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Terms of Service - Do you know what they own?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
With the big Facebook Story in the news today, and having recently read through a couple of Terms of Service for other websites, it made me wonder how many of us actually know what we're signing up for?

I can tell you from being a moderator here that a lot of people don't read the rules that they are agreeing to before they start posting. As they say, ignorance of the "law" is not an excuse for breaking it.

Facebook's new TOS is actually somewhat similar to other websites where you upload pictures and post your information. They can use those photos for promoting their site in any way they wish. You could see your photo in an ad and you are not entitled to any compensation or even credit for owning the photo. You may own the actual copyright, but by uploading it or posting your words on a public forum you give the website permission to do with it whatever they want to promote their site.

Do you read the TOS, or the Rules if it's a forum/chatroom type site? Will this make you look closer?
post #2 of 15
I read them thoroughly before joining TCS - but I've forgotten the exact wording by now. I remember the important stuff!

There were some things I didn't like about Facebook - and have been about other sites....but for the most part I haven't had a problem. Maybe I just got lucky?
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Just to clarify, I'm really not pointing the finger at anyone here about reading the Rules. If you made it to IMO then you are either a) just a nice person who probably doesn't have issues with breaking rules to begin with, or b) read the rules and decided you can live with them. I just know from experience in the course of being a mod for a llllloooonnnnngggg time now, there's a lot of people who don't read them.
post #4 of 15
I've always had the assumption that once you upload a pic to any site, it isn't really yours anymore, you give it up because anyone can download it and use it for their own non commercial purposes and you may never know. This story doesn't really surprise me much. The deal about pictures is almost like illegally downloading mp3's- it's technically illegal but there are few things the authorities can do to stop it. There is no way you can stop people from downloading things you put on your blog or website, even if you claim they are yours. And if facebook is putting it in their terms of service, that they have the right to use all materials, then to me, the feeling i'd have if facebook used my pictures would be the same as if some random person decided to download them. They wouldn't use anything though because most people's pics are not good enough to be in a facebook ad, most pics are amateur party pics...And if they are good enough- why would the author put them on facebook anyway??? It's entirely his problem then because if I had professional pictures or pictures that I care greatly for, I'd make sure i read all the terms of service before uploading them anywhere..
post #5 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
Do you read the TOS, or the Rules if it's a forum/chatroom type site? Will this make you look closer?
I don't. In an increasng web based world I find myself barraged with TOS agreements so often that frankly it seems pointless to even try to read them. I'd never remember the specifics of any one of them for more than a day or two anyway. As far as forums or chatrooms go, I always assume that anything I post or upload becomes, at least to some extent, the property of the site owner.

If I wanted to post or upload something and I was concerned about ownership issues, I would read the TOS agreement carefully but even then I would take it with a grain of salt. Anything that is plastered on the internet is subject to being stolen or otherwise used in some way without the permission of the originator regardless of any TOS agreement.

Edit - I just realized it isn't true that I don't read the TOS of a forum. I at least scan them to learn of any "unusual" requirements. Like some sites sdon't allow the use of all caps as it is the equivalent of shouting and is considered rude.
post #6 of 15
I don't post pictures or personal information so I'm not worried and I'm not on Facebook either.
post #7 of 15
post #8 of 15
What really gets me are the software companies that make you install the software before you can read the TOS, but state in the TOS that by installing the software, you've agreed to it!

Brilliant!
post #9 of 15
The TOS and the rules are quite similar from one site to another, or I should say from the same kind of one site to another; i.e. forums generally have pretty much the same, and so forth. If you've read one site's TOS closely, and just use common sense you should be OK on most sites.

This site's rules and TOS are a bit harder in that they seem to be a hodge-pod put together in bits and pieces over time and contained in multiple threads. I think reorganizing and reposting in one thread, with a prominent link on the main menu is a good idea, so they're ready to hand instead of having to search for them buried somewhere in a forum that the newbie can only guess at.

(feel free to take a look-see at mine if you want to see how I think it should be done, though I use "code of conduct" instead of "rules" -- it's a little softer)
post #10 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by ut0pia View Post
I've always had the assumption that once you upload a pic to any site, it isn't really yours anymore, you give it up because anyone can download it and use it for their own non commercial purposes and you may never know..
No, that's not true anymore. The copyright laws have been changed so that everything is copyrighted unless it's specificially released into the public domain. Whether that's enforceable or not -- probably not unless it's something worth the pile of money it's going to cost to sue for it.

Quote:
This was true in the past, but today almost all major nations follow the Berne copyright convention. For example, in the USA, almost everything created privately and originally after April 1, 1989 is copyrighted and protected whether it has a notice or not. The default you should assume for other people's works is that they are copyrighted and may not be copied unless you know otherwise.
from: copyright myths
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by coaster View Post
This site's rules and TOS are a bit harder in that they seem to be a hodge-pod put together in bits and pieces over time and contained in multiple threads. I think reorganizing and reposting in one thread, with a prominent link on the main menu is a good idea, so they're ready to hand instead of having to search for them buried somewhere in a forum that the newbie can only guess at.
Actually, Tim, there's a link to the Rules in every Post Reply page, right under the Submit Reply/Preview Post buttons. There's only 2 threads, one containing the site rules (in New Cats On the Block, but linked every time you post), and the IMO rules. Those only pertain to this particular forum, so that's why they are separate.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
post #13 of 15
Just as a minor legal point, while a web site can CLAIM the right to use what you upload, in point of fact, in a court of law they might discover very quickly that they don't have that right.

Here's a basic principle: You cannot sign away a basic right. In other words, according to U.S. law, you own a photo that you have made. If you upload it, you still own it. Unless you are compensated for it and sign away the specific rights for that specific photo, you still own it.

To put it in another light, a person in the U.S. cannot sign a document agreeing to become a slave. Or, for that matter, many courts in Texas have overturned Prenuptial Agreements, saying that they violated the basic rights of a wife in the state of Texas.

So, while Facebook may claim certain rights in their Terms of Service, in practical fact they would find that anyone who challenged them in a court of law would almost certainly win.
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Just as a minor legal point, while a web site can CLAIM the right to use what you upload, in point of fact, in a court of law they might discover very quickly that they don't have that right.

Here's a basic principle: You cannot sign away a basic right. In other words, according to U.S. law, you own a photo that you have made. If you upload it, you still own it. Unless you are compensated for it and sign away the specific rights for that specific photo, you still own it.

To put it in another light, a person in the U.S. cannot sign a document agreeing to become a slave. Or, for that matter, many courts in Texas have overturned Prenuptial Agreements, saying that they violated the basic rights of a wife in the state of Texas.

So, while Facebook may claim certain rights in their Terms of Service, in practical fact they would find that anyone who challenged them in a court of law would almost certainly win.
Good post
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb View Post
Actually, Tim, there's a link to the Rules in every Post Reply page, right under the Submit Reply/Preview Post buttons. There's only 2 threads, one containing the site rules (in New Cats On the Block, but linked every time you post), and the IMO rules. Those only pertain to this particular forum, so that's why they are separate.
Heidi, have they been redone in the not-too-distant past? (Like since I joined) 'Cuz I remember looking for a rule on something once or twice and having the devil of a time finding them, but now I looked again, and they're just as you say, easily found and very nicely organized and laid out. Not what I remembered at all.

The link below the submit/preview buttons is a reminder; it's unclear at a glance that it's a link to the rules.
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