John Oliver Would Like You To Replace Your Bogus Facebook Copyright Privacy Statement With His Own

from the do-it-now dept

A few years back, we wrote about that ridiculous thing that clueless Facebook users were posting, in which they thought that by posting some idiotic and usually wrong text that sometimes referenced copyright law or random international criminal laws, it would mean that Facebook's terms of service no longer applied to them. Here's the version of this nonsense we wrote about then:
In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, 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 If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status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.
We wrote about it after the MPAA's Chris Dodd used it as an example of the importance of copyright law -- because Dodd appears to feel that copyright misinformation is a good thing.

Anyway, as lots of people have been noticing lately, this little bit of insanity is back in a big way -- and judging from the number of people talking about it and news stories covering it, it's bigger this time than in the past (though, amazingly, I've yet to see it anywhere on my Facebook feed -- which either means people I'm friends with are smarter than that -- or Facebook's algorithm knows enough to keep that crap away from me). Matt Schruers, over at the Disruptive Competition Project, has a good post on how the unenforceability of unilateral proclamations made online is a really good thing for the internet.

But, the best response has to be from Mr. John Oliver himself, who apparently took time out of his daily schedule to create a video debunking the ridiculous hoax... and replacing it with some new viral memery, which includes reposting this very video.
Done and done.

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:40am

    But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

    So people's stuff isn't theirs in this case?

    Yet again, you simply advocate for a mega-corporation rather than users. And show that you're rabidly anti-copyright.

    Facebook is a permitted entitry that must serve the public or be taken apart, and does not get to dictate all terms.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Baron von Robber, 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:44am

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      No, you're just a copyright maximalist asshat.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:45am

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      Where did he say that? If you choose to use someone else's platform and agree to their terms, then you are stuck with them. Of course you are free to not use the platform too.

      The difference between their TOS and your statement on of copyright on your wall is you agreed to their terms when you signed up, they did not agree to your terms on your wall post.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:53am

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      What are you on crack? Facebook is a private company that can dictate terms. If you do not like said terms then you can quit using Facebook.

      That being said , who the fuck wants to use that crappy social media anyways, only losers are on there.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:53am

        Re: Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

        "What are you on crack?"

        It would explain a lot of the last few years of his behaviour.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 9:43am

        Re: Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

        If facebook is a private company, why do we call it a public company?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          kallethen, 1 Oct 2015 @ 9:59am

          Re: Re: Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

          It's "private" in the sense that it isn't part of the government.

          Whether it's stock is privately or publicly traded is a completely unrelated matter.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Dan (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:54am

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      Facebook's TOS say a lot of things, including that they can use your material however they like without compensation. If you don't agree to those terms, you have a very simple remedy: don't use Facebook. You have another, less-drastic (but less-effective) remedy: don't post things to Facebook that you don't want all over the Internet. Posting a status update accomplishes nothing but making you look like an idiot (and probably member of the tinfoil-hat brigade).

      Recognizing this fact does not show that Mike is "okay with" Facebook's TOS, any more than his repeatedly describing how the DMCA (fails to) work shows that he's "okay with" that.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:07am

        Re: Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

        Yeah, the standard "if you don't want to be on Facebook, just don't use Facebook" refrain sounds really great, right up until you find out about uber-creepy stuff like shadow profiles...

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2015 @ 3:28am

          Re: Re: Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

          ...or compare it to "If you don't like the laws of this Country..."

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:10am

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      Do you post full resolution pictures on FB, as that would be rather silly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      jameshogg (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:23am

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      It would help if Facebook did not have a copyright to take from the users to begin with. It is because of the copyright philosophy that you support that Facebook are able to have power over others like this.

      So you can certainly bet that I am anti-copyright.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:58am

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      It's amazing how you far distort reality so that you can attack someone again. It's very, very strange.

      "So people's stuff isn't theirs in this case?"

      No, he's saying that you can't change Facebooks T&Cs by copying and pasting random crap on your Facebook wall.

      "Facebook is a permitted entitry that must serve the public or be taken apart"

      If they're breaking a law, point to it and encourage prosecution. If they're found guilty in a court of law of a serious enough infraction, maybe that will happen. Otherwise, it's a private entity that can operate as it wishes within the bounds of the law.

      I know you *hate* due process and fair trials and all the rest of it, but you still live in the real world where those things happen, even if the strange world you constructed in your head doesn't adhere to those things.

      The story is mocking idiots. People like you, only they just click share on stupid stuff. You actually waste hours typing this stuff out by hand! Yet, the effect is the same - it only makes the poster look ridiculous.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 5 Oct 2015 @ 3:30am

        Re: Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

        If they're breaking a law, point to it and encourage prosecution.



