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Google Claims User Content In Multiple Products

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the because-they-can dept.

Google 166

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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Uh Oh! (5, Funny)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 6 years ago | (#24946785)

... 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!

Re:Uh Oh! (0, Troll)

nobodylocalhost (1343981) | more than 6 years ago | (#24946943)

So if some guy post child porn on pisca, google legally own those as well? Isn't that a federal criminal offense to distribute CP? Hmmm... Legal fiasco?

Re:Uh Oh! (3, Insightful)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947829)

They retain the right to publish them. But also retain the right to refuse to publish them. It specifically says they do not own them.

Go ahead and post them, chances are the cops will be knocking in a few hours/days, and you'll have been hoisted by your own petard. :D

Re:Uh Oh! (2, Funny)

RealGrouchy (943109) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948811)

Don't worry, they also own the free amateur legal advice I posted on my blog.

- RG>

Not a story (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24946793)

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 (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | more than 6 years ago | (#24946827)

I'd love to live in a reality where legalese like that did make sense.

Re:Not a story (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947141)

It's called practice, repetition, a dictionary and at least a basic grasp of whatever language the ToS were written in. It gets easier if you at least try.

Re:Not a story (5, Interesting)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948507)

I'm not sure that kind of legalese is supposed to make sense. It's supposed to give all rights on the most possible content to the company who commissioned the writing of the ToS, whether that's enforceable or no.

My attitude is "fuck that, I'll do what the hell I want with any content that interests me and I'm too poor to be sued out of billions."

I know the standard answers to that, yes. I'm irresponsible, stupid, yadda yadda, living in a dream world where companies won't try to force me out of billions I'll never ever have a snowflake's chance in Hell to own - look at it this way : If I ever write some music or draw some piece that $EVIL_CORP steals and make billions off of, well, I couldn't have dreamt of marketing it that well.

Case in point : innovation in chocolates. I work in a small chocolate factory, we have five range of highly varied products, most of which are true innovations, as in "never been done before". And yesterday, browsing teh intartubez, I found an other, much more recent firm, that markets their products really, really well (that is, "much better than we even dream of"), based on ideas that are ALL in our production for at least several years, and much better done. (A champagne praline? How cliché. Try Marc de Champagne. A cognac praline? Come on, use Armagnac instead!).
I suppose that, in the US, we could sue them into oblivion [if we could afford better lawyers than theirs], but we (me & my boss) just shrugged and admired the superior craftmanship of their pralines. (They're Japanese and thus can afford to produce very pretty designs that would have insanely prohibitive labour costs here in Belgium.)
And we kind of laughed to see that they were spinning their marketing around ideas we had thought of years prior (save two innovations of theirs, of which one would be insanely pricey to make here in .be, and the other would entail launching our sixth range of products), but we just silently included in our normal ranges.

My point is, innovation is easy. I, for one, have ideas all the time. What about a matrix of, say, chocolate truffles made from various chocolate origins flavoured with various coffee origins? I found that one six months ago, can't wait to see someone implement it. (_We_ would do it better anyway, because we're only ever buying the best quality available in the world - that's our most basic design principle.)

Ideas are cheap. Better : they're free. And they want to be free. They're information.
But if you want to make money, you have to implement them, which is an investment, and, most importantly, market them.
How much money you make is directly proportional to how good your marketing is.

Now back on topic. If I ever produce digitizable content, that is, content that can be produced for an up-front cost and then be copied and distributed for a cost of zero, I still have to market it, no matter how good it is, or how much market penetration it can have (if I write, say, "psychedelic jazz/doom-metal for oboe and electric harp plus a violin", its penetration in the music market will be very near zero no matter how good it is). And if $EVIL_CORP steals my content, decides it will be the Next Big Thing and puts it up on heavy rotation on MTV, then they're marketing it much better than I can dream to ever do.

