You’re not a lawyer, don’t play one on Facebook

4 Jun

Or, posting random sections of UCC 1-103 1-308 on your profile doesn’t make a difference

Keep out sign

Photo credit to spaceritual

Recently, I’ve seeing the following message popping up on my Facebook news feed:

PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning – any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted on my profile.

You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee , agent , student or any personnel under your direction or control.

The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE

Private sign

Photo credit to Holster

TR;DL?  Basically, it says that you (you being the government, corporations, people, or any of the other powers that be) don’t have the right to “utilize” my Facebook profile or any of the information I post.  As well being prevented from utilizing, “you” can’t disclose, copy, distribute of disseminate any information that I post.  (Most ironically, this post is being copied from profile to profile.)

First of all, let’s deal with the obvious: if you really want something to stay private, don’t post it to Facebook!

Now that that’s out of the way, what’s UCC 1-103 1-308 and does it actually give you any rights to prevent anyone from using the info that you post to Facebook?  (I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say no.  Just taking a wild guess…)

…Research time…

Keep Out sign on grass

Photo credit to Zack Klein

According to Wikipedia, obviously a super valid source (Don’t believe me?  Check out this article from The Chronicle of Higher Education on the error rate of Wikipedia compared to that of the Encyclopedia Britannica), the Uniform Commercial Code was originally published in 1962, but has been updated since then, to harmonize business regulations between states to facilitate interstate commerce.  (So, clearly, it was about Facebook.  Those Congress members… so ahead of their time!)

Sections 103 and 108 of the UCC discuss contract law, but only in the most general sense.  Section 103 basically says that contract laws are the law unless they’re superseded by the UCC and Section 108 says the UCC impacts the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act which itself says that consumers’ electronic signatures can be considered valid signatures.

Private Property Sign

Photo credit to Meredith Rendall Photography

Clearly neither of these sections, nor the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act, say anything (at all!) related to the claims made in the post.  So, what gives?

Rumor site Wafflesatnoon (think Snopes) posits that people are posting this information because of rumors that Facebook’s privacy policy changed with the IPO.  But, really, it’s not like Facebook’s privacy policy could get any worse.  It’s basically, “We own everything.  You don’t.”  Also, Facebook’s privacy policy hasn’t changed.  And, as referenced above, the electronic signature that we all gave Facebook when we signed up (signing away the rights to our pictures and maybe our first born child) is valid.  Posting this, or any other pseudo-legal mumbo jumbo to your profile doesn’t change the fact that Facebook owns the rights to everything that you post. 

So, here’s my advice.  Don’t post it on your profile.  To borrow from internet slang, it makes you look like a n00b. It’s Facebook’s world, we just post in it.

Questions of the day: Have you posted it on your profile?  Have your friends?  Does it bother you that you don’t own the copyright to the information that you post on Facebook?  Enough to do anything about it?


Formerly MaggieCakes, Maggie (not Margaret) covers technology’s impact on culture, specifically on how we interact or connect with each other. Have a question or an idea you’d like me to write about? Leave a comment, or send me an e-mail: moc.teragramtoneiggam@eiggam

18 Responses to “You’re not a lawyer, don’t play one on Facebook”

  1. minnesotatransplant June 4, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Thanks, Maggie Cakes, for the fast post on this. I started seeing this on my friend’s timelines just tonight. I knew it was … Um … Noobish. Now I have backup.

  2. Joanna Oz-Davis June 5, 2012 at 12:36 am #

    I’ve seen that post on another facebook page and wondered what the smurf it was all about. (SMURFing is my unswear. If it’s an issue feel free to delete) Anywho, yeah, I find it kinda backward that people are doing that. Like it’s gonna stop what’s been going on, pretty much since day one, no doubt. With ANY website…chat lines, etc, ya spins that wheel and takes your chances. Anyone so concerned about privacy issues should NOT even have internet hook up!

  3. maryann milburn June 5, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    Thank you for elaborating on this matter :)

  4. Melissa Sharp June 5, 2012 at 9:33 am #

    THANK GOD YOU SAID THIS B/C I AM GOING NUTS SEEING IT ON PPLE’S FB PAGE!!!

