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Facebook users don’t understand copyrights

Published: Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Updated: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 00:11

On Facebook, users may see posts about new guidelines and privacy settings. These posts declare that all information posted by that user is copyrighted property. For once, many are regretting having blindly agreed to the terms and conditions attached to the creation of a social media account.

These posts that attempt at legal jargon are ineffective and merely paranoid attempts at making an appearance of control on a website that opened itself up to stock traders in May.

At the basic level, the rights of privacy have not changed since the company began to sell shares. On Facebook’s statement of rights and responsibilities, along with other text often ignored by Facebook users, is the statement: “You retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a license to use and display that content.”

Facebook states that the information users post have their own copyright, and it is redundant to post any sort of declaration stating one’s ownership of content posted. Users’ posts are only spam clogging up the newsfeed for others on Facebook.

To illustrate just how many of these posts are misinformed, one should probably look up the “Berner Convention,” as some of the posts refer to it for their basis for copyright. Many of the people reposting don’t realize that this is not even a real thing, but an uneducated attempt in referring to the “Berne Convention,” which grants copyrights to literary, cinematic and architectural works in specific countries.

A more effective form of voicing concern, instead of posting misinformed declarations, would be to visit the Facebook “Site Governance” page, on which users can vote and comment on proposed changes. That is something the makers of Facebook will actually take into consideration — not an illegitimate post buried on an individual timeline.

In fact, one of its latest “Site Governance” posts deals with changing Facebook’s current “voting” system by which users help determine the site’s policies.

If a person is concerned about the privacy of information on Facebook, he or she should reconsider the privacy settings on his or her profile. Whether one has a copyright from Facebook or a self-issued one on a post, if information can be viewed publically, it is still getting out.

The fact of the matter is, if one was concerned about information being confidential, then it probably shouldn’t have been put out in the open on the social media outlet in the first place. Facebook isn’t exactly the Internet’s best-kept secret, and anything posted on it isn’t going to be kept secret, either.

Alex Rosenthal is a freshman majoring in classics.

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