Now, who deserves the money? Me, or $EVIL_CORP? I'd say it's them, not me. It may be that without me there wouldn't be content, but without them, there would be no awareness of its existence. And THAT is why the companies in the RIAA don't pay their artists : they're very aware that THEY are making the MONEY. They know thhey are not making the content. And yes, no matter how much it hurts the artists' feelings, the "content of the content" does not matter - it really is work for hire. Morally ass-backwards? Yes. But that's how it works. I'm not saying that history justifies them, it's a totally different argument. I'm saying that the content itself -basically information- is worthless in dollars, only marketing it to masses makes any money.
My opinion on that system is that yes, artists should be fairly compensated, according to their sales figures. But that's just because it makes me feel warm and fuzzy, not because it's ever gonna happen.

So, online evil corps give themselves all rights to user-created content? So what, those users wouldn't ever make a buck off it.

Re:Not a story (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (4, Insightful)

Danga (307709) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not a story (4, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947353)

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

Re:Not a story (3, Insightful)

caluml (551744) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947789)

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.

Re:Not a story (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947901)

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 (5, Insightful)

42forty-two42 (532340) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947411)

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 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947819)

I call BS on that one.

1: If Google needs your permission to display the content, they can say "You grant Google permission to display or present the content on your behalf, within the scope of the service you are being provided." See how neatly that takes care of the situation WITHOUT claiming any rights to your work?

2: If Google wants to take screenshots, they can have an intern create some generic content and take screenshots of THAT. There's no need to rip off their users for free promotional material.

Google's full of shit; they got caught being sneaky. I won't use any of their services except search and Gmail (and Gmail, I'll be double careful with now).

Re:Not a story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948203)

Why not? You use the service for free don't you. You also do realize that many other services out there do the same thing. Shit, AIM has a claim in their TOS that says they can take any message you've sent on their service and use it for promotional purposes aka they own all your transmitted IMs. Listen if you want a service that doesn't do this, pay for it, just like if you don't want someone to monetize on your IM conversations, use another service and get your friends to do so.

Re:Not a story (3, Insightful)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948289)

1: If Google needs your permission to display the content, they can say "You grant Google permission to display or present the content on your behalf, within the scope of the service you are being provided." See how neatly that takes care of the situation WITHOUT claiming any rights to your work?

Claiming unrestricted copyright gives Google better legal protection, that's really the only reason they chose that instead of your version. The extent of "the scope of the service you are being provided" can be argued about in court, a blanket right to reproduce can not.

Re:Not a story (3, Interesting)

Danga (307709) | more than 6 years ago | (#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:Not a story (0, Flamebait)

Missing_dc (1074809) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948349)

Dude, speaking of BS, your feeling that they OWE you something for you making use of a service they are offering is ridiculous.
They are not charging you for the service. If you do something awesome with it, they should have they right to promote themselves with it and protect themselves in the process, after all, it's their tools, their servers, their dime, you are just supplying the pics of your cats fighting your collectables in your mom's basement and a little imagination.

Get over it. If you want to retain sole right to the content you created and are trying to promote on the web, PAY FOR THE SERVICE YOURSELF!
cheapskate.

Re:Not a story (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Psychopath (18031) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948969)

Truly. If the TOS for a service doesn't work for you, use something else instead. Not reading and understanding the TOS is on you, not them. It's not like Google is trying to hide what they are doing from anyone.

Re:Not a story (2, Insightful)

Kleen13 (1006327) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948695)

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.

Re:Not a story (1)

g0dsp33d (849253) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948291)

SHhhhh! Lets keep this on topic of how we can keep the Google did blank stories which mention chrome on the front page.

Re:Not a story (1)

mounthood (993037) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948595)

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

Hey, we've got a responsive company here. Slashdot shouldn't let that go. It's time to start demanding stranger and stranger things.

I have a right to see my Google file!

Re:Not a story (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24946913)

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:Not a story (2, Insightful)

ubrgeek (679399) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947471)

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:Not a story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948799)

I've been tagging stories like this with "zomggooglemustbeevilohnoes". Shame nobody else does, that would help us sort out the conspiracy theory Google articles...

