Tourist Sunrise

What’s the Facebook Copyright Notice Hoax?

With the sun slowly rising in the east to start a new day, this lonely booth is waiting for the typical daily beach crowd to come and rent their water toys. This shot reminds me of being on vacation, and part of the fun of vacation is being able to post pictures on Facebook to rub my friends nose… err, I mean share my experiences with them.

Truthfully, I have a lot of friends who post all sorts of pictures to Facebook. Usually, these shots are of a sentimental nature and not a financial one. Most typical vacation or family shots have absolutely no monetary value outside a close group of family and friends. Uncle George losing his dentures eating corn on the cob at the family picnic makes great family gossip, but there is little to any danger that it will sell at an art function.

However, about every 6 months or so I receive a new email from those friends warning me to put up a copyright notification letter on my Facebook page to protect myself from the corporate giant stealing my photos. My friends do mean well and I’m thrilled they think of my art and me when they see this letter, but they needn’t worry.   The letter reads:

“Due to the fact that Facebook has chosen to involve software that will allow the theft of my personal information, I state: at this date of November 27, 2014, in response to the new guidelines of Facebook, pursuant to articles L.111, 112 and 113 of the code of intellectual property, I declare that my rights are attached to all my personal data drawings, paintings, photos, video, texts etc.... published on my profile and my page. For commercial use of the foregoing my written consent is required at all times. 
 Those who read this text can do a copy/paste on their Facebook wall. This will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright. By this statement, I tell Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, broadcast, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and or its content. The actions mentioned above also apply to employees, students, agents and or other personnel under the direction of Facebook. 
 The content of my profile contains private information. The violation of my privacy is punishable by law (UCC 1-308 1-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).
 Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are invited to publish a notice of this kind, or if they prefer, you can copy and paste this version.
 If you have not published this statement at least once, you tacitly allow the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in the profile update.”

That letter they are finding in their email box and sending my way, with good intentions, is merely a chain letter. if you were to follow those instructions nothing would happen.  Facebook can and will simply ignore it if they want to. You see, by using your account on Facebook, you’ve already legally permitted them to use any data you supply them. That’s right, you already gave them permission because of their terms of service.

No fear though, by copyright laws you still own the pictures. However, you automatically allow Facebook to use those pictures for free simply because you posted them on Facebook. How could they use them? Well, Facebook could look at Uncle George in the picture and decide to sell information to the dentures paste manufactures, dentures companies, or even dentists.   They also might be used in an ad campaign for Facebook featuring cobs of corn and broken dentures, but I seriously doubt it.

So why on earth would I, as an art business, bother posting my pictures to Facebook if they could use them without paying me anything?   Visit our post next Monday and I’ll let you in on a few tips.

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