    • KB June 6, 2012 at 10:16 pm #

      Why stop at FB?

      PRIVACY NOTICE: Warning – any person and/or institution and/or Agent and/or Agency of any governmental structure including but not limited to the United States Federal Government also using or monitoring/using this website or any of its associated websites, you do NOT have my permission to utilize any of my profile information nor any of the content contained herein including, but not limited to my photos, and/or the comments made about my photos or any other “picture” art posted on my profile.

      You are hereby notified that you are strictly prohibited from disclosing, copying, distributing, disseminating, or taking any other action against me with regard to this profile and the contents herein. The foregoing prohibitions also apply to your employee , agent , student or any personnel under your direction or control.

      The contents of this profile are private and legally privileged and confidential information, and the violation of my personal privacy is punishable by law. UCC 1-103 1-308 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED WITHOUT PREJUDICE

  5. Jeff September 12, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    You must get a lot of hits to your page as many of your guests are doing a click through to my photo….thanks

    I enjoyed your article
    J

    • Maggie O'Toole September 13, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

      Thanks Jeff. I hope I’m crediting the photos okay. Unfortunately, no one gives you the “rules” on doing that when you start a blog. Don’t know why the traffic on this page blew up a few days ago — looks like someone with a ton of fans/friends shared it on Facebook.

      • nicole September 14, 2012 at 9:48 pm #

        After seeing the nonsense posts on facebook I decided to google the UCC code because I was surprised that someone went all that length to even include a code and your blog came up as the fifth result under google. Maybe others are doing as me and also going the next step and posting to facebook as well.

      • Maggie O'Toole September 15, 2012 at 6:34 am #

        I hope so. Beyond being annoyed at all the nonsense, I think it’s important for people to understand their rights on social media. Unfortunately, users don’t have a lot of rights on Facebook, but there are ways to protect their privacy. Posting sections of the UCC just isn’t one of them.

      • Joanna Oz-Davis September 15, 2012 at 1:39 pm #

        Hi! As far as all things facebook related, I pretty much keep myself to myself. General stuff but nothing TOO personal. I did post a status report of a bout of Sciatica, but nothing more drastic. But yeah, it pays to be careful. I’ve heard that stuff said on facebook can be used as evidence in court. People with legal issues would do well to keep a regular paper journal and hide it under a floorboard or in the vegetable crisper.

        As far as UCC …. what do those initials mean? I see them on my proboards page, and I’m sure they mean some sort of code that you can get on some sites, related to pictures, but no one explains. They simply assume everyone knows what those initials stand for. Thanks! :)

  6. Rob October 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

    In the ToS it says the following:

    For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.

    Facebook does not own anything you post, but they do have an unrestricted license to use it granted by you, not ‘explicitly on a per-time basis’ but rather as a ‘general term of use’ that agreed upon when you create your facebook account, ergo creating an umbrella policy over all content on Facebook.

  7. tom bridges October 5, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    what if I own my photos and have all the copyrights register certificates way before they wear posted on FB

  8. rgonnerm October 28, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

    UCC Uniform Commercial Code http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Commercial_Code

  9. Ricky December 13, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Hey I happened to stumble upon this site while trying to research UCC 1-308. I thought sharing my vague understanding of the UCC will maybe shed some light on the subject. The Uniform Commercial Code is basically a bunch of laws of commerce. UCC Article 1 Section 308 was enacted to protect a business or individual from unknowingly giving up rights by agreeing to specific contract terms. In the law of commerce certain wording in legal or financial situations can be considered as contracting into some sort of an agreement. By stating “All rights reserved” or writing it and/or “UCC 1-308″ you are reserving your constitutional rights over any contract you sign or agree to. However not all “citizens” can use Uniform Commercial Code 1-308 legitimately until proper notice is filed to government and/or non-government agencies that I am not sure of at this time. Chances are the people posting this stuff on facebook do not have even the slightest comprehension of what the Code is about and are just following a trend. There is whole lot more to it, what I stated is a very basic outline.