Re:Not a story (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947119)

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 (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947947)

Bull. All Google has to do to CYA is say "You grant Google permission to display your content within the scope of the service that is being provided to you. You also affirm that you have the right to grant this permission."

There's no need to try for a land grab. Google's lawyers, being very expensive and talented, know this perfectly well. If something is made possible by their EULA, you can bet that's BY INTENT.

Re:Not a story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948089)

And you are a lawyer who can provide case law to back this?

Re:Not a story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947121)

It does not matter, even on their services they CAN NOT HIJACK COPYRIGHT.

I dont care what their dimwitted lawyers think they can get away with. I control my works, they cant claim ownership or rights to anything I own unless I GIVE IT TO THEM. I can revoke my rights at any time and there is nothing their lawyers can do about it.

Language like that at any company is unenforceable and downright silly, I dare google to send hundreds of their lawyers at me. I know and they know they will lose if they tried to press it.

The creator of the works retains ownership and control of those works, If a company will not remove it after you revoke the rights they are in violation of the law and liable to you for damages and copyright infringement.

I.E. youtube refuses to delete your home video? sue them for $21,000,000.01CDN for copyright violation after you have your lawyer send them a cease and desist letter. Bet you $20.00 they will remove the file when your lawyers letter shows up.

Re:Not a story (2, Informative)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947255)

Correct. In the United States and in any country honoring the Berne Convention, unless someone signs a agreement specifically stating what works are being transferred, how much they are being compensated for transferring the work, and then files that with the Copyright Office of jurisdiction, it doesn't matter what Google and their army of 'dimwitted lawyers' think they can get away with. There's no way to 'automatically transfer' all your works to Google by a click-through agreement that you most likely have not even read.

Re:Not a story (5, Insightful)

Bogtha (906264) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not a story (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947275)

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 (5, Insightful)

Otto (17870) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947407)

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.

Yogurt has rights. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947663)

"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."

Sorry you can't do that. Slashdot has deemed your content as "part of it's culture" and therefore you can't remove it.

Re:Not a story (1, Insightful)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947735)

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 for each and every service. However, Google now has an army of lawyers and I think they could come up with something more nuanced than the sledgehammer of "perpetual and irrevocable".

Re:Not a story (1)

Idiomatick (976696) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947995)

"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.

Re:Not a story (1, Insightful)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948175)

Irrevocable should read "irrevocable excepting in cases where content has been removed by end user" or however the legalese would need to be to indicate that they can do whatever they want with it until the moment I remove it from their site. Once removed, they have to cease all actions on this material, as I have revoked their right to the material.

Re:Not a story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948725)

So what happens when they need to access a backup tape that happens to have a copy of your image on it?

Re:Not a story (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948753)

"irrevocable excepting in cases where content has been removed by end user" or however the legalese would need to be

I've marked the tricky bit for ya.

Re:Not a story (1)

I'm not really here (1304615) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948951)

Of course. IANAL, so I leave it up to them rather than post something that I know is completely full of holes... that's why Lawyers get paid so much... they remove loopholes better than the average joe (usually).

Re:Not a story (1)

Shade of Pyrrhus (992978) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947841)

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 (1)

Baldrake (776287) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947847)

Um, no. This kind of EULA works fine for slashdot where you post in order to broadcast your wise opinions. But if I write a private document using Google docs, I want and expect it to remain private. The EULA allows Google to do pretty much anything they like with it, including translating it, publishing it or using it for publicity purposes.

I'm willing to accept that this is a case of copying and pasting an existing EULA without thinking too hard about whether it makes sense in a new context. But there is a real problem, and Google should fix it.

TFA ftw?

Re:Not a story (3, Insightful)

pmontra (738736) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947915)

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:Not a story (1, Insightful)

Danga (307709) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948183)

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 instead of only content required for the site to function)

Re:Not a story (1)

pmontra (738736) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947487)

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.

Re:Not a story (1)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947533)

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."

