Monday, February 16, 2009


Imagine for a moment you have the next great idea. The perfect mousetrap or... whatever. In your excitement you get on the phone and tell your friend about it. The next day your patent request comes back denied. Why? Because the phone company claims to have the right to your creation simply because you used their lines to communicate your brilliance to others. Sound stupid doesn't it? Yet Facebook's most recent 'update' of their terms of service is the most egregious example of this powergrab that I can think of. According to Facebook, anything you post on Facebook belongs to Facebook. In perpetuity. Which is tantamount to the phone company claiming they own your mousetrap idea. Telephone Companies, ISP's, Social Networking Sites such as FB, blog providers such as this one, et al are welcome to claim rights to their creations. You guys can have the right to every line of code that you write, every word on your help menus, and anything else you create. But you're not the creator of the words on your members' blog; you are the avenue of transmission. I post very little on Facebook anyway. It's a place for me to communicate with my friends and answer the many silly quizzes and other nonsense that crosses my desk on a daily basis. But even so, if Facebook thinks they can claim credit or rights to those words I wrote prior to this 'update' of their TOS or even any rights now... they should be prepared for a fight. I'm going to go over and delete every note I've ever posted there since the inception of my account. Everything posted over there was done so under the terms of the previous TOS. I did not and do not relinquish rights in perpetuity to the phone company for their 'greatest hits' compilation of telephone calls. Nor will I do so for Facebook or any other place I have ever posted anything on the internet. To coin a phrase from the NRA: you can have my uncompensated rights when you pry them from my cold dead fingers... and not even then if my literary executor has anything to say about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Pages to Type is a blog about books, writing and literary culture (with the occasional digression into coffee and the care and feeding of giant robots).