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Facebook Movies; A Question of Permission

It’s the 10th anniversary of FB and, in celebration, they have collated our photographs to make a personal "lookback" movie, and they have asked us to share them on our timelines. But they haven’t obtained anyone’s permission from their thousands and millions of happy users. Is this innocent, or not? True, we are free to share or not share our FB “home movies,” and, according to a report in the newspaper today, we may soon be able to edit our movies. Does this also mean that we’ll be able to ditch the schmaltzy music, or ask the FB “automatic” collating film-making machine to delete?

The question of permission and ownership on the web is of great fiduciary concern to all artists—writers, visual artists,photographers and musicians. Why? Because we create work, own the copyright to that work, and want to be paid for it. Unless we decide to give it away.

And who started the “let’s flood FB with poetry and visual images gig?” Unless a work has outlived its copyright and is in the public domain, this is illegal. FB is a well regarded and well known company. At the very least, they are in a position to enforce copyright law. Why don’t they? If they are scanning this post, perhaps someone in FB cyberspace will answer. Otherwise, I am sure, eventually, they'll have to answer to the organizations that represent artists, photographers, writers and musicians.

In the meantime, I will Google my name every once in a while and track down various institutions and companies that have stolen my copyrighted work. And I won’t be posting a Facebook generated “movie” to my timeline.

Happy Birthday anyway.
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