Facebook: False Copyright Warning Goes Viral
Facebook has insisted that its users keep full copyright of their photos and videos after a hoax warning went viral.
Tens of thousands of people are now thought to have copy-and-pasted a statement onto their timeline, asserting full copyright over their posted content.
The viral post reads: "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"If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos, as well as the information contained in your profile status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."
Users then attach a 50-word statement saying: "In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, comics, paintings, 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!"
But Facebook spokesman Andrew Noyes said its users had nothing to worry about.
"We have noticed some statements that suggest otherwise and we wanted to take a moment to remind you of the facts - when you post things like photos to Facebook, we do not own them," he said.
"Under our terms, you grant Facebook permission to use, distribute, and share the things you post, subject to the terms and applicable privacy settings."
Facebook's frequently asked questions section also specifically addresses the point of law.
It says: "Yes, you retain the copyright to your content. When you upload your content, you grant us a licence to use and display that content."
While copyright fears appear to be unfounded, Facebook does collect large amounts of data about its users.
It knows when you look at another person's timeline, send or receive a message, and the time, date and place where your photos were taken.
If you log on or post from a smartphone it can pinpoint where you are, while if you access the site from a computer it records the IP address you are using.
All of this can be released as a result of a valid court order in the UK, or a subpoena in the United States, as part of a civil or criminal investigation.
Facebook says it "stores data for as long as it is necessary to provide products and services to you and others".
This means that most information associated with an account will be kept until the account is deleted.