        Exactly! Just like with the banks

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      cpt kangarooski, 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:21am

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      "Grab" doesn't really have a clear legal meaning. Did you mean "license?" After all, that is what Facebook is doing; they're licensing the work via an express written license agreement which presumably (I don't use Facebook so I can't say for sure) was agreed to by the licensor, in this case, the user. That's very nearly the gold standard; the only way it could be better would be if it were not an adhesive license (that is, if the parties could negotiate it) and if it were a little more clearly executed.

      If you want to complain about abusive adhesive licenses, such as EULAs, I think you'll find that many people here agree that they're bad and often unnecessary.

      OTOH freedom to license is an essential part of copyright. Users have to be able to freely license copyrights they hold, and it's inappropriate and offensively paternalistic to say that they should be protected from making substantive agreements that an unrelated, nosy busybody of a third party thinks are bad deals. So it's you who is arguing an anti-copyright perspective here. But Mike doesn't seem to be making any argument for or against copyright here; just against misinformation.

      Facebook is a permitted entitry that must serve the public or be taken apart, and does not get to dictate all terms.

      I think that in your bizarre way, you are saying that Facebook is a corporation. Transacting lawful business is usually enough justification for any corporation to exist, from a regulatory perspective. There is a very low bar there. And they're not dictating a damn thing. They're proposing terms and users are willingly agreeing to them. Maybe the users are foolish, but they're free to be fools. Maybe the users aren't paying attention, but the law has long held that it's up to the parties to a contract to understand it, and that mere, ordinary ignorance is not an excuse to avoid the obligations of an agreement. The worst that can be said of it is that it's adhesive, but most agreements seem to be nowadays, like it or not.

      Tl;dr -- it looks like everything you said is basically wrong

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:52am

        Re: Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

        ...Transacting lawful business is usually enough justification for any corporation to exist, from a regulatory perspective. There is a very low bar there...

        In some jurisdictions a corporation does not have to do any business to exist; it only needs to pay the required fees. You'd be surprised at how many corporations exist that generates ZERO income.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 10:36am

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      Old man yells at internet, film at 11."

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      JMT (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 11:37pm

      Re: But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?

      "But you're okay with Facebook's arbitrary insane pages of unfounded legalese that says it can grab any and all content it hosts?"

      Funny, I don't remember reading that anywhere in the article. That suggests it might be something you just imagined.

      "Yet again, you simply advocate for a mega-corporation rather than users."

      Not a thing that happened.

      "And show that you're rabidly anti-copyright."

      Pointing out that something is not copyright law is anti-copyright?!

      "Facebook is a permitted entitry that must serve the public or be taken apart..."

      Interesting how you like to accuse damn near everyone of having an entitled gimme-gimme attitude, and yet you are demanding this private company serve the public to your satisfaction or be shut down. Hypocrite much?

      "...and does not get to dictate all terms."

      Actually that's exactly what it gets to do if you use Facebook. What it can't do is force you to actually use Facebook.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:09am

    I HEREBY GIVE MY PERMISSION to the Police, the NSA, the FBI and CIA, the Swiss Guard, the Priory of Scion, the inhabitants of Middle Earth, Agents Mulder and Scully, the Goonies, ALL the Storm Troopers and Darth Vader, the Mad Hatter, Chuck Norris, S.H.I.E.L.D, The Avengers, The Illuminati, The Men in Black, X-Men, Ghost Busters, The Justice League, Gandalf and Dumbledore, Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Great Pumpkin, The Flying Spaghetti Monster, School House Rock, Mr. Rogers, Captain Kangaroo, The Tooth Fairy, The Krampus, and all the members of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Black Sabbath, Voltron, The Groovy Ghoulies, the Thunder Cats, Dr. Who, Hart to Hart, Mystery inc. (Scooby Doo), James Garner, Angela Landsbury, the WWF, the EPA, and even Magnum P.I., He-Man, Jay and Silent Bob, Cheech & Chong, Neo, Blade, the NHL, MLB, and the Boondock Saints to view all the amazing and interesting things I publish on Facebook.
    I'm aware that my privacy ended the very day that I created a page on Facebook, I know that whatever I post can (and usually does) get shared, tagged, copied, and posted elsewhere because I'm THAT fucking awesome. If I don't want anyone else to have it, then I don't post it!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 7:39am

    Good luck with your disclaimer on Facebook. I don't agree with their terms and have never made an account.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:02am

    Understanding the real law at work

    Facebook's Terms of Service contains the following provision:
    13. Amendments
    1. We’ll notify you before we make changes to these terms and give you the opportunity to review and comment on the revised terms before continuing to use our Services.

