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Lifestyles of the Bitch and Blog Famous

From The Desk of Schadenfreude Esq.: What’s Good for Facebook is Good for America

02.17.09 by Matty | 17 Comments | Digg This

Remember that time that The Internet threw a fit about their information being made available to advertisers on Facebook? Or that time that The Internet threw a fit about Google Chrome’s End User License Agreement?

I mean, both of these were more than a month ago, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you didn’t.

Anyways, it’s happening again. The seemingly omnipresent, over-curious and under-informed Joe Blogger has taken drastic offense to the legalese in the newly revised Terms of Use, which seem to say that The Facebook has unlimited rights to use, publish, or turn into a five-part musical anything you post on their site.

Mark Zuckerberg responded on his Facebook blog with all sorts of nice things about respect and information, essentially the stork in the cabbage patch story to the textbook density of their legal copy:

Our philosophy that people own their information and control who they share it with has remained constant. A lot of the language in our terms is overly formal and protective of the rights we need to provide this service to you. Over time we will continue to clarify our positions and make the terms simpler.

If, after reading this, you’re still tearing your hair out worried that you’ll have to pay royalties next time you quote yourself saying “omg, lol, like totally 4 shur,” I’d like to ask you a serious question: have you ever met a fucking corporate lawyer?

In my prior work life, I had many a long and delightful discussion about contract law with a soul-sucking, flesh-eating, disgustingly well-informed and over-technical piranha of a corporate lawyer to whom I’ll refer as “Schadenfreude Esq.” The man had precisely no interest in invoking any of these clauses unless it came to litigation. He’s a corporate lawyer for fuck’s sake. He knows fine-print self-preservation like Bobby Fischer knows endgames. He’s paid an exorbitant salary and bills a jaw-dropping per diem to ensure two things: that a company cannot be gruesomely fucked in the ass over a contract dispute, and that a company can gruesomely fuck someone in the ass over a contract dispute.

If you don’t get it, shut the fuck up. That’s why you’re unemployed. Have another bowl of Cap’n Crunch get back to your JO&C time.

My point here is threefold:

  1. The facebook is covering its corporate ass. The contract reads like a contract. Look over the terms of use for every piece of software you’ve ever used, spend a long evening with a snifter of brandy, a magnifying glass, and your credit card agreements, and then get back to me.
  2. Jesus fucking Christ, like you were going to write Finnegans Wake on someone’s wall or some shit? If all those tear-stained letters to Farrar, Strauss, and Giroux couldn’t get you published, I doubt Mark Zuckerberg’s going to suddenly make a cool mil off your self-indulgent status updates.
  3. THERE IS NO FACEBOOK CONSPIRACY. Really, this is getting out of hand. You voluntarily signed up to post the intimate details of your relationships and broadcast photos of yourself butt naked and vomiting into a policeman’s hat. The Facebook is a website that allows you to do so, and to continue to do so for free, and you clearly don’t understand how they are able to do so and stay in business. Let the man work.

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