Changes to Facebook’s TOS have caused controversy online after rights to anything published on Facebook were extended to even where the profile was shut down.
Mashable has details here, but I don’t find the change all that disturbing. What is disturbing is the terms of the TOS to begin with. It reads:
You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.
Whether it’s when your using Facebook now, or leaving later is semantics. Facebook gets a blank check to use your content however they see fit. Big brother implications for sure, but consider the blogging angle.
I’m told some applications don’t do this, but the standard Facebook “add your blog” tool doesn’t just offer links to your blog, it republishes the full content on Facebook itself. When it hits Facebook, they can do with it what they like.
Facebook is looking at creating new revenue streams. What if they decided to resell your content? They can, by uploading it to the site, you’ve given them the right to do so.
Far fetched? Maybe, but it should be noted that such oppressive conditions in a TOS aren’t always typical. Take for example the TOS for Picasa (via Rizzn)
9.4 Other than the limited license set forth in Section 11, Google acknowledges and agrees that it obtains no right, title or interest from you (or your licensors) under these Terms in or to any Content that you submit, post, transmit or display on, or through, the Services, including any intellectual property rights which subsist in that Content (whether those rights happen to be registered or not, and wherever in the world those rights may exist). Unless you have agreed otherwise in writing with Google, you agree that you are responsible for protecting and enforcing those rights and that Google has no obligation to do so on your behalf.
Sound a bit more friendly?
I’m not suggesting that anyone should stop using Facebook, but if you blog for profit, and you care about commercial rights to your content, you’re at risk uploading it to Facebook.