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Dropbox Releases Revised TOS

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the model-of-clarity dept.

Cloud 90

vanstinator writes "Today Dropbox has released a revised Terms of Service agreement due to the controversy caused by their recent update. This new version clarifies their position on data ownership and makes it very clear that you, and only you, have a right to your data. This is welcome news to any serious Dropbox user." On the downside, though, NorbMan writes that a company called FilesAnywhere.com is "suing Dropbox, Inc. for trademark infringement. The complaint alleges that FilesAnywhere has been using the term 'DROPBOX' since 2004 as part of its service, and that Dropbox, Inc. has also closely duplicated one of its logo designs."

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"dropbox" (3, Interesting)

Joehonkie (665142) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687030)

Dropbox is a generic term which predates either of those companies and I've frequently heard network shares named or referred to as "dropbox" or "drop box."

Re:"dropbox" (2)

Normal Dan (1053064) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687126)

If they win, I'm going to start using and patent and trademark the letter e. Then sue anyone who uses it.

Re:"dropbox" (2)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687662)

You should patent being able to log in to any account without a password, like you could do on dropbox for a day or two last week

Re:"dropbox" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36688478)

4 hours, fyi. not a day or 2.

Re:"dropbox" (1)

DaVince21 (1342819) | more than 3 years ago | (#36703370)

Don't exaggerate. Four hours.

HAHAHAHA (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687288)

You're missing the important lesson: bitching works!

Let's bitch, bitch, BITCH until we change the whole bitchin' world!

Re:"dropbox" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687358)

Hell, my throwaway email address has been drop_box@hotmail.com since 2000 or so.

Re:"dropbox" (2)

lazybeam (162300) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688050)

Not really "throw away" if you've been using it for eleven years!

Officeware filed long after Dropbox, too (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687462)

Despite claiming to have used the term Dropbox since August 4th 2004, Officeware didn't file for a trademark until April 12, 2010, some seven months *after* Dropbox filed for their trademark, and nearly 20 months after Dropbox first launched their service. Heck, Dropbox even owned the dropbox.com domain six months before Officeware bothered to file for the trademark. Seems to me that if, even once you own it, you still have to proactively protect your trademark to be allowed to keep it, the law's not likely to look favorably on a company that hadn't even bothered to attempt to get a trademark in the first place.

IANAL, but it doesn't look to me like they have a leg to stand on.

Re:Officeware filed long after Dropbox, too (2)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687714)

Yes, unlike the US patent system, the US trademark system is first to file. Since Dropbox filed a trademark first, I'm not seeing the problem here...

...

...

...

...except that Dropbox is a generic term. My local library has had a dropbox to return books since the 1980s. Local video stores have them to return videos, too.

Re:Officeware filed long after Dropbox, too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692484)

So what? Trademarks are domain-specific. A corvette has been a kind of boat since the 1600s, but if I try to sell a car named Corvette, I can expect GM to take a big shit right on my head.

Re:"dropbox" (1)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687478)

Windows is a Generic term which predates either of those companies by hundreds of years and i've frequently heard of builders installing windows.

don't argue about generic terms to the trademark office. if they can accept windows as legitmate trademark-able name then dropbox is too.

Re:"dropbox" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687524)

Windows is only a generic term for a glass-manufacturing company.

Re:"dropbox" (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687628)

Not true. You refer to any GUI environment as a windows or windowing environment. It is a generic term used in the computing industry long before microsoft used it. You have various windows too. xwindowsm, ms windows, etc. Mac had a windows environment pre-windows and so did xerox.

Re:"dropbox" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687832)

Windows isn't a windowing environment or a window manager, it's a desktop-oriented operating system and the window environment takes up a defining but minor role. It's no different than a photo editor co-trademarking 'Windows' because the application exhibited window-like behavior.

Re:"dropbox" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36688264)

Windows isn't a windowing environment or a window manager, it's a desktop-oriented operating system and the window environment takes up a defining but minor role. It's no different than a photo editor co-trademarking 'Windows' because the application exhibited window-like behavior.

