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Google Businesses The Internet Your Rights Online

Google Claims User Content In Multiple Products 166

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the because-they-can dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Google last week removed some language in its Chrome browser's terms of service that gave the company a license to any material displayed in the browser, but that language remains in several other Google products, including its Picasa photo service and its Blogger service."
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Google Claims User Content In Multiple Products

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  • Uh Oh! (Score:5, Funny)

    by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:54AM (#24946785) Journal

    ... including its Picasa photo service ...

    You mean they own my bestiality pics?

    ... and its Blogger service.

    And my death threats?

    Man, they are going to have some serious legal issues ... and they aren't even going to be from me!

  • Not a story (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatmanNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:54AM (#24946793) Homepage Journal

    How is this a story? The language is fairly common among services that allow user materials to be uploaded. It has been in Google's standard TOS for years now. The only reason why it came to light with Chrome is that the language didn't make a lick of sense in that context. Since you weren't uploading user-generated content, Google's TOS read as if they auto-claimed the entire internet.

    "View this page and it's ours! MWHAHAHA!"

    Not only is that an unenforcable statement, but it's a downright ridiculous statement, as well. That is why it was removed. Nothing more, nothing less.

    The only difference I see between the standard content license that Google uses and the license of their competitors is that many competitors choose to limit the license to the length of your membership. After such a time they "make a reasonable effort" to remove any content you request removed. It's up to you, the consumer, to decide if a perpetual license is more bothersome than a "best effort" license limited to the period that you maintain membership.

    • Re:Not a story (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @10:58AM (#24946865)

      Google's official explanation to why it was in Chrome was "Ah, it was left there as remains from our other services. Sorry, we'll remove it from that one.

      And a week later, Slashdot realizes that it actually is in Google's other services.

      • Re:Not a story (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Danga (307709) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:20AM (#24947217)

        Google's official explanation to why it was in Chrome was "Ah, it was left there as remains from our other services. Sorry, we'll remove it from that one.

        And a week later, Slashdot realizes that it actually is in Google's other services.

        My question is why was this in ANY of their services TOS? I thought Googles motto was "Don't be evil"? Well to me trying to get free rights to others content is evil, I don't care if that is how other similar services are setup either, Google should be different or lose the motto.

        If I were to setup something like Picasa then I would want to word the TOS in a way such that the ALL rights to uploaded pictures stay with the original owner. I think hijacking those rights (what percentage of users actually look at the TOS?) in a stupid legal document is just about the definition of evil (even if nothing is done with the user content)!

        IMO no company should use user content for promotional purposes or for any other reason without explicitly asking them first. Having junk like this in the TOS just allows companies to have a free supply of advertising materials among other uses.

        • by David Gerard (12369) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:28AM (#24947353) Homepage

          "We're Google. We know where you live. In a, like, totally non-evil way."

          • Re:Not a story (Score:4, Insightful)

            by caluml (551744) <slashdot AT spam ... OT calum DOT org> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:54AM (#24947789) Homepage

            We know where you live

            ... what porn you search for, any medical conditions, who you email, who you IM and what you say, what regions you look at on maps.google.com, who views your pictures, what ads you click on, etc.

            If I ever went for an interview at Google, I wouldn't need to tell them a thing - they can just look it up, and crunch it through some sort of suitability formula.

            • You'd think they'd job the application process entirely. Based on usage patterns and IPs they can determine largely who is who and find their best cantidates.... Though really Google is probably looking for the neurotic /.er that cycles IPs and creates multiple identities to hide himself from 'them'.

        • Re:Not a story (Score:5, Insightful)

          by 42forty-two42 (532340) <bdonlan@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:31AM (#24947411) Homepage Journal
          The rights do stay with the uploader. But Google needs a license from the uploader to display the material at all - and that's the purpose of the relevant segment of the TOS. As for promotional images, it'd make sense that they can take screenshots and etc of their service, no? If you want a service that promises never to commercialize your content ever, you should be paying for it. And the promotional rights terminate as well "within a commercially reasonable period after such Content is removed"
          • Re:Not a story (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Danga (307709) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:08PM (#24948025)

            The rights do stay with the uploader. But Google needs a license from the uploader to display the material at all - and that's the purpose of the relevant segment of the TOS. As for promotional images, it'd make sense that they can take screenshots and etc of their service, no? If you want a service that promises never to commercialize your content ever, you should be paying for it. And the promotional rights terminate as well "within a commercially reasonable period after such Content is removed

            Yes, I understand the need for the clause to allow the site to function as intented but on the other hand I do have a problem when there is a free for all grab of ALL user content which can be used for ANY purpose. If the site is a photo-sharing site then the TOS should only try to retain a license to display images and maybe text, etc.

