TECH
12/02/2014 02:30 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

That 'Copyright' Facebook Status Is Useless And Absurd. Stop Posting It

Facebook does not own your photos. Facebook does not own the rights to your genius Facebook status updates.

If Facebook did own your intellectual property, guess what? Writing a status update declaring that the company doesn't own your intellectual property would be completely useless. So please Internet: Stop this madness!

As you probably know, many Facebookers are posting a notice claiming that Facebook owns their data, words, photos and videos. The status, widely copied and pasted, then goes on to forbid Facebook from using their stuff.

Facebook confirmed that this is a hoax in an email to The Huffington Post on Tuesday.

It looks something like this:

facebook rights

"There are so many things wrong with this notice, it’s hard to know where to start," Derek Bambauer, Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law told HuffPost via email on Tuesday.

The laws cited don't even make sense, according to Bambauer. "It’s not clear what articles L.111, 112, and 113 of the 'code of intellectual property' are - Facebook’s [Terms of Service] operate under US law, where copyright is in Title 17 of the US Code," Bambauer said.

Everything you do on Facebook is guided by the site's Terms of Service, which is that long body of text you quickly "agree" to when signing up for Facebook. Here's what Facebook's Terms of Service say: "You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings."

That's it. You own everything you post on Facebook. You do give Facebook "a license to use and display that content" when you post it on the site. Facebook is "using" your profile picture when it shows that picture to people as "someone they might know." That's not the same as giving Facebook the copyright, which would allow them to do whatever they wanted with the photo.

You can't change Facebook's Terms of Service with a status update. "You can’t unilaterally change those by posting a mashup of law-sounding words on your Timeline, in the same way you can’t unilaterally change your terms of employment by posting an announcement on your office door that you’ll only work 20 hours a week," Bambauer said.

This urban legend, as Bambauer calls it, has been around for years in different forms. People were posting statuses like this back in 2012, and there's even a page on Snopes debunking it.

So don't post that status, even if you feel like it "can't hurt." It will make you look silly.

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