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EPIC ready to sue Facebook over terms

EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, is about to sue Facebook over its bizarrely expansive license agreement, PC World reports"We think that Facebook should go back to its original terms of service," says EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg.Facebook subtly but powerfully changed its terms of service a few weeks back but they were only recently noted by The Consumerist's Chris Walters.

EPIC, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, is about to sue Facebook over its bizarrely expansive license agreement, PC World reports

"We think that Facebook should go back to its original terms of service," says EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg.

Facebook subtly but powerfully changed its terms of service a few weeks back but they were only recently noted by The Consumerist's Chris Walters. The new language is incredibly broad:

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.
This line was removed: "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."

It's yet another case - like Beacon - of Facebook pushing the boundaries of fair play, grasping the ring of total consumer control. Now comes Zuckerberg again, on a blog post, talking a community game, espousing principles of user control, basically trying to sweet-talk his way out of it. And when that doesn't work, Facebook will make a big mea culpa and roll back the changes. Until next time.

In reality, we wouldn't share your information in a way you wouldn't want. The trust you place in us as a safe place to share information is the most important part of what makes Facebook work. Our goal is to build great products and to communicate clearly to help people share more information in this trusted environment.

It's just a communication problem (and the lawyers' fault):

We still have work to do to communicate more clearly about these issues, and our terms are one example of this. Our philosophy that people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant. A lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective of the rights we need to provide this service to you. Over time we will continue to clarify our positions and make the terms simpler.

JR Rapahel at PCW correctly points out that no one else from Twitter to Google to MySpace makes such claims. Look for a "concerned" Facebook to make the changes in a few days' time.