Privacy & Intellectual Property on Facebook
The topics of privacy and intellectual property relative to Facebook are intertwined and receive recurring attention. Here is Geoff's recent post:
Have you read Facebook’s Statement of Rights and Responsibilities? I decided to after talking to a Facebook IP lawyer. There are some serious dangers for content marketers on Facebook:
“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: 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”).”
“You will not tag users or send email invitations to non-users without their consent.”
If someone is using content as a means to market to their potential customers, the first statement presents huge issues. It’s clear that protecting IP is hard on Facebook given these terms.
While the same statement offers IP protections, Facebook is clearly soft on enforcement. Basically, for someone to get in trouble for using your copyrighted content without your permission, it requires someone to “repeatedly infringe” for Facebook to take action.
All in all, your content is not safe on Facebook, IMO. It’s best to use secondary services such as a blog, a video site or a photo site, and link back in if protecting copyright is an issue.
On the tagging front, I was particularly interested as this is a common form of marketing wares on Facebook, one I often interpret to be spam. Apparently, if you tag someone in a manner that they do not approve, it REALLY IS spam.
Reading the same policy, “You will not send or otherwise post unauthorized commercial communications (such as spam) on Facebook.” Facebook has demonstrated it is adamant about policing spammers on its network. It is actively prosecuting abusers of its spamming policy and suing them.
In essence, if you use tags with your content or posts to market your services, you are spamming people. No ifs or ands about it. If the people who are being tagged decide to report you, it’s likely that you will find little leniency from Facebook.
The lesson for content marketers, don’t hard sell on Facebook. Tagging should be soft, clearly benefiting the community members mentioned. Otherwise it’s best to try other social network services to achieve your goals.