    2. If we make changes to policies, guidelines or other terms referenced in or incorporated by this Statement, we may provide notice on the Site Governance Page.

    3. Your continued use of the Facebook Services, following notice of the changes to our terms, policies or guidelines, constitutes your acceptance of our amended terms, policies or guidelines.
    So why is any rational court going to let Facebook just change the terms of the deal at will, but not let a Facebook user change the terms of the deal?

    You might think, if you were a child, that the law should see this deal as a two-way street. That if Facebook can alter its terms willy-nilly upon notice to you, that you ought to be able to propose amendments to the contract and have Facebook manifest their assent to those changes by continuing to provide you service after they have received notice of your new terms. That is indeed childish thinking. Foolish. But why won't it work? Why won't a court let you get away with that?

    Unequal power.

    The courts understand that Facebook has more real power than you do: Facebook has more money and better lawyers than you, and that translates to greater power in the real world. That's why they can change the deal—and you can't.

    Grown-up courts respect power. In the real world, life just isn't always fair, and the side with more power usually wins.

    It's all it is. Understand the principle. Respect it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:16am

      Re: Understanding the real law at work

      I can't help but think that you're reaching here. Facebook is allowed to dictate terms to those that use their service because it's Facebook's site/service. Users are not allowed to dictate terms to Facebook because it's Facebook's site/service, they are only using it.

      By using Facebook's, or any other site, you agree to any TOS they may have(how enforcable the TOS is is a discussion for another time), and while I'm sure Facebook or any other site would just be thrilled to hunt through every single attempt by a user of their site/service to offer their own terms, accepting or rejecting each individual 'offer', that's not how it works. If a user doesn't like the terms the site/service offers, then they can go elsewhere, they don't get to change the terms just because they want to.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:27am

        Re: Re: Understanding the real law at work

        Facebook is allowed to dictate terms.
        Facebook is allowed to dictate terms.

        In a different situation, in a situation of relatively equal bargaining power, it would be expected that the other party would be permitted to propose modifications to a contract. In a situation of relatively equal bargaining power, there would be a process of negotiation. A process of mutual acceptance.

        But you recognize that that does not occur here. You recognize that Facebook dictates—and the user accepts.

        No bargaining. No negotiation. No chance that the powerful side will accept —or even consider— amendments proposed by the less-powerful. Modifications proposed by the less-powerful side are simply beneath the notice of the more-powerful side.

        You recognize that.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:45am

          Re: Re: Re: Understanding the real law at work

          But you recognize that that does not occur here. You recognize that Facebook dictates—and the user accepts.

          Yes, and once again for emphasis:

          Because it's Facebook's site/service.

          If a potential user doesn't agree to the terms set forth by Facebook, or any other site/service, then the response is simple, don't use the site/service. They do not get to use the service, accepting the TOS of the site/service in order to do so, and then try and dictate terms to the site/service after the acceptance of the TOS. The user has no bargaining power here because it's not their site/service, they are just using it, and they either accept the terms as offered, or don't use the site/service.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Dan (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:57am

          Re: Re: Re: Understanding the real law at work

          Facebook is allowed to dictate terms.

          This really seems to bother you. Why? Facebook is saying, "you may use our service on these terms. If you don't agree to them, you may not use our service." It is, after all their service. What would you propose as an alternative?

          Nobody is obliged to negotiate with anybody else. If you go to a large American retail store and try to haggle on price, most likely they'll refuse--the price is what it is. That's their absolute right. It's equally your absolute right to choose not to shop there. If they believe it's in their interest to negotiate, they certainly can, but there's no such legal or moral requirement.

          Yet it bothers you that Facebook's terms (like, I'd wager, virtually all other internet services) are "take it or leave it." Why?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 9:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Understanding the real law at work

            Facebook is allowed to dictate terms.
            This really seems to bother you. Why?
            You're imagining things: I am not particularly bothered in understanding that Political power flows from the barrel of a gun.

            Might may or may not make right, but it does indeed make law. Certainly, “law” without the power to enforce is no more than a farce.