Uhm, no. If Google decided to go with the name Browser instead of Chrome OS, then arguing that it's an OS and not just a browser doesn't make the name Browser any less of a generic term.

Re:"dropbox" (2)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688348)

A small niche of people refer to any GUI environment as a windows or windowing environment.

FTFY.

Re:"dropbox" (1)

Toonol (1057698) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688362)

I don't believe Windows is trademarked. Isn't the trademark the full term "Microsoft Windows"?

Re:"dropbox" (2)

Rudolf (43885) | more than 3 years ago | (#36690190)

I don't believe Windows is trademarked. Isn't the trademark the full term "Microsoft Windows"?

No. That is often repeated but is untrue. You can search the trademark database at uspto.gov. Microsoft has several trademarks of just "Windows". (And so do several other companies, in different fields).

Re:"dropbox" (1)

speedplane (552872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36691076)

The term "windows" with respect to a part of your house is definitely generic. The term "windows" with respect to an OS is not. Much like how the term "apple" is generic for fruit, but not for computers. The legal term for this type of use is "fanciful": a common word that is relatively meaningless in a given context. That said, "windows" is not totally meaningless with respect to a GUI, it has a suggestive meaning as well making it a bit less inherently distinctive. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trademark_distinctiveness#Arbitrary_marks [wikipedia.org]

Re:"dropbox" (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36692228)

The term "windows" with respect to a part of your house is definitely generic. The term "windows" with respect to an OS is not.

Although as a term for a GUI element it appears to go back to the early 1970s at Xerox PARC.

Re:"dropbox" (1)

speedplane (552872) | more than 3 years ago | (#36714014)

Yes, as I said, with respect to a GUI or OS, the term "windows" is somewhat suggestive and there is some evidence supporting its prior use in similar areas. But it was hardly "generic". I doubt (although I really don't know) the term was so widespread prior to Microsoft that everyone would commonly use the term "windows" to mean a GUI system. A few isolated uses in a handful of companies isn't enough to be generic.

Re:"dropbox" (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 3 years ago | (#36714304)

"WIMPs", meaning "Windows, Icons, Mice and Pointers" was in widespread use before MS Windows was released (1985), to the extent that anything to do with computers was in widespread use. Although I note that Windows 1.0 was announced a couple of years before it was released (1983), and although the term "WIMPs" existed even before that announcement (1980) I can't remember how widespread it was by 1983.

dropbox.com is from '95 (1)

MoFoQ (584566) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688250)

that and the fact that the domain name was created in '95...

      Domain Name: DROPBOX.COM
            Created on: 27-Jun-95

I just wish all these *trolls would die in a horrific way such as getting "lemon"-ed to death. (aka...instead of using stones as in stoning...use lemons)
eggs might work too

Re:dropbox.com is from '95 (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36689012)

Do you know who I am? I'm the man who's going to burn your house down. With the lemons!

Gotta love Cave Johnson.

"dropbox" is generic. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687038)


Oh please, we had "dropboxes" on an Appletalk network around 1990.

On a Mac SE/30 server each user had public folders and folders labelled "$USERS's Dropbox". They were effectively write-only for all but the owner. The 'dropbox' term is something I adopted from an employer before that and I'm sure we weren't the only places to use the term.

Re:"dropbox" is generic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687508)

Perhaps... I also remember setting up drop boxes in Appletalk.

On the other hand that was _years_ ago and I'd forgotten about it. If someone used dropbox in a sentence when talking to me then I would assume they mean the software.

Re:"dropbox" is generic. (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688202)

The 'dropbox' term is something I adopted from an employer before that and I'm sure we weren't the only places to use the term.

That was the standard term for a write-only folder on Appleshare. I'm pretty sure it had a dedicated icon too.

The ironic thing is that Dropbox.com breaks both the physical and AppleShare metaphors, at least for common usage patterns (perhaps there is a way to setup a dropbox.com account as a dropbox, but most people don't do that).

Re:"dