Does posting a special Facebook status update help protect my copyright?

socialmediamazeCC0From time to time, some version of a notice with legal-sounding language spreads on Facebook, posted by users, stating that the notice “will allow them to place themselves under the protection of copyright.” The notice may state, “I do not give Facebook or any entities associated with Facebook permission to use my pictures, information or posts, both past and future,” and may implore other users to copy and post the notice themselves.

These notices have no legal effect. You own the copyright to photos you take from the moment you take them. Facebook users are bound by Facebook’s Terms of Service, which state that users own all of the content and information they post, and that users grant Facebook a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any intellectual property they post on or in connection with Facebook. In particular, Facebook asserts that it may use your identity and content in advertisements (such as for a brand you like) without compensating you. Posting one of these legal-sounding notices does nothing to change that.

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