            Yet it bothers you…
            Please don't attribute to me words or subjective feelings that I neither wrote nor intimated.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Leigh Beadon (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 9:34am

          Re: Re: Re: Understanding the real law at work

          I want to ask:

          Under the "different situation" you envision, where a service provider is obliged to review and consider proposed contract modifications from its users, would it be possible for any kind of service with a billion users to exist? And how? Or is your vision that there would be no large services with users/customers numbering in the billions or even millions?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:43am

      Re: Understanding the real law at work

      "So why is any rational court going to let Facebook just change the terms of the deal at will, but not let a Facebook user change the terms of the deal"

      Because the law says doing that is permissible.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      cpt kangarooski, 1 Oct 2015 @ 9:59am

      Re: Understanding the real law at work

      You might think, if you were a child, that the law should see this deal as a two-way street. That if Facebook can alter its terms willy-nilly upon notice to you, that you ought to be able to propose amendments to the contract and have Facebook manifest their assent to those changes by continuing to provide you service after they have received notice of your new terms. That is indeed childish thinking. Foolish. But why won't it work? Why won't a court let you get away with that?

      Probably because when Facebook sends you new terms and won't let you use their service unless you agree to the proposed modification, it's clear that you have assented. OTOH, posting a proposed modification to Facebook doesn't actually notify Facebook of your proposal (their legal staff doesn't monitor your posts for that) and their continued provision of service doesn't indicate that they have assented to your proposal.

      You can certainly try to modify the agreement, but you're going to need to send reasonable notice of it to the appropriate person at Facebook -- probably by registered mail to their legal department -- and you're going to need to get proper agreement back from them, preferably in writing.

      You're right that there's a power imbalance though, which is why Facebook will almost certainly reject any proposal you make. They probably believe that you will ultimately accept their terms rather than leave, and that you as an individual need Facebook more than they need you. If all the users banded together they'd have negotiating power, but this is unlikely.

      Your understanding of law might be grounded in legal realism, but it is also rather bad, like those stupid tax evaders who think that they can ignore the law by reciting magic words or changing how they spell their name.

      Someone already posted ProCD. I'd also look at Specht v. Netscape regarding the need for reasonable notice and unambiguous assent for terms to be enforceable.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:14am

    I give it only a matter of time before that moron either has his facebook account shut down or he's ordered to remove that insane copyright posting or facebook removes it themselves.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:24am

    No FB version?

    Is there a version of this video that isn't hosted on FB ?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 8:47am

    Compare to ProCD

    See
    ProCD, INC. v. ZEIDENBERG, 86 F.3d 1447 (7th. Cir. 1996)

    ProCD is what gives Facebook the justification to swallow up copyright laws.

    In ProCD, the court ruled that a proper notice could over-ride Public Domain information based on contract law, never mind that ProCD did not own the copyright to his list in the first place.

    So what is the difference, with Facebook users taking back their copyright using a proper notice? Isn't it the same thing?

    - - - - - - - Quote - - -

    A copyright is a right against the world. Contracts, by contrast, generally affect only their parties; strangers may do as they please, so contracts do not create "exclusive rights." Someone who found a copy of SelectPhone (trademark) on the street would not be affected by the shrinkwrap license - though the federal copyright laws of their own force would limit the finder's ability to copy or transmit the application program.
    ...

    a simple two-party contract is not "equivalent to any of the exclusive rights within the general scope of copyright" and therefore may be enforced.

    - - - - - - Unquote - - - -

    They are just trying to undo the bad ruling of ProCD, by using the ruling of ProCD.
    ..

    If a Facebook user can't undo Facebook's hijack of copyright with a notice under state contract law, and Facebook claims their right is the "equivalent of copyright law," then that is invalid because the terms of service are preempted by federal copyright law.

    If contracts do not create exclusive rights under ProCD, then neither do Terms of Service create exclusive rights for Facebook Inc. If exclusive rights can be created by notice on Facebook, then they can be taken back by notice on Facebook.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John85851 (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 4:41pm

      Re: Compare to ProCD

      Although copyrights or contracts can be negotiated after the fact, let's put this idea aside and focus on the point of the article. Namely, how is posting anything on your wall considered "notice" to Facebook's legal department? Doesn't the concept of giving notice require giving notice to the appropriate person or department so they can take appropriate action on their end?
      Posting a notice on your wall is as effective and legally binding as yelling it in front of Facebook's office.

      And continuing with that analogy, when was the last time a contract was negotiated by yelling something to random people in front of an office?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 9:08am

    TIL Masnick has a FB account. lulz
    -10,000 cool points.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Oct 2015 @ 12:55pm

    For those without flash player:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fmy6M1oHrAo

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    err, 1 Oct 2015 @ 1:10pm

    Link to open media

    I notice there are no links to this video that don't require a facebook login

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 1 Oct 2015 @ 6:50pm

    Alternate place to view video...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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