Re:Not a story (0)

Danga (307709) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947661)

I agree to a certain extent. I just have a problem when the companies say they retain rights to use the content for OTHER purposes besides the purpose of the website (ie on slashdot of course it would be stupid for a user to not want his/her comments served up).

I think it would be better to explicity allow users to select what kind of the content they give rights to when they sign up instead of a blanket statement. Just have something like below setup:

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. -- from Google UTOS section 11.1

Content to give rights to:
[ ] images
[ ] sounds
[ ] text
[ ] etc

The user could then select the content they are okay with giving rights to and then if the company wants to use content from a users account they just have to check a flag value. Also, if a user were to NOT give rights to content such as text and were signing up on a site like Slashdot then the user could be prompted that if they don't give that usage right they won't be able to use the site as intended since they won't be able to post anything.

The extra work involved to implement this should not be much and would seem much less evil to me then sneaking a clause in the TOS granting the company a non-exlusive license to EVERYTHING.

Re:Not a story (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948125)

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

Glad to see that you stopped that hateful trend.

Re:Not a story (1)

m3j00 (606453) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947899)

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!"

I think this is a disingenuous characterization of the concerns around the original Chrome ToS. People do upload user-created content using their web browser all the time. The original fervor around that clause in the ToS was the worry that anything submitted to any website using Google Chrome would effectively be property of Google.

Re:Not a story (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948661)

I think you're missing the point. Sending a file that you own is not fundamentally different (from a legal perspective) than downloading a file you own. In either case, Google cannot reasonably expect to claim license to the subject of these events as they are not a party to them. You may be using a browser developed by Google to perform these actions, but that is neither here nor there in a legal sense.

Effectively, the contract is unconscionable [wikipedia.org] . There is zero consideration [wikipedia.org] that would apply sufficient balance to the contract to make it enforceable in a court of law. Just as you cannot easily sign away the rights to your firstborn child, you can no more sign away valuable rights in an unfair and unnegotiated exchange for a bauble.

Re:Not a story (1)

m3j00 (606453) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948797)

IANAL, and you may be right about it being completely unenforcable. I wasn't arguing whether or not it was enforcable, but rather clarifying what exactly the major concern was.

Re:Not a story (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948905)

I understood what you were saying. What I'm saying is that the issue you raised is merely a special circumstance of the issue I was discounting. Thus I was not being "disingenuous". Merely broad.

Re:Not a story (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948637)

But surely Google should have had their legal team actually look at the TOS before they published it? It's just downright sloppy. The statements shouldn't have been there in the first place.

Slashot Interview with John McCain +1, Fun (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24946915)

Question: What is your policy on alternatives to fossil fuels?

McCain: I was a P.O.W. I burned jet fuel in all my crashed planes.

Question: What is your position on illegal immigration?

McCain: I was a P.O.W. I saw foreigners in Vietnam.

Question: What is your position on N.A.F.T.A.?

McCain: I was a P.O.W. I traded sundry items while on duty in Vietnam.

Question: What is your position on Russia in regards to its response to attacks by Georgia on South Ossetia?

McCain: I was a P.O.W. I was attacked in Vietnam as a soldier.

Question: What is your position on the U.S. government bailout of the U.S. Little Three Auto Manufacturers?

McCain: I was a P.O.W. and was driven in many vehicles in North and South Vietnam.

Question: Are you suffering from dementia?

McCain: I was a P.O.W.

Question: Thank you for your time. Now go gack to the Hanoi Hilton.

Slashdot interview with Barack Obama (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947943)

Q: In your book, you described your work as a "community organizer" as being frustrating and unproductive, yet now you seem to view it with rose colored glasses. Can you explain the dichotomy?

A: My opponent is once again playing the race card. They, say, he's got a funny name... he doesn't look like one of those guys on a dollar bill. He was a community organizer. It's hard to adhere to my muslim faith and turn the other cheek with these constant racist attacks.

Q: I thought you were Christian?

A: Uh, yeah, I meant they try to imply I'm muslim.

