Facebook has altered its terms of service and the wording indicates that it will now own all of the content people post – in perpetuity. The change has generated a lot of disgruntled comments on Twitter and in the blogosphere here and here. And it’s easy to understand why.
I’m not a big Facebook user but I think that signing away all rights to your ‘friends’, photos, ideas, thoughts and intellectual property is probably not a smart idea. That said, I won’t be cancelling my account anytime soon and I’m sure many people will feel the same.
After all, Facebook is a wonderful platform to connect with people, chat with them, share moments of your life.
Mark Zuckerberg defends his position on the Facebook blog. Trust us, he says. We’re good people. And I have no reason to believe otherwise, except for the fact that as a CEO he needs to protect his company’s rights.
But, as individuals, we have our rights to think about, too.
I wonder about the ramifications for businesses and organizations with FB groups which have their own sets of copyright and intellectual property rules (not to mention lawyers) to contend with. That should make for a good long legal debate.
I can’t begin to speculate on the answer.
But it seems to me there’s a difference between sharing and a giveaway. And, however, mundane, I don’t want my life’s minutiae assigned to someone else (that sounds a bit like an Albert Brooks comedy plot).
To me, this IP grab is like visiting a store and having the retailer ask you to hand over all your personal belongings when you leave.
It will be interesting to watch how Facebook deals with the fallout, what the outcome will be and how it will affect all of us in the long run.