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Stingy Facebook Gets None of My Media

2009/365/47: Facebook FAIL
2009/365/47: Facebook FAIL by cogdogblog
posted 16 Feb ’09, 10.05pm MST PST on flickr

Even before the rounds of flack today. about Facebook’s Terms of Services, I’ve contended that Facebook is Stingybook with media — it will suck in your media (flickr, YouTube) etc, do with it what it wants, and then it does not allow any media held within to be so freely accessed from outside apps.

And even more problematic, it creates its own set of usage rights based not on sensible systems like Creative Commons, but Facebook groups, friends, etc.

So here is my acid test. This is my photo on flickr, licensed as Non Commercial-Share Alike-By Attribution. If Facebook shares, makes copies of my photo, without the same license, isn’t it not complying?

In addition, tonight, I deleted some 30 photos I had uploaded to StingyFacebook. They can re-purpose and own my crappy status messages, but they cannot have my media.

Sure Facebook may have more photos than any other photo sharing site, but they are mostly crapshots. And they no longer get any of mine.

Not necessarily because of the quibbling over terms of service, just that despite their weasel words on caring about my photos, I doubt they do– they care about serving ads and making money. Period.

This is the one photo I will upload to StingyBook.

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Profile Picture for cogdog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I agree that Facebook is great for snapshots and sharing things with friends etc, but not the place to host media that means something to you.

    Having said that, I have this idea of watermarking all my photos with something like:

    “My life is not a Facebook Commodity.”


    “My memories are not for sale.”

    What do you think?

    @alec if something is previously CC’d does that carry over everywhere it appears on the web?

  2. There’s a new blog (by Pet Holdings, the creator of lolcats) called ‘Fail‘. So they got their writers and affiliates (including the paid-blogging crowd) to start using it as a noun. ‘This fail’. ‘That fail’. Just in the style of posts on Fail blog. Now people not associated with the blog are saying things like ‘Facebook fail’ and the like. It’s a masterful bit of marketing.

    Here’s their TOS, in part: “by submitting User Submissions to Pet Holdings, you hereby grant Pet Holdings a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the Websites.” In other words, the Facebook TOS.

    The lesson is, Facebook may be clumsy and stupid, but it’s not the only player out there manipulating our space and even our words for their own gain. You have to watch for the clever as well as the stupid – and honestly, I don’t trust the lot of them.

    Stephen Downes’s latest blog post…Catalina Island

  3. Y’know, I agree with all of this, but then there’s the even bigger problem that in just the last three weeks in FB I’ve heard from my 71-year-old first cousin (once removed), a huge influence on my childhood whom I’d not heard from in decades (literally); interacted in ways meaningful to me with several friends from the various strata of my life from high school to my current job;and told one of my favorite trumpeters how much I’ve always loved a particular solo of his–and got a message back in reply.

    I agree that the FB TOS are evil. Like Stephen, I don’t trust them. I don’t trust much of anyone or anything these days. But at the same time I’m profoundly grateful that because of FB, or despite FB, or whatever, these other opportunities have arisen.

    So sure, FB may be “clumsy or stupid,” but it’s also a space with amazing, surprising opportunities emerging. So I’m cautious but not dismissing it yet–and I remain hopeful when one of the most active new groups on FB is the group protesting the new FB TOS.

    Gardner’s latest blog post…Site upgraded, mess ensues

  4. @Gardner: As has been pointed out by many others, mostl TOS are evil-ish.

    I am not anti-facebook, and I acknowledge, and have a few of my own, connection stories like yours. FB does that quite well. I use FB marginally, but my choice is not to place my own media in their grasp. They can own my status updates and all of the silly requests Iet pile up.

    I have come not to praise nor bury Facebook, only to stick my tongue out at it and say, “Pffffft”.

  5. Ah, Brutus with a raspberry! Sounds good to me. 🙂

    Speaking of sweeping (evilish) TOS, here’s the license agreement for SXSW. Even the cool festivals have lock-it-all-up terms (and this came to me on the heels of a “we’re incredibly excited and want to promote the heck out of the event” email):

    Proprietary Rights: Presenter hereby grants SXSW a perpetual worldwide royalty
    free license in any copyright, trademark, trade secret, right of personality or
    publicity, or other proprietary rights associated with any and all parts of the
    Presentation. SXSW shall have the right to do all of the following with respect
    to any and all parts of the Presentation: (a) distribute, show, and adapt it or
    any portion of it for any medium throughout the world; (b) cut, edit, add to,
    subtract from, arrange, rearrange, and revise any or all of it; (c) assign or
    sublicense any or all rights hereunder; and (d) promote it in any manner.
    Performer’s Likeness: SXSW shall have the right to use the Presenter’s name,
    voice, likeness, and similar characteristics for the purpose of advertising,
    promoting, selling, and otherwise promoting SXSW and the Presentation.

    It’s funny to think about discussing Edupunk under these terms. 🙂

    Gardner’s latest blog post…Site upgraded, mess ensues

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