from outside Facebook. What the terms don't do is grant ownership but the license is so broad Facebook may as well own your content. What alarms me the most is that Facebook takes a license to the content you may only link to on Facebook and don't upload to the service. This covers photos you may have stored on Flickr, videos on Zoopy or Vimeo and more. This virtual land grab makes these terms of use a particularly invasive set of permissions."
This is scary.

I've started disabling all auto-posting to Facebook, will think twice about uploading content, and probably won't post there.

What do you think?

Update 2/18:

From MAshable, Facebook Reverts to Previous Terms of Service.


  1. I have avoided Facebook for a long time because I thought their terms were already onerous. I have no idea if anyone is linking to any of my content outside Facebook, but if they do I assume Facebook will try to copy it now. I've been considering DMCA takedown notices against them, though so far as I know only my wife has posted my stuff there, and she probably wouldn't appreciate that.

    Basically, I think Facebook is evil and should be avoided.

  2. Scary, and interesting. I'd be curious to know if they claim ownership if someone else links to your content. What if someone links to Does this mean that Facebook essentially owns the government website?

    Seriously, if that is the case, it's going to be challenged in a hurry. In a way, I can understand the content thing, but links? You've got to be kidding me...

  3. Anonymous10:17 AM

    Check out Facebook this morning if you have a chance. There's a big notice up saying that due to public outcry, FB is returning to the old Terms of Use.

    Kudos to all of the FB'ers who fought the ToU revision!

  4. Yeah, but it should serve as a warning to you not to entrust your personal information to a company like Facebook. This isn't the first time they've had to backtrack, and it won't be the last.

    They make a habit of pushing boundaries.