  10. Chris Freeman February 17, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    Mrs. O’Toole,
    We may not be actual Lawyers, but unfortunately you act like we don’t have the right or rights to protect ourselves.
    Just because FaceBook or any other website want to hide an not explain their Legal Jargon or anything you can do on their website or any other website.
    Does not mean we don’t have the right to protect our rights what so ever, in America or anywhere else in this world.
    So instead of breaking something down and saying there isn’t nothing you can do to protect yourself, except of just staying off a computer, why not find the actual law we can use to protect ourselves with, an explain what the stuff is all about, you are so vague in any of this, maybe you need to do some more research yourself. Before trying to explain something you yourself don’t understand, an cannot even start to really comprehend, an only tell just half of what it is, not even explaining it all the way on all of it.

    Please! Next time before you do a response on something next time cover all the aspects of the entirety of the subject. Us dumb people would least love that from a person that calls us a bunch of idiots. Thanx!

    Sincerely!
    Chris Freeman

  11. dreamingbanshee June 27, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    I just have my Facebook profile open to the public, I don’t care if everyone on earth and in the US government sees it. As far as Wikipedia goes, it’s very unreliable and I never use it. If you want to look something up go to the library and get a printed book; remember them?

  12. Man August 3, 2013 at 7:17 am #

    What’s laughable to me is that this so called writer, and most other people, falsely believe that you have to be a member of the bar cult to study law. ROFL!!!!!!!!!

  13. Garret August 31, 2013 at 10:01 pm #

    Well sadly, towards the end of Margaret’s dithering, pseudo-intellectual comments on sections 1-103 & 1-308 of the UCC, she somehow converts 1-308 into 1-108….? Feckless attention to detail hardly makes for sound commentary; neither does citing Wikipedia. e.g. UCC was not officially codified in 192, it was actually in 1952, and then for 10 years an update was in the works, and subsequently published in 1962. Way to fact-check Maggie/Margaret ;)

    For those who wish to learn more ,the UCC (Uniform Commercial Code) affords one incredible powers under Commercial Law. Why does this matter? Well for example, when one reads extensively as to the inalienable rights it re-connects one with through using the UCC, one can discharge all ‘debts’ as they are all fraudulently made by banks and creditors around the world. The UCC as it were is just the U.S.’ brand name for Commercial Law (it exists for almost all nations under some name and is currently in use), which supersedes all Constitutions, of all nations, and is the ruling law that codifies all transactions on the planet. Even the vast majority of attorneys are not aware of this fact, as they are essentially told its ‘esoteric law’ and since they are not tested in the BAR Exam, they are not bothered with it. Much like Western-trained M.D.’s know next to nothing about Nutrition, the building blocks of life. Hmmnn could that be one reason why doctors seem so ill-equipped to deal and treat dis-ease?

    What Maggie has chosen to so woefully represent, has powers for the entire world that ironically are very important and is very apropos to today’s legal landscape. In fact 3 filings made at the end of 2012 have utterly re-defined the legal landscape!

    Proof: for those interested, look here and you can find these 3 filings registered on the white house’s own website, here – https://gov.propertyinfo.com/DC-Washington/ (registration required)

    (Refer: DECLARATION OF FACTS: UCC Doc # 2012127914 Nov 28 2012)

    (Refer: TRUE BILL: WA DC UCC Doc# 2012114776 Oct 24 2012)

    (DECLARATION AND ORDER: UCC Doc # 2012096074, Sept. 09 2012)

    They are now rock, solid and stand as Absolute Truth in law. All 3 filings stand as unrebutted in the system and cannot be change as such, due to tacit procurement. I would have hoped Maggie would have done some research with her working for several yeas after college in some law capacity. Whew, so much for fact-based discussions!

    Maggie, I truly hope for anyone who reads your blog, that you have the courage to allow this post in your comments section. I write this and share this information because it imperative that we all stand in truth and take responsibility for what’s be done against us, by the system.

    Love & light to you all.

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