On Monday morning, I noticed a few posts on my Facebook newsfeed that were a bit bizarre. All of the posts in question were the same and read as follows.
In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, crafts, professional photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times! (Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws.) By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook's direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute). Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates...
But alas, users might be well advised to realize that putting this entry up on one's Facebook wall offers no protection to Facebook's own copyright claims over users' posts. The fact of the matter is that by merely signing up for Facebook in the first place you agree to their terms and services, which includes their copyright ownership over your postings.
That pertinent portion of that agreement reads in part: "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)."
So again, no Facebook user can become impervious to the aforementioned clause by merely posting a status update. The law just doesn't work that way, folks.
As is often the case, when you get a service for free, odds are that YOU are the product being marketed. And it really shouldn't come as much of a surprise to anyone, either. After all, it's how Google operates as well. For all of its foibles, Facebook is a great, free service that brings people together. If you're really concerned with Facebook owning the IP to your witty status updates or photos, you're better off posting them on your own self-hosted website.
It's Facebook's walled garden. If you wanna play, you have to pay...with IP.