            As to the promotional aspect I think it is lame of them to say they need the rights to all user content. Just have an employee make an account for promotional purposes, problem solved. If a user has a page that is really out of the ordinary and would work for promotional purposes then ASK THEM for permission, if the site is free they probably will allow usage of the content and if not oh well.

            Google specifically states in the UTOS a license to use user content for promotional purposes in section 11.1 and that is my biggest gripe:

            By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

            State what you need to state in the TOS to let the site FUNCTION, but adding in extra rights by default in order to get free promotional material among other uses is BS.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Kleen13 (1006327)

            The rights do stay with the uploader. But Google needs a license from the uploader to display the material at all - and that's the purpose of the relevant segment of the TOS. As for promotional images, it'd make sense that they can take screenshots and etc of their service, no? If you want a service that promises never to commercialize your content ever, you should be paying for it. And the promotional rights terminate as well "within a commercially reasonable period after such Content is removed"

            That was refreshing to hear. Take your free stuff and move along. All paying customers please complain in an orderly manner.

          • > The rights do stay with the uploader. But Google needs a license from the uploader to
            > display the material at all - and that's the purpose of the relevant segment of the TOS.

            Such a license is implicit in the act of uploading the material that you know is going to display it. If an explicit license were necessary Usenet would not exist.

            I don't see why it matters, though. Surely no one uploads anything important to any of these advertising-supported services.

            • by Eivind (15695)

              True enough.

              But such an implicit license would not gice Google the rigth to use your material for other purposes, such as advertising their service.

              So you're right; Google doesn't "need" this to be able to operate the service, that's nonsense.

              They "need" it to be able to use your material for purposes OTHER than operating the service.

        • by g0dsp33d (849253)
          SHhhhh! Lets keep this on topic of how we can keep the Google did blank stories which mention chrome on the front page.
        • by devilspgd (652955) *

          Have you read the particular paragraph you're bitching about, or are you just bitching?

          By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display.

          If you were to upload content but retain all rights, Google doesn't have the right to show said content to the world. In other words, it'

        • My question is why was this in ANY of their services TOS?

          Because Google services, in order to function properly, need to copy and redistribute user-uploaded content with, in the absence of a license, could potentially be construed as a violation of copyright. The inclusion of the license in the TOS protects them against lawsuits for the normal operation of services which involve sharing material which may be protected by copyright.

          If I were to setup something like Picasa then I would want to word the TOS in

        • by enomar (601942)
          http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2008/09/update-to-google-chromes-terms-of.html [blogspot.com] "This section is included because, under copyright law, Google needs what's called a "license" to display or transmit content. So to show a blog, we ask the user to give us a license to the blog's content. (The same goes for any other service where users can create content.) But in all these cases, the license is limited to providing the service."
        • If I were to setup something like Picasa then I would want to word the TOS in a way such that the ALL rights to uploaded pictures stay with the original owner. I think hijacking those rights (what percentage of users actually look at the TOS?) in a stupid legal document is just about the definition of evil (even if nothing is done with the user content)!

          All rights do stay with the original owner. Google simply has a _license_ to them, which is necessary to publish them as search results. If you do not want them to show up in searches, a Google picture service probably ain't the best place to post them.

          Furthermore, if you're not remotely interested in the TOS, odds are your photographs aren't worth diddly squat anyway, especially since Google has billions to choose from. Why yours? They suck! ;p

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's not a story, it's more of an attempt to cause hysteria against Google. The sad thing is, many lemmings are going to buy into this as "new" and be up in arms, ignorantly thinking that other companies aren't doing the same with their EULAs.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ubrgeek (679399)
        Agreed. I'm getting tired of people throwing out "but they said 'do no evil'." I swear, it's like the new version of Godwin's law. Don't like the TOS? Don't use the product. Find something else. And most of all, stop looking for conspiracies.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's really stupid to think this is any kind of a story. These TOS are not about Google appropriating anyone's intellectual property. It's just a bit of legal CYA.

