OSP’s & Ownership Of User Created Content

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OSP’s & Ownership Of User Created Content

  1. 1. OSP’S & OWNERSHIP OF USER- CREATED CONTENT The Facebook T.O.S. Scandal Lara M. Ali MBAA 609, Spring 2009
  2. 2. FACEBOOK Online Service Provider (OSP)   Social Networking Site that enables users to create personal profiles and publish various types of content Public profiles viewable by everyone   Private profiles viewable by restricted audience, which user selects 175 million users   Similar sites: Myspace, LinkedIn, Twitter
  3. 3. FACEBOOK’S NEW TOS February 4th, 2009 – Facebook changed its Terms  of Service. It excluded previous language about the perpetuity  of user created content on its site.
  4. 4. FACEBOOK TOS - BACKLASH Online blog “The Consumerist” noticed the quiet  change and launched a massive, Internet-wide uproar against the new Terms Next morning, EPIC filed a formal 25-page complaint  with the Federal Trade Commission  Facebook Group was created the same day – “People Against The New Terms of Service” – and was 90,000 members strong within hours Two days later, Facebook reverted back to old TOS  in response to the uproar  So, what was everyone complaining about?
  5. 5. FACEBOOK TOS – WHAT’S THE PROBLEM? New TOS no longer promised that the use of  member content would “expire” once the user deleted his/her account.  Online community interpreted this to mean that Facebook owns user’s personal information – photos, music, emails- and can use it without permission, for its own gain, forever.  This causes two specific ethical problems: Invasion of Privacy   Copyright Infringement
  6. 6. ONLINE SERVICE PROVIDERS – ETHICAL ISSUES PRIVACY COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT Emails Intellectual Property is not   very well protected Online Photographs  Publishers of creative content  Blogs  can be harmed b/c OSP can Status updates  profit from use of their Music  music/writing/art/etc. Videos  “Non-exclusive” licensing 
  7. 7. CURRENT OSP LANDSCAPE – COPYRIGHT ISSUES Most OSP’s Terms of Service focus heavily on  copyright concerns.  “Non-exclusive” licenses OSP does not have “exclusive” ownership of user  content  But can still re-use it or keep it in public distribution But these licenses limit the scope of the OSP’s use  of content – only things in connection with the normal services it provides
  8. 8. CURRENT OSP LANDSCAPE – PERPETUAL LICENSES Most service providers claim perpetual use of  content Google & Yahoo! Have perpetual licenses to non-  pictorial content Claim they need perpetual use of content like  emails, photographs and videos because of Copyright Law Ex.) Email - Without a non-exclusive perpetual license,  after a user has deleted account, Facebook would have to go into other users’ inboxes to delete every email that user has sent – time consuming, impossible.
  9. 9. WEB 3.0 – ETHICAL DANGERS Web 2.0 is successful because sites like Facebook  allow users to create their own custom service for FREE. Others like Google, Craigslist, Twitter, LinkedIn & Picasa  have this same model Web 3.0 is where ethical missteps can happen.  MONETIZING millions of users who have grown  accustomed to free online experiences  The reason for the Facebook TOS change is so that FB could PROFIT from users by using their content.  Other OSP’s will continue to find ways to do this that may be underhanded.
  10. 10. CONCLUSION OSP’s user base continues to grow and their need  to profit from these users will trump ethical obligations  Terms of Service are written with the ultimate goal of protecting the OSP, but there are many grey areas that will cause legal/ethical dilemmas  Today’s legal environment does not clearly delineate the rules of the game for IP on the Web  FB scandal will happen again and again until laws preclude them in the future

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