Legal and Community Advocacy/CC-BY-SA on Facebook

From Meta, a Wikimedia project coordination wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Information icon.svg Note: This page includes preliminary ideas on an issue that may be relevant to the Wikimedia community's mission to share free knowledge. This page (which includes the discussion page) is a stub to encourage community input and improvement.

If you have additional information, please improve this page.

  • The page may not be accurate, and it may fall out of date over time.
  • This page is not legal advice or a representation of the viewpoints of the Wikimedia Foundation.
  • The legal team can only represent the Wikimedia Foundation on legal matters, so this is not official advice to the community.
  • The legal team cannot provide consultations, and contacting the legal team does not create any confidential relationship.
  • This page is not intended to address a specific factual situation.

For more information on this disclaimer, see here.

Can you post CC-BY-SA content that you or the Foundation produced on Facebook?[edit]

Yes. If you are the rights-holder of the content that you have released or are going to release under CC-BY-SA, you can still license it under FB's terms. Nothing in the CC-BY-SA license prevents you from licensing your work under multiple (and incompatible) licenses. You just can't revoke the CC-BY-SA license. And the downstream users must use the content under the specific license you gave them. So, for example, if you licensed the content to FB under CC-BY-SA and under their Terms of Use, they can use the content under the terms of either license.

Can you post CC-BY-SA content that a third party produced on Facebook?[edit]

No. If you are planning on reusing CC-BY-SA content produced by a third party, you must comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA license. Section 4 of the CC-BY-SA license provides:

The license granted in Section 3 above is expressly made subject to and limited by the following restrictions:

a. You may Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work only under the terms of this License.

If you post any content on FB, you are agreeing to their Terms of Use and you are licensing that content under those Terms. At the time of this posting Section 2 of the FB Terms of Use provided:

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.

By licensing another party's CC-BY-SA content under FB's Terms of Use rather than the terms of the CC-BY-SA license, you are in violation of the CC-BY-SA license. Additionally, it's arguable that you are also in violation of FB's terms of use for representing that "You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook..."

Can you post content that includes trademarks?[edit]

Maybe. This is a more complicated question. Under a strict reading of section of FB's Terms of Use cited above, the answer would be no. Under that very vague and equally broad license, you would be giving FB license to use the Foundation's trademarks in any manner they wanted, including competition with the Foundation or representing themselves as our affiliates. And if it's a third party's marks, you don't even have the right to agree to that license.

On the other hand, from a practical standpoint, it is unlikely that FB would use the Foundation's marks in that manner. And licensing FB to use the marks doesn't mean that anyone on FB can use the marks. Only FB.

If you are concerned about content that is not just the marks, but happens to include a mark (like a picture of the office that happens to have a shot of the puzzle globe on wall in it), those images are fine to license under CC-BY-SA or any other copyright license. Even if the Foundation does not claim copyright on those images, we do claim trademark rights to the marks contained in those images. This means a reuser can use the image that contains the marks, but they cannot use the marks themselves without committing trademark infringement.

Please note that if you are not an employee or authorized representative of the Wikimedia Foundation, you may not use any of the Foundation's marks, other than uses permitted by the Foundation's Trademark Policy, without express written permission. If you would like to use the Foundation's marks or have questions about whether your use is beyond the scope of the Trademark Policy, please email trademarks -at-