      Without provisions like these, it's possible to imagine an interpretation of copyright law under which Google's copies of your uploaded content constitute infringement. Obviously that's not the way Google or its users intend the law to be construed, but it's best to have these things explicitly spelled out.

    • Re:Not a story (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:16AM (#24947155)

      How is this a story? The language is fairly common among services that allow user materials to be uploaded.

      It's not a story. It's stupid fearmongering perpetuated by blazing fuckwits who like to hop on the hate bandwagon.

      These kinds of terms are necessary for services where copyrighted material is hosted. Otherwise, they don't have permission to serve your content to other users, which is the whole point of the service.

      From Slashdot's terms of use [sourceforge.com]:

      In each such case, the submitting user grants SourceForge the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the terms of any applicable license.

      Everybody who thinks this is some kind of evil scheme by Google to rob content should now leave Slashdot, for they are doing exactly the same thing.

      • Everybody who thinks this is some kind of evil scheme by Google to rob content should now leave Slashdot, for they are doing exactly the same thing.

        Fine! I'm leaving forever! Just as soon as I retire...

      • Re:Not a story (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Otto (17870) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:31AM (#24947407) Homepage Journal

        I wish I could mod you above 5 points.

        Those terms are REQUIRED for Google to be able to display your content.

        Let's examine them carefully, eh?
        "By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display."

        So, what exactly are we giving Google here?

        Basically, it's a license to display the content. Hey, they sorta need that if I'm uploading photos for the purpose of them actually displaying it on the internet.

        They have a "perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license". Meaning that they can display those pictures without paying me for them, worldwide, forever. Okay, the irrevocable part sucks, because if I take the content offline, I'd like it to be actually taken offline, but that's a minor legal thing that's probably there because they can't guarantee that what with their caching schemes and such.

        They can "reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute". Reproduction is required in order to publish/perform/display/distribute the photos. Adapt, modify, translate applies to resizing, cropping, that sort of thing.

        This is a non-story, people. They are not taking the copyright away, they are asking for the legal ability to do *what you want them to actually do*. Which is basically to host your content.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by MikeURL (890801)
          I'm sorry but having "perpetual and irrevocable" in there is ridiculous. I don't care if that is how the whole online world does it--it still stinks.

          NO company needs a perpetual and irrevocable right to my uploaded content (unless they buy it). Do they need a world-wide and royalty-free license for a reasonable amount of time? Of course but the perpetual and irrevocable part set my teeth on edge.

          And yes, I understand they do this simply because it is easier than trying to come up with timeframes fo
          • "perpetual and irrevocable" avoids administrative hell. Atleast perpetual, irrevocable could possibly be changed without too much pain. I'm sure it would still cost them tons of money to restructure picassa.

        • Yeah, the post from Google regarding this is here [blogspot.com].

          Note this:

          You'll notice if you look at our other products that many of them are governed by Section 11 of our Universal Terms of Service. This section is included because, under copyright law, Google needs what's called a "license" to display or transmit content.

        • Re:Not a story (Score:4, Insightful)

          by pmontra (738736) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @12:02PM (#24947915) Homepage

          As TFA points out, that means that Google might use your and mine pictures to publish a photo book without paying neither you nor me.

          I'm not using Picasa, but if I did I'd use it to show my pictures to my friends, not to give Google the right of doing whatever they want with my content. Similar ToS apply to Google Docs too: that means that Google might mail me all your docs, after all that's part of publicly distribute but would you like it?

          Google's Terms of Use are too broad and they give Google some rights that are unrelated with the service that they say are providing. This is the whole point of the article and I think that they have a story. The fact that other companies have similar ToS just makes all the story worse: it's not Google bashing, it's bashing a whole industry and it's about our privacy. I think that I'll start again to read ToS and select accurately which service to use and which not.

