Facebook- Illustrators “ be -a –ware”.

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By now, most of us have heard of or received an email from a “friend” on Facebook. And in order to read email we have had to sign up. Yours truly included.

Like everyone else I had no idea what this website was all about but after a few minutes, I was curious and intrigued. I was also cautious, so before logging out, I decided to take off my photo and remove my name and email address.

Two days later I get another email from yet another “friend” from Facebook and have to sign up all over again to read the email. Of course I do, because the curious creature that I am and that most of us are, I wanted to know who had written to me.

And this is how my love hate relationship with Facebook began. Before I knew it, I was getting emails from “friends” almost on a daily basis. I was even getting mailed from people I didn’t even know, who claimed to be my “friend”. This was worse than being hit on it a bar from the person asking me if we went to high school together.

So I would delete. Then log out to only come back later in the day to see which “friend” had written me this time. I was never really interested in posting too much personal information nor did I think anyone out there would really be that interested if I was working from home in my pj’s or if I was out in some trendy bar typing on my BlackBerry. So I kept the details and pertinent information short and sweet.

I am not much of an exibitionist to say the least, so I never posted any other photos of my family or myself. Little did I know that I was the exception?

On the other hand, I was receiving all kinds of messages, pictures and postings telling me that there where things posted on my “wall”. I also had to download soft wear to access some of these more complicated and coded messages.

To my surprise, I realized that there were an awful lot of people out there that did not seem to have much to do in their spare time. I mean to put together a virtual aquarium and select the fish one by one. I also got tons of photos, videos and asked to vote on something or another. There were those that got a little more personal with questions about compatibility. And of course, I would get an endless update of all the oh so important things my so called “ friends” had just uploaded that I absolutely had to see or else… Back to my profile, I posted my name and a fairly old black and white photo of me that I took from my website that badly needs updating.

Did not mention if I was married or single or how I knew the other people that were listed as my “friends.” I mean who cares ? I like to keep my private life private since my public/working persona is already quite well known in the industry that I am in. I also failed to mention that according to goggle or some other search engine site I am considered a loser to be on Facebook in the first place, since I am over 40 even if its only by a little bit, I am still over.

Back to why I am writing this. Often what I do in my day-to-day working life is read contracts, so it was only natural for me to eventually getting around to reading the terms of Facebook. I am not sure how many people actually do read the terms or even care for that matter, but I do and did.

I think that everyone really should take the time to read them. They need to understand that anything they post on Facebook can be used by Facebook and re sold to a third party.

This is very important, particularly artists who are sensitive to their copy rights.

Under the terms of Facebook,

“When you post User Content to the Site, you authorize and direct us to make such copies thereof as we deem necessary in order to facilitate the posting and storage of the User Content on the Site. By posting User Content to any part of the Site, you automatically grant, and you represent and warrant that you have the right to grant, to the Company an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, publicly perform, publicly display, reformat, translate, excerpt (in whole or in part) and distribute such User Content for any purpose, commercial, advertising, or otherwise, on or in connection with the Site or the promotion thereof, to prepare derivative works of, or incorporate into other works, such User Content, and to grant and authorize sublicenses of the foregoing. 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. Facebook does not assert any ownership over your User Content; rather, as between us and you, subject to the rights granted to us in these Terms, you retain full ownership of all of your User Content and any intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights associated with your User Content.”

So that said, basically anything that is posted on Facebook can be used or sold by them to anyone. Yes, you do retain full ownership but you automatically grant the usage over to them.

I just felt it was important to bring this to everyone’s attention. As long as you know and are properly informed then you can decide what to post or not.

Did you really think that Facebook was designed to bring people closer together or just for fun.

Now, don’t get me wrong, it is a great website and fun to track down old friends and acquaintances if you have nothing better to do. It’s always nice to hear from someone you dated back in high school or is it?

More often than not, people sign up for websites and post all kinds of images and photos without reading the fine print. Its best to be aware of the terms and conditions of a website, before you sign up.

You never know where you images could pop up without you even knowing they are there.