Nothing to see here shortly... (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 6 years ago | (#24946955)

They changed it right quick when there was any uproar over the Chrome ToS. I won't be shocked to see them move quickly to remove the clause elsewhere...

Re:Nothing to see here shortly... (5, Informative)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947069)

I will. If you don't grant them a license to your photos when you upload them to Picasa, they can't legally display them on the service without infringing your copyright.

Re:Nothing to see here shortly... (4, Insightful)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947105)

...and, by the way, Slashdot's own TOS say that by posting here you grant "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." Sounds just like Google's terms. OMG, Slashdot is evil!

Re:Nothing to see here shortly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947865)

My own TOS says: "I have the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, exclusive, non-transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, and display Girlfriend (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate her in other Girlfriends in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the terms of any applicable license."

I guess that is the reason I'm a single Anonymous Coward posting nonsense on Slashdot.

Re:Nothing to see here shortly... (1)

The Second Horseman (121958) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947907)

Does Slashdot claim not to be evil? Also, compared to Google and their aggregation of information, does Slashdot matter? I'd say no on both counts. Google, like Microsoft and a few other companies, are unique players, and soon (within the next 10 years) I suspect Google will be operating under at least the same level of review that Microsoft does in both the US and EU.

Re:Nothing to see here shortly... (1)

LunarCrisis (966179) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948137)

Well, yeah. . . but, really, who uses Slashdot?

Re:Nothing to see here shortly... (1)

charlesbakerharris (623282) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947797)

I didn't say "everywhere". Just elsewhere. And I don't think they're evil; I think they're actually going to try to replicate doing the right thing.

and for anyone who thinks... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947077)

And for anyone who thinks Google would never do anything bad with the power they've given themselves, I offer a contract in which I give you a free cake once a week and you let me use your house as I please as long as I don't get in your physical way. It's yours, but I may do what I like in rooms you're not currently using.

FWIW I've not cooperated with the Chinese govt on censorship, nor given paid partner status to the Church of Scientology on any of my subsidiary companies, nor yapped on about reducing the carbon footprint while buying a 767. I'm a sole trader so I don't have a board of directors with any members under investigation for stock fraud related to my company. I hope this gives me a better anti-hypocrisy track record than your dearly beloved.

Best,

AC.

I don't think... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947245)

I know... that the cake is a lie.

Re:and for anyone who thinks... (2, Funny)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947639)

Yet you post on slashdot, which has the same language in it's terms of services. OHNOES!!!!oneoneone

Re:and for anyone who thinks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947961)

If I was standing on my soapbox on speaker's corner then I wouldn't mind people recording what I had to say. And that's pretty much what posting on a public forum on the Interweb such as Slashdot comes down to.

Now unless you also post your search history, your e-mail, your company documents, etc., on a public site, your comparison is silly.

If your day-to-day activities depend on Google services, then Google has more sensitive information on your than your doctor. Now imagine if your doctor gave you an agreement to sign saying that they could do whatever they fucking wanted with your info and in return you receive discount treatment. And imagine that no regulations restricted what a doctor could do with information.

Wouldn't your first question be "why the hell do you want to do that?" Leaving aside all the obvious government-conpiracy uses for Google, let's imagine that you're a Yahoo or Microsoft executive who has a home account on Gmail and you carelessly discuss something related to possible takeover terms using Gmail.

Google has given itself permission to read that e-mail, and, hell, since the information contained therein might affect company revenue to the tune of billions of dollars, they'd be irresponsible not to.

Put your hand on your heart and tell me that you wouldn't read a private e-mail that would cause no individual physical or mental harm beyond a redirection of profits in the billions toward you.

Now ask Google to put its hand on its heart...

Re:and for anyone who thinks... (1)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948243)

Every company that hosts web based email has that exact same paragraph in their Terms of Service. So by singling out Google, you're not being exactly fair.

Secondly, my comparison is not silly, for anything you post to Slashdot (or any other SourceForge property) is subject to the same terms. Including things that you might have an expectation of privacy on. SourceForge's terms are a blanket, just like Google, and therein lies the comparison.

