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"Facebook Owns Your Facebook Page" Declares Singapore Courts

Started a Facebook Page? Singapore Courts had ruled that that Facebook Page does not belong to you and Facebook has full ownership of it.

This issue was raised when Mr Lee Kien Meng, who owns Senatus, sued one of its previous clients, Mr Frank Cintamini, after Mr Cintami removed Senatus' administrator rights. Mr Cintamini removed Senatus after a fall out and suspecting the company of two hacking incidents.


Wrote AsiaOne,

He asked the court to declare him the owner and sole administrator of the two pages and to order Mr Cintamani to give up all rights to the pages to him. - See more at: http://digital.asiaone.com/digital/news/who-owns-facebook-page#sthash.xgx6V2uc.dpuf
He asked the court to declare him the owner and sole administrator of the two pages and to order Mr Cintamani to give up all rights to the pages to him.

Justice Chan Seng Onn on Tuesday upheld the lower court's decision, pointing out there are no terms in Facebook's service agreement which gives the page creator ownership rights.
Under the agreement, which all Facebook users have to sign up to, users simply "own" the content they post, but Facebook Inc owns the pages and has the power to remove them for any reason.
In this case, Justice Chan noted, Mr Lee did not claim for the contents.
- See more at: http://digital.asiaone.com/digital/news/who-owns-facebook-page#sthash.xgx6V2uc.dpuf
... Justice Chan Seng Onn on Tuesday upheld the lower court's decision, pointing out there are no terms in Facebook's service agreement which gives the page creator ownership rights.Under the agreement, which all Facebook users have to sign up to, users simply "own" the content they post, but Facebook Inc owns the pages and has the power to remove them for any reason.In this case, Justice Chan noted, Mr Lee did not claim for the contents.

There are a few major components in a Facebook Page - the Page itself, the Content, the Likes and the comments. If a Singapore courts have declared that the Page belongs to Facebook, how about the other three?

Let's start with the Likes.

It seems like the Likes belongs to user who liked the page and not the owner of the page. This was established in the case between BET and Stacey Mattock. a fan who created her fan page of a popular TV show.

Wrote Bloomberg Business,

James Cohn, the judge in Mattocks’s case, dismissed the idea of owning someone else’s approval. “’Liking’ a Facebook Page simply means that the user is expressing his or her enjoyment or approval of the content. At any time, moreover, the user is free to revoke the ‘like’ by clicking an ‘unlike’ button,” he wrote. “So if anyone can be deemed to own the ‘likes’ on a Page, it is the individual user responsible for them.”

So the LIKEs are off limits to the owners of the page. How about comments?

Wrote a lawyer in Quora,

Copyright only protects "original works of authorship" that have some minimal degree of creativity. Although this bar is very low, short phrases are an example of what might NOT be protectable under copyright. Slogans are often not protected by copyright (most businesses will have trademark protection for unique slogans associated with products).

 That's left with the content. In Facebook Page terms, the content do belong to the page owner but putting up the content on the Page allows Facebook to license it out.

Wrote Smart Company Australia,

In the Facebook terms (that I suspect that very few of us have ever read) it says (in very small font!) that:
  • You own all the content you put onto Facebook.
  • Any content covered by IP (intellectual property) rights you give Facebook permission to use that content as a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free worldwide license.
There are also Facebook page terms, which say that:
  • Content posted to pages is public information and is available to everyone.
What this REALLY means...
1. Any content you add to Facebook that you own is still yours – Facebook doesn't take ownership.

2. Any content that you add, even if it is trademarked, can be used by Facebook.

With more companies going into social networks, more and more such cases will arise and it is important to be aware of terms of the Facebook Page and understand the dos and don'ts early.
Mr CintamaniC
Mr Cintamani
Mr Cintamani
Mr Cintamani

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