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Old 12-08-2018, 02:23 PM   #40
Human being with feelings
Join Date: Jul 2018
Posts: 409

One of the sites that I own and manage provides access to state/federal laws for non-lawyers. Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. However, I have had the unfortunate experience of having to address areas of copyright licensing in my tenure as webmaster of the services.

This does not make me a copyright expert. However, what I can say with absolute conviction is that owning a copyright means nothing if you are not in control of how the copyrightable product is utilized. Whenever you transfer the right of "sub-licensing" to someone without restriction, for example, you are essentially giving up control of your copyright, or at least the product that it covers which is in essence kind of the same thing.

This type of legal wording appears regularly in all kinds of publishing agreements where a musician unknowingly signs away important rights to his music without realizing it. For example giving someone "exclusive" publishing or distribution rights. A musician should never sign anything that has the word "exclusive" in it anywhere without very careful consideration. These terms are quite common in all kinds of recording contracts. You may still own the copyright technically but if you can't do anything with the material and someone else can do whatever the hell they want with it it's kind of moot.

Even without the word exclusive you must consider that if the "sub-licensing" does not have conditions, controls, expiration and recourse then even though you may be able to continue to distribute your own product you have no control over what the third-party does on their own, which could be detrimental to you while quite profitable for them.

It doesn't matter if you own the copyright to something if you can no longer control how that something is shared, copied or utilized.

The way I read the Facebook agreement and from what I've read online and in talking to my lawyer clients about this issue Facebook can essentially use your material in pretty much any way it sees fit including licensing it to third parties for compensation. So technically, fake book can take your music and license its use for a porn site, or a political figure that you do not agree with (for example). Of course these may seem like more extreme examples but nonetheless valid.

For that reason I would suggest never posting anything of creative value directly on Facebook. Instead post a link to a hosting site that does not assert those same ownership and licensing tactics. This can be tricky because many hosting sites also have all kinds of legalese that no one ever reads. The only way to be 100% sure is to probably on your own server and site.

PS: I knew a very talented musician that was approached by a significant label. He ended up losing out on what would've otherwise been a big break for him because the material they wanted had been previously licensed without him realizing it. Because he could not transfer all rights the label passed. All because he shared some stuff on social media carelessly.

And, consider that even if FB were to do something in violation, good luck getting redress. Suing one of the largest corporations in the world, all over the world, is beyond the pocketbook of all but the largest and most successful artists.

Last edited by Steviebone; 12-08-2018 at 02:38 PM.
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