          The docs I care about are moving out of Google Docs now.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Danga (307709)

          You left out the next sentence in the UTOS for Google which specifically states they want a license to user content for PROMOTIONAL PURPOSES:

          This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

          How is using user content for promotional purposes required by Google in order for a service to function? (I won't even get into the free for all grab of ALL user content in

      • by pmontra (738736)

        Well, this is a story. Maybe Slashdot should explain us why it's necessary that we grant it all those rights on our posts. They seem much broader than what's required to display our posts, quote somebody else's statements, backup and move them to new servers and media as technology progresses.

        Google should do the same for their license and their services.

        • by reebmmm (939463)

          Well, for this one: "incorporate it into... works in any form, media" is just in case someone wants to make a book of all posts marked "Redundant."

    • The only reason why it came to light with Chrome is that the language didn't make a lick of sense in that context. Since you weren't uploading user-generated content, Google's TOS read as if they auto-claimed the entire internet

      That's not quite correct--the reason it was a problem in Chrome is that users of a browser DO often upload content. For example, you yourself almost certainly used a browser to upload your post to Slashdot, and I am using a browser to upload my response.

      The key is that with Chrome,

  • Being a stickler for the details, I wanted to use Picassa, but as a photographer I didn't want them to claim ownership over what I produce. I don't even enter competitions if the organisers want to use my imagery for all eternity. Then being a newbie blogger, I wanted to blog using googles' blogspot. Again same crappy terms discouraged me from producing my own content for somebody else to own.
    • Re:Thing is (Score:5, Informative)

      by reebmmm (939463) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:24AM (#24947273)

      I believe the terms apply to Google's web version of Picassa; not to the fat client. For that purpose, the terms make perfect sense the moment you put an ounce of thought into it. Without the license (either expressed or implied), Google couldn't distribute (e.g. transmit it to a web browser) because that would be a copyright violation.

      And, for clarity, you don't transfer ownership of your copyrights and give Google a LICENSE for a very specific purpose:

      11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

    • Re:Thing is (Score:4, Informative)

      by Neon Spiral Injector (21234) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:28AM (#24947351)

      So you went with WordPress which has this in their ToS:

      "By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog."

      Which is the same thing Google is saying. Every blog/photo/user-created-content service out there has to have that language in their ToS, else they couldn't serve your data. The only way around it is to host the data on your own server.

      • keywords being 'soley for the purpose of displaying,distributing and promoting your blog'.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Which is the same as Google's:

          "...you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, publish and distribute such Content on Google services for the purpose of displaying and distributing Google services."

        • by Kz (4332)

          keywords being 'soley for the purpose of displaying,distributing and promoting your blog'.

          interesting point. the closest to this in google's ToS is "This licence is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services"; which could be interpreted similarly since for a well meaning lawyer, "the services" might be "your blog/album/mail/etc"...

          but who has ever heard of a well meaning lawyer?

          i for one don't care about those ToS'es, but would be very nice if Google improved this specific sentence.

    • by Dynedain (141758)

      As a photographer you should be able to recognize the difference between ownership and a royalty-free license for use.

  • Bah (Score:3, Informative)

    by zulater (635326) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:20AM (#24947221)
    From how I read the TOS (INAL and all that), it seems that they just own the rights to reproduce your stuff onto other people's screens not that they own the "stuff" indefinitely or even at all. They are just covering their butt so you can't say "I never gave you permission to display this to x person".
  • I am fully confident that Google will maintain complete confidentiality within the marketing department of whatever their applications access concerning your confidential business data, bank account details, medical information, personal preferences in pornography and DNA sequence. And they only take ownership of my stuff for good, decent and proper ad selection. They're not evil [today.com], remember. It said so in their prospectus.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:29AM (#24947373) Homepage

    Otherwise, they, well, couldn't distribute your blog or your photo album!

  • Would it kill someone to link to an article that not only puts the entire thing on one page, and without all of those unnecessary frames, but at least has a print version that isn't exactly like the original?

