The terms of service used to say that when you closed an account on its network, any rights it claimed to the original content would expire. But things might have changed.
“we reserve the right to change any aspect or feature of the Facebook Service at any time without notice. The following sections will survive any termination of your use of the Facebook Service: Prohibited Conduct, User Content, Your Privacy Practices, Gift Credits, Ownership; Proprietary Rights, Licenses, Submissions, User Disputes; Complaints, Indemnity, General Disclaimers, Limitation on Liability, Termination and Changes to the Facebook Service, Arbitration, Governing Law; Venue and Jurisdiction and Other.”
Facebook can even sublicense content:
“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.”
Apparently the line that covered you if you did close your account is missing.
“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.”
I’m not sure exactly how much this matters to me, but I’m sure others have a better understanding of this. I’m also unclear about say, photographers who post their stuff. Would that be Facebook property?
UPDATE: Apparently, it is really bad for photographers.
UPDATE III: Facebook now says it needs to “communicate” better.
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