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« on: February 18, 2009, 02:08:33 PM »

This popped up on the The Online Photographer site:

"Photogs Flee Facebook

A press firestorm has been unleashed in the wake of's outing of a new policy by the social networking site Facebook. According to the site's new terms of use, anything you post on Facebook is owned by Facebook in perpetuity, even after you cancel your Facebook account.

Would such a claim hold up in court? "Yep!" says, which emphasizes in no uncertain terms: photographers should not post their work on Facebook!

Spread the word."

This has apparently been retracted, at least for now.

Facebook spokesperson Barry Schnitt:

    "Hi everyone,

    First, I want to apologize for the delay in response. It's been a long day with lots of interesting and constructive discussions. Second, I want to thank you for your questions and concerns. As Mark expressed in his blog post on Monday, it was never our intention to confuse people or make them uneasy about sharing on Facebook. I also want to be very clear that Facebook does not, nor have we ever, claimed ownership over people's content. Your content belongs to you.

    We do need certain licenses in order to facilitate the sharing of your content through our service. That's where the Terms of Use come in. The fact that you've raised the questions you have is proof that we haven't done a good job explaining these licenses in the actual language of the document. In fact, as we were working to answer your questions, we realized the new version of the Terms might technically permit some of the hypothetical situations people have offered. I can assure you, however, that these hypotheticals aren't ones we had in mind when writing the Terms, and that selling user information for profit or using it to advertise Facebook in some way was never part of our original intent. Assurances aren't enough, though, and we plan to codify this in our revised Terms through simple language that defines Facebook's rights much more specifically.

    In the meantime, we've decided to revert to the old Terms as we work to address this. Mark has explained this in more detail in another blog post (, and we've created a group where people can provide input ( We hope you'll join this group and post comments. We promise to use these comments to help construct a new Terms of Use that reflects the principles around how people share and control their information, and that's written clearly in language everyone can understand.

    I hope you don't think your participation in this discussion was a waste of time. Honestly, your questions were very helpful to us in arriving at what we believe is the right decision. Also, I think your questions will continue to be useful as we're crafting a new Terms.

    Again, thanks for the fruitful discussion and a special thanks to Anne Katherine and Julius for setting up this feedback forum. We hope you'll all join our "Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" ( ) group and continue discussing these issues there."

CEO Zuckerberg's blog post:

    "A couple of weeks ago, we revised our terms of use hoping to clarify some parts for our users. Over the past couple of days, we received a lot of questions and comments about the changes and what they mean for people and their information. Based on this feedback, we have decided to return to our previous terms of use while we resolve the issues that people have raised.

    Many of us at Facebook spent most of today discussing how best to move forward. One approach would have been to quickly amend the new terms with new language to clarify our positions further. Another approach was simply to revert to our old terms while we begin working on our next version. As we thought through this, we reached out to respected organizations to get their input.

    Going forward, we've decided to take a new approach towards developing our terms. We concluded that returning to our previous terms was the right thing for now. As I said yesterday, we think that a lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective so we don't plan to leave it there for long.

    More than 175 million people use Facebook. If it were a country, it would be the sixth most populated country in the world. Our terms aren't just a document that protect our rights; it's the governing document for how the service is used by everyone across the world. Given its importance, we need to make sure the terms reflect the principles and values of the people using the service.

    Our next version will be a substantial revision from where we are now. It will reflect the principles I described yesterday around how people share and control their information, and it will be written clearly in language everyone can understand. Since this will be the governing document that we'll all live by, Facebook users will have a lot of input in crafting these terms.

    You have my commitment that we'll do all of these things, but in order to do them right it will take a little bit of time. We expect to complete this in the next few weeks. In the meantime, we've changed the terms back to what existed before the February 4th change, which was what most people asked us for and was the recommendation of the outside experts we consulted.

    If you'd like to get involved in crafting our new terms, you can start posting your questions, comments and requests in the group we've created-Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities. I'm looking forward to reading your input.

Initially, Zuckerberg responded by saying, "In reality, we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want." As we all know, there's reality, and then there's lawyers. His "philoshopy" was benign, but was not reflected in the legal language. It's good to see it now will be, and that Facebook has made clear their intent to move towards a policy that more explicitly safeguards the copyrights and privacies of its users."

[Facebook Terms of Use]
« Last Edit: February 18, 2009, 02:09:35 PM by wolfnowl »
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2009, 12:08:35 AM »

I too have a facebook account, used as a method to keep contact with my close friends... but also to show them photos as I take them. I never really used any of the other functions, but that move has really shocked me, and then the response of "in reality we'd never..." I'm sure the guy is nice enough and means well, but as you said, there's your reality and then there's Lawyer reality.
I won't ever upload another photo to facebook, without serious consideration. The resolution will be significantly lower then previously, and everything will be horidly watermarked to prevent any chance of further use.


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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2009, 07:50:43 AM »

Facebook was not a major avenue to display my work, but I have nonetheless withdrawn all my "serious" images from FB 2 days ago.

It is just not worth the risk.

I might post some friends pics still, but nothing I could consider selling one day.

A few images online here!


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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2009, 01:58:36 AM »

Silicon Valley News says Facebook has reverted to the "old policy" for now, until they come up with something better.
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