  • by Vexorian (959249)
    SUCH A GREAT FIND! google's service ToS say the same they did last day, I take it is very hard to understand that when you want google to host your stuff you are... giving google the right to host it, and that google would rather not have you suing them if after they restore a backup a file you deleted comes back... Oh sorry, "google is der evil!"
  • by pdboddy (620164) <pdboddy@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @11:41AM (#24947579) Homepage Journal
    Check just about any service that allows you to upload content. Facebook. Geocities. MicroSoft sites are covered by a blanket TOS/TOE/EULA as well, with almost the exact same language.

    This is a story how?

    A few years too late.

    From Slashdot's terms of use, linked there at the bottom of the page...

    6. LICENSING AND OTHER TERMS APPLYING TO CONTENT POSTED ON THE SourceForge SITES:

    Use, reproduction, modification, and other intellectual property rights to data stored on the SourceForge Sites will be subject to licensing arrangements that may be approved by SourceForge as applicable to such Content. For the SourceForge Site SourceForge.net, use, reproduction, modification, and other intellectual property rights to data stored in CVS or as a file release and posted by any user on SourceForge.net ("Source Code") shall be subject to the OSI-approved license applicable to such Source Code, or to such other licensing arrangements as may be approved by SourceForge.net as applicable to such Source Code.

    With respect to text or data entered into and stored by publicly-accessible site features such as forums, comments and bug trackers ("SourceForge Public Content"), the submitting user retains ownership of such SourceForge Public Content; with respect to publicly-available statistical content which is generated by the site to monitor and display content activity, such content is owned by SourceForge. In each such case, the submitting user grants SourceForge the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the terms of any applicable license.

    With respect to Content posted to private areas of the SourceForge Site SourceForge.net (e.g., private development tools or mail), the submitting user may grant to SourceForge or other SourceForge.net users such rights and licenses as the submitting SourceForge.net user deems appropriate.

    Content located on any SourceForge-hosted subdomain which is subject to the sole editorial control of the owner or licensee of such subdomain, shall be subject to the appropriate license applicable to such Content, or to such other licensing arrangements as may be approved by SourceForge as applicable to such Content.

    From Picasa's Terms of Service, section 4.

    Your Rights

    Google claims no ownership or control over any Content submitted, posted or displayed by you on or through Picasa Web Albums. You or a third party licensor, as appropriate, retain all patent, trademark and copyright to any Content you submit, post or display on or through Picasa Web Albums and you are responsible for protecting those rights, as appropriate. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through Picasa Web Albums, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content through Picasa Web Albums, including RSS or other content feeds offered through Picasa Web Albums, and other Google services. In addition, by submitting, posting or displaying Content which is intended to be available to the general public, you grant Google a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license to reproduce, adapt, distribute and publish such Content for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting Google services. Google will discontinue this licensed use within a commercially reasonable period after such Content is removed from Picasa Web Albums. Google reserves the right to refuse to accept, post, display or transmit any Content in its sole discretion.

    Look at the two bold sections for Slashdot and Google respectively... looks almost exactly the same. You'll find that sentence, almost exactly the same each time, for every site that takes
    • by pdboddy (620164)
      All this really is, is proof that no one reads the TOS/TOE/EULA. Don't act effing surprised if you can't be bothered to read what you're agreeing to.

      If you read this post, you agree to send me five dollars via paypal. :)

      Now to wait for the profits...
    • For what it's worth, the Picasa TOS you cite appear to be out of date; I assume you referring to the TOS here: http://picasa.google.com/web/tos.html [google.com]. If you click the link "Privacy Notice" and then click back to the link "Terms of Service," you are brought to the standard Google TOS, not the older Picasa TOS. The only link I could find to the older Picasa TOS was (ironically) using Google search.

      Note that the Google TOS do not limit its rights to material that is "intended to be available to the general p

  • If Google is giving you free storage and services, then you can't complain if they want to derive some value from your content. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and Google will make sure that it's not footing the bill and getting nothing out of it.
    • by pdboddy (620164)
      That's what gets me, people acting surprised by this. I can understand people wondering why such language was included in the TOS for Chrome, and they were lining up to jump on the "Lets bash Google" bandwagon... only to act sheepish when Google admitted it was a case of copy'n'paste-itis.

      Read what you're agreeing to, if you don't like it or don't understand it, don't click the effing OK button.

