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Charles B. Sears Law Library SUNY Buffalo Law School

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I Do Not Think That Post Means What You Think It Means…

Posted on: | by Christine Anne George |

No judgment. Maybe you were still riding out your tryptophan trip or recovering from Black Wednesday—or perhaps both—but that message that kept popping up in your Facebook feed gave you pause. You know the message. Some iteration comes about whenever Facebook adjusts its policies. This one begins, “In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention) . . . .”

Although name dropping the Berner Convention should be a major tip-off—it’s actually the Berne Convention, or more officially, the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works—for some reason, this is quite the Energizer Bunny of posts. To paraphrase one of my favorite movies: You keep posting those words. I do not think they mean what you think they mean. Even when major news outlets such as CNN are acknowledging the hoax people are still posting the message. Now the conversation is turning towards both privacy and copyright protection, as well as general comprehension of Facebook’s terms and conditions. It seems it will take a while for the general Facebook community to accept that although they own the copyright to what they are posting (with no need to have any explicit declaration of ownership), they already agreed to forego certain protections by joining Facebook.

If you anticipate being pulled into a discussion about copyright and feel you need a bit of a brush up, check out our handy dandy Copyright Law libguide, the one-stop shop your reference librarians assembled to cover your copyright refresher needs. So read up and together we can knock that nonsensical post from the Facebook feed to make room for more important stories. Like how Gangnam Style  is the most-watched Youtube video ever.  Over 835 million views, thus stealing the title from neighbor from the North Justin Bieber …you go, Psy!

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