The Facebook rumor that had many, many users posting lengthy disclaimers on their profiles triggered a post from MPAA chairman Chris Dodd, who writes that it points to the need for greater protection of copyright online.
Dodd writes at Huffington Post, "A Facebook post making the rounds this week falsely raises concerns about whether the copyright protection policy for the social media site's users is being altered and describes how people can stop it.
"While the substance of the post - now being dubbed a hoax --- is almost comically inaccurate, the episode raises a critical point: At a time when personal and artistic content is just a click away, copyright protection is more important than ever."
Users had been posting the legalistic notice over the weekend on the notion that it would prevent Facebook from owning or using their content. The rumor was that Facebook had changed its terms of service, triggering the need for users to post such a notice. But Facebook refuted the rumor, issuing a statement that "anyone who uses Facebook owns and controls the content and information they post, as stated in our terms." Nevertheless, as has been pointed out, it can change the terms of service and users have to abide by them. Otherwise, they can simply exit Facebook.
But Dodd cast the hoax as indicative of the vexing problems that content creators face when their material is online --- piracy leaves them with little control over their copyright.
Dodd wrote, "The Facebook incident demonstrates that the average Internet user recognizes this fact, especially when they feel their personal content - photos, videos, ideas, etc. - is in jeopardy. But it also provides average Internet users with some insight into the point of view of the creators of movies, music or other artistic endeavors whose work has been subject to online theft."
Dodd's full post is here.