      Geez... no wonder the I-Love-U virus did so well.
  • This language means if they take a screen shot of Blogger for advertising or other purposes and it happens to include your blog you don't get to sue them over it.

  • Evil vs !Evil (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by matt_martin (159394)

    They are following the cues of our government:

    Say you are not evil, while you do very evil things.

    This behavior will not change until we forcefully insist.

  • which is why I pulled my blog off blogspot a couple of years ago when I first noticed that clause. (Via a Slashdot post, I think?) And it's also why I never started using picasaweb.

    Once Flickr was engulfed by Yahoo, there was a similar change in their TOS. The usual we-can-use-whatever-we-want-when-we-want. I left Flickr.

    Sure, it's a ridiculous TOS that probably wouldn't stand up in court. Sure, all these companies "don't mean it." Until they do.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by pdboddy (620164)
      Yet you're still posting on Slashdot, which has the same clause.
      • by quixote9 (999874)
        Well, it might tell you how much I think my comments on Slashdot are worth. Glad to see you noticing, though, since it means you think ownership of my comments is worth worrying about. ;-)
        • by pdboddy (620164)
          Hehe, but if you removed your blog from blogspot, it means you're worried about who own's your blog. :P Is not a blog and slashdot comments along the same lines, in being public and in the ease of people being able to comment on, copy and email and so forth?
  • The license to distribute the content is not the issue: Google needs a license in order to be able to display content to the public. The only issues have to do with the terms of license regarding duration and purpose.

    First, the license is "perpetual" and "irrevocable." In other words, there is no legal remedy for a user to terminate the license. (Other Google services, like YouTube, modify the duration.)

    Second, the license specifically grants Google the right to use content to "promote" services. This i

    • by pdboddy (620164)
      It remains to be seen whether or not the EULA would withstand scrutiny in a court of law.

      And yes, the TOS could allow Google to do that. Just as Yahoo's could allow it to do that, from their sites, and MS could do it, and FaceBook, and so on and so forth. It's STANDARD language in content companies' terms of use. Slashdot could put out a book, "Idiots who post here.", and use our posts as examples.

      And the moral of the story is: Read the fucking license agreement. :)
      • Actually, Yahoo could not easily put out a book of images from Flickr. Their TOS specify that the license is "solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted." Even if they wiggled around these terms, a photographer could terminate the license: "This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Service and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo! removes such Content from the Service."

        I fully agree that you should read the license agreement, bu

        • by pdboddy (620164)
          Just start reading the terms of service for internet content companies. Facebook, Yahoo, MS, Photobucket, the list goes on... they have a similar clause in their terms of use. Not sure how many have "unlimited" though, but I'll bet it's more than just Google. I say standard because so many of them do have it.
  • Google seems to be going in two different directions with these licensing terms, Abrams said. "One thing is to abide by their 'do no evil' creed, but also claim as many rights as possible," he said. "This is a typical corporate response: Try to get as much as you can and back off if forced to."

    The terms have said explicitly that no copyright is claimed from the outset. It sounds like a typical journalistic response: make as many inaccurate, sensational, ad-catching claims as possible, and back off if for
  • So they use their Universal Terms of Service universally? And this is new why?
  • I'm currently dealing with a hosting service that wants a copy of my driver's license before allowing me SSH access. Because their support operation is outsourced (not clear to where), I asked if the information would be transmitted outside the United States, and was verbally told "no". So I sent an agreement to them for signature, addressed to their general counsel:

    Data protection Any personal identity information disclosed under this agreement to "APlus.net" shall be held in confidence. Said informat

  • For example, there is complaining about statements with the general "perpetual and irrevocable right to retain and store copies of user submitted data".

    Have you ever done backups?

    If you store any user-submitted content, and the user deletes part of it, are you really going to go through all of your securely stored backup media and alter these backups by deleting that content? If not, then these terms are abolutely neccesary in order to comply with the copyright legislation while maintaining your backup data

  • TANSTAAFL (Score:3, Insightful)

    by soxos (614545) on Wednesday September 10, 2008 @02:47PM (#24950533) Homepage Journal
    TANSTAAFL [wikipedia.org]

    You really think Gmail's free?

Is a person who blows up banks an econoclast?

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