If you've been on Facebook over the last few days, you've probably seen that some of your friends have posted a copyright notice as their status update.

The message suggests that the poster has copyrighted all the material on their Facebook page thanks to the authority of something called the Berner Convention. Here is the full text of the update:

In response to the new Facebook guidelines I hereby declare that my copyright is attached to all of my personal details, illustrations, graphics, comics, paintings, photos and videos, etc. (as a result of the Berner Convention). For commercial use of the above my written consent is needed at all times!

(Anyone reading this can copy this text and paste it on their Facebook Wall. This will place them under protection of copyright laws.) By the present communiqué, I notify Facebook that it is strictly forbidden to disclose, copy, distribute, disseminate, or take any other action against me on the basis of this profile and/or its contents. The aforementioned prohibited actions also apply to employees, students, agents and/or any staff under Facebook's direction or control. The content of this profile is private and confidential information. The violation of my privacy is punished by law (UCC 1 1-308-308 1-103 and the Rome Statute).

 

Facebook is now an open capital entity. All members are recommended to publish a notice like this, or if you prefer, you may copy and paste this version. If you do not publish a statement at least once, you will be tacitly allowing the use of elements such as your photos as well as the information contained in your profile status updates…

Sounds great, doesn't it? Now you have a copyright on all those photos of turkey and stuffing you just posted.

Actually, you don't. Facebook's terms of service, which you e-signed when you started your Facebook account, explicitly states that you're giving the social network site a "non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook."

So basically they can do whatever they want with anything you post. And nothing -- not even the "Berner" Convention (or the Berne Convention) -- is going to change that.

If you don't like it all you have to do is delete your Facebook account and ask for your money back. Oh, wait. Never mind.