All your copyright are belong to Facebook

Sorry Charlie, you can't keep Facebook from sharing your stuff by posting a copyright notice to your wall. All it will do is annoy friends who know better.

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You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. …For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: 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). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

The money phrase in that statement is “in connection with Facebook.”

Those terms do not mean that Facebook can take that brilliant photo of a sleeping cat that you’ve instagrammed and turn it into $20 posters to adorn the walls of 13 year old girls. They mean simply that the social network can share your cat photo with all of your friends and/or the rest of Planet Facebook, if you’ve set sharing to “Public.”

Has Facebook overstepped in its use of “our” stuff? Absolutely – particularly in the use of people’s names and faces in advertisements (aka “sponsored stories”). Facebook settled a California law suit regarding such endorsements last year for a piddling sum of $10 million to be donated to charity. That settlement was rejected by a Federal judge last August. Facebook has countered with a $30 million settlement offer, with $20 million slated to go to folks who unknowingly found their names and faces attached to ads without their permission.

You can also tell Facebook to sod off and not use your name in social ads, if you choose. But you’ll have to do it by changing your privacy settings, not by posting a statement to your wall. All the latter will do is earn you grief from friends that know better.

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