Facebook owns your content. All of it. Forever.

February 15th, 2009

2/18 Update: FB reverted its TOS to the previous version early on 18 Feb 2009.

Consumerist has a post on a change in Facebook’s Terms of Service agreement that became effective on 4 February: Facebook’s New Terms Of Service: “We Can Do Anything We Want With Your Content. Forever.”

Both the new Facebook TOS and the previous TOS made these aggressive claims on your content.

“You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.”

That was bad enough, but at least Facebook relinquished those rights on your content if you dropped out. But no longer. The following clause from the old TOS has been dropped.

“You may remove your User Content from the Site at any time. If you choose to remove your User Content, the license granted above will automatically expire, however you acknowledge that the Company may retain archived copies of your User Content.”

Just to make it absolutely clear how screwed you are, the new TOS also adds the following.

“The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.”

By the way, if you’ve used Facebook in any way since 4 February, you have already accepted the new TOS.

“We reserve the right, at our sole discretion, to change or delete portions of these Terms at any time without further notice. Your continued use of the Facebook Service after any such changes constitutes your acceptance of the new Terms.”

And if you want to take them to court, Fugetaboutit.

“Except as set forth in the paragraph below, you agree that all claims and disputes between you and Facebook that arise out of or relate in any way to the Terms or your use of the Facebook Service will be resolved either by (a) binding arbitration by a single arbitrator in Santa Clara County, California or (b) binding non-appearance based arbitration conducted by telephone, online or based solely on written submission.”

All your base are belong to Facebook.