Facebook users reassured they own copyright to their content


MENLO PARK, Calif. — After a hoax post went viral, Facebook Inc. has reassured its users that they, not the company, own the copyrights to the content they post on the social network.

Over the weekend, users began reposting a status update that the user, not Facebook, owns the copyrights to his or her content. The post implies Facebook owns the copyright and users must make a legal declaration to regain it. “In response to the new Facebook guidelines, I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details,” the viral post says. “For commercial use of the above, my written consent is needed at all times!”

The post is similar to previous ones. What appears to have set off the latest was an announcement that Facebook was proposing to amend its privacy policy. But the change involves Facebook user rights to vote on proposed changes in site governance, not copyrights for content. Facebook copyright terms are the same as the terms of service users agree to when they join the site. Those terms say users own the copyright to content but license it to Facebook so the social network can share it with friends.

“If you upload a photo and share it with your friends, we’ll make that photo available and distribute it to your friends,” a Facebook spokesman said. “And, when you delete a photo, we delete it too.”