Guess what? That thing your friends, weird coworkers and confused relatives have been sharing on Facebook is pretty much a useless chain letter. Surprised? You shouldn’t be.

That thing I’m referring to, specifically, is the “copyright notice” being copy-pasted into Facebook statuses for the past few days that claims to claim copyright of the poster’s content on Facebook, despite the new Proposed Statement of Rights and Responsibilities Facebook posted last week, along with the decision from Facebook HQ to end the feature that allows users to vote in or out new proposed features and privacy or usage statements. Here’s the part some users have taken issue with:

You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to yourprivacy 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). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

The “copyright notice” being shared uses a lot of legal jargon that probably sounds legit to some. But to the rest of us who spend our weekends on the couch watching “Law & Order: SVU” marathons, it sounded like a bunch of made-up malarkey. Here’s the text in full:

"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! (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 i ts 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."

Snopes.com points out that this has happened before, a few years ago when web users posted a similar notice on their websites claiming to protect them from prosecution of piracy. In that case, as well as in the case of this bogus Facebook “copyright notice,” it’s pretty simple, as Snopes says: The law just doesn’t work that way.

So, sorry, Drunk Cousin Jim. That status update that took you 10 seconds to copy and paste isn’t going to do jack to protect anything you post on Facebook. Suggestion: If you’re really that worried about your content falling into the wrong hands at the Facebook HQ, then...delete your account. Brilliant, I know!

 

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