How can I keep up with the rapid-cycling eruption about THE THING I’VE BEEN TELLING MY STUDENTS FOR MONTHS!!! It’s just too delicious. If only I wasn’t grading 78 essay midterms I could spend all of my time on this.

It’s totally better than reality TV (okay, not better than WifeSwap, but close enough.)

Note to my students:

Everybody stop im-ing me on FB and shooting Tweets with cool links I cannot resist.

If you want your midterm grades, keep the new media away from new media prof!

In the meantime, here are some links and a few juicy tidbits from the fun…I’m certain that in the time it has taken me to write this there have been thousands more words generated on this irresistible topic. I can’t think about it.

Cheers!

Mon, Feb 16, 2009 — Does Facebook Own You?
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/technology/chi-biz-facebook-terms-of-use-feb16,0,3730083.story

Do you belong to Facebook, forever?

By Wailin Wong | Tribune staff reporter
12:59 PM CST, February 16, 2009

The blogosphere is abuzz after a popular consumer affairs blog pointed out changes to Facebook’s terms of use that the social networking Web site quietly made earlier this month.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/17/technology/internet/17facebook.html

February 17, 2009
Facebook’s Users Ask Who Owns Information
By BRIAN STELTER

Reacting to an online swell of suspicion about changes to Facebook’s terms of service, the company’s chief executive moved to reassure users on Monday that the users, not the Web site, “own and control their information.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/technology/sfl-bn-0216facebookprivacy,0,2542546.story

From the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
Don’t let your Facebook follies cost you a job

By David Hayes | South Florida Sun Sentinel
10:05 AM CST, February 16, 2009

So you’ve checked out the job sites, you’ve got your resume online, you’ve got those photos of you and your buddies doing body shots on Himmarshee posted on Facebook. Oops.

With the jobs market so competitive, and with employers checking out the online presence of potential hires, it was already past time to clean up your act.

And now that Facebook has said it can use ANYTHING you upload in any way it wants, forever, even if you close an account, it’s urgent that you shape up your profile.

Fortunately for all of us, allfacebook.com has a new list of the 10 best privacy settings you need to use NOW.

Tips on MySpace and Facebook
http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/technology/sfl-facebook-myspace-tips.pg,0,6630012.photogallery

2009-02-16 07:38:41 PM

My blog post from Nov. 13, 2008, as in I TOLD YOU SO! (Special thanks to my colleague Ron Seymour for bringing this to my attention. He’s a lawyer, afterall.)

WOULD YOU SIGN THIS?

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. The Company 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.

That’s what I asked my students to do. Sign the “user agreement” I said was required for me to accept and grade their work for our NMC 301: Writing for the Professional Media class. A handful signed. Some balked. Others wanted to discuss it.

We read it over line by line. Do you understand, I said, that this gives me

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.

That great moment in teaching when they’re quiet because they’re thinking, not sleeping.

No, they said. You can’t have that. That’s not fair, they said. That means you can take anything and make anything out of it and sell it, transform it, place it in an unflattering light, have your way with it and we have no recourse, right?

Yup, I said.

Well no way, they said.

Well yes way, I said. How many of you have a Facebook account?

All hands up. Mine included.

That means you’ve already given Facebook, known as “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.

Newsflash:

If you have a Facebook account, you’ve signed their user agreement. If you signed their user agreement, that is only one paragraph that you’ve agreed to. I did it. I checked the box. Drank the Kool-Aid. Bit the hook. Didn’t even read the thing. I wanted me some Facebook!

A wise colleague, a lawyer named Ron Seymour, showed me the Facebook User Agreement. Appalled, ashamed, I took it to my students.

Here it is: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php

And, of course, I’m about to start a Facebook Group about it!!

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