There has been a lot of discussion surrounding Facebook’s newly revised Terms of Service (TOS), and for good reason. The wording has been changed to imply that Facebook reserves the right to do whatever it wants with the content you add to your profile, even after you have disabled your account.
Now that the matter has gotten so much press, Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg and other site representatives have been quick to qualify these changes to the TOS. While the matter may not be as dire as it originally seemed, the whole controversy has served a useful purpose: to remind people of the (potentially thorny) legal framework undergirding internet content. It is a matter that we have encountered many times in the construction of NINES as an aggregator and peer reviewer of online scholarship.
It occurred to me to blog about this when I saw a colleague’s post on Twitter about the situation: he revealed that a couple of poets have decided to stop posting their working drafts on Facebook in light of their understanding of the Terms of Service. I completely understand their reservations, but what really struck me was this: in its essence, using a social software tool like Facebook to revise and comment upon each other’s work is a GREAT idea. However, to do it properly, one must use a site that respects and supports your authorship, perhaps through Creative Commons Licenses.
As a “thematic aggregator”, that is, we specialize in nineteenth-century studies, NINES doesn’t have anyone writing poetry in our (brand new) “Exhibit Builder“. The space was designed with this kind of workshopping in mind, though, and I’m interested to hear how many scholars would find such a discussion space useful. What would you do with this tool? What features would be important to include?