Google has also stated in it's "Legal Terms" section of their terms of use and privacy policy: We will not use any of your content for any purpose except to provide you with the Service.

Also, Google did not give itself permission to read your email. You may have, by agreeing to use their service.

And are you really claiming that no other company, except Google, could be irresponsible with the services it provides?

Thing is (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947147)

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 (4, Informative)

reebmmm (939463) | more than 6 years ago | (#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 (3, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 6 years ago | (#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.

Re:Thing is (1)

CrackedButter (646746) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948071)

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

Re:Thing is (2, Informative)

Neon Spiral Injector (21234) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948589)

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."

Re:Thing is (1)

Kz (4332) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948683)

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.

Re:Thing is (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24947391)

"Being a stickler for the details", why didn't you notice that the terms of service don't give Google ownership over what you produce, but rather a non-exclusive license to use it in the way the service is supposed to work?

Re:Thing is (1)

Dynedain (141758) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947861)

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

Bah (2, Informative)

zulater (635326) | more than 6 years ago | (#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".

GOOGLE THINKS THEY OWN YOU! (1)

mrSteveBallmer (1345863) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947247)

They say, "we will never use this against you", yet they say it. Why? Because they will. You people are best off sticking with MS products and services, we believe in freedom~! http://fakesteveballmer.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

Don't worry, they're not evil! (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947305)

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.

What story? (1)

YourExperiment (1081089) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947327)

This is ridiculous. Google stated quite clearly when they removed this language from Chrome's terms and conditions: the reason they were there in the first place is because they were copied from the terms and conditions of another product. Now it's a story that some other Google products have the same terms and conditions as Chrome?

Uh, Google NEEDS those terms... (2, Informative)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947373)

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

Ah! My eyes! (1)

CSMatt (1175471) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947399)

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?

hmnn (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947409)

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!"

Uuuh, yeah, standard language. (4, Informative)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947579)

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 on content. We give you free services, we retain the rights to publish your content. You don't like it, get the hell of the internet. :P

Note that I highlighted the part that says, "If this is intended for public consumption, we retain rights to use it to advertise our services."

If anything, that is what you should be complaining about.

Re:Uuuh, yeah, standard language. (1)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947677)

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...

This is why you pay your way (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947673)

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.

Re:This is why you pay your way (1)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947779)

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 is not news. (1)

argent (18001) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947825)

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.

Re:This is not news. (1)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947857)

Only if the blog is public.

Evil vs !Evil (1, Flamebait)

matt_martin (159394) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947891)

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.

Re:Evil vs !Evil (1)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24947963)

Uhm, which government are you talking about exactly?

bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948017)

Google needs to "reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute" content on Picasa because that's what the Picasa service is all about. And since you own the copyright, you need to give them a license. This is no different from any other photo sharing service.

"I wouldn't do anything that was personally sensitive or security-sensitive with most any Google product

If you upload "personally sensitive or security-sensitive" images to a photo sharing service, you're stupid.

All your bits are belong to us (1, Insightful)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948309)

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:All your bits are belong to us (2, Insightful)

pdboddy (620164) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948563)

Yet you're still posting on Slashdot, which has the same clause.

This story is silly (1)

zucki (1355947) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948329)

Google is completely justified in having that in its TOS for those services.

The article nails it (1)

greenfield (226319) | more than 6 years ago | (#24948665)

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 is almost a blank check to use content in any fashion. As the article points out, the TOS could allow Google to produce a book of Picasa images without compensating the photographers.

The article is spot on in this regard, and Google should modify their license terms.

Incidentally, this is not really new. This came up on earlier /. threads here [slashdot.org] and here [slashdot.org] . I compared various license terms for photo services [samgreenfield.com] on my blog one week before the release of Google Chrome and responded to the Google blog post [samgreenfield.com] a few days later.

SPO%NGE (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24948977)

culture of abuse it ?was fun&. If I'm

Google responsible for content... ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24949035)

Does this mean that Google is responsible for content in a blog? They own it.

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