German court fines Facebook $109,000 in dispute over IP license clause

A German court has fined social networking giant Facebook $109,330 for failing to comply with a court order to make amendments to its terms regarding user content, Wall Street Journal reported.

In the Facebook case, the regional court in Berlin came down heavily on Facebook’s terms that applied to German users.

According to the Facebook’s terms, users “grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP (intellectual property) content that you post on or in connection with Facebook.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook has since dropped “royalty-free” and “in connection with” from the disputed sentence in its terms for residents of Germany, the report added.

“We complied with the order to clarify a single provision in our terms concerning an IP license a while ago. The court felt we did not update our terms quickly enough and has issued a fine, which we will pay,” a Facebook spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Earlier, addressing the people at an event in Berlin, Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said there was “still work to do” and said Facebook was “committed to doing better” when it comes to hate speech.

“Hate speech has no place on Facebook and in our community. Facebook would now add migrants to its list of protected groups,” Zuckerberg said.

In a bid to answer critics that it has not done enough to tackle online racist and hate speech at a time when Europe is going through a refugee crisis, Facebook recently started a new initiative to counter extremist posts on the social networking website in Europe.

Called “Online Civil Courage Initiative”, it is based in Berlin and supported by the German Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection.

According to Facebook, it will invest one million Euros in European non-governmental organisations that are fighting online extremism.

“Facebook is not a place for the dissemination of hate speech or incitement to violence. With this new initiative, we can better understand and respond to the challenges of extremist speech on the Internet,” said Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg, while announcing the initiative in Berlin.

Facebook has faced complaints in the past that it has not done enough to take down racist and xenophobic hate speech.

In November last year, German prosecutors launched an investigation into the European head of Facebook over the social media platform’s failure to remove racist hate speech.