Berlin Court Rules Facebook Violates User Rights07/03/2012 by Intellectual Property Watch 2 CommentsShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.By Monika Ermert for Intellectual Property WatchThe District Court of Berlin, Germany, yesterday ruled that user rights were violated by several parts of social media site Facebook’s general terms and conditions and by its “friendfinder” feature. With regard to copyright law, the automatic worldwide exploitation right granted by users clicking off the terms and conditions was invalid, the court ruled.The complaint was filed by the German Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV), a non-governmental umbrella organization for 42 German consumer associations.While users may grant such exploitation rights, the project manager of the VZBV programme “surfers have rights,” Carola Elbrecht, said there was a heavy lack of transparency. German civil law bans significantly uncommon and unexpected clauses in general terms and conditions, and German copyright law dictates a reasonable compensation for authors.Lack of transparency was also the grounds on which VZBV attacked the data protection standards of Facebook. Friendfinder invitations to non-Facebook members unaware of the fact that their names and email addresses had been shared with the company are unlawful, the Berlin court ruled. Facebook users also had to be clearly made aware that in using the friendfinder feature they allowed the import of complete address books into the system. Facebook recently made changes to its terms and conditions, but the problem persisted, the VZBV said.Facebook told German media it was still considering next steps, the company still can appeal the decision.The full text of the decision will soon be published on http://www.surfer-haben-rechte.de/cps/rde/xchg/digitalrechte/.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Related"Berlin Court Rules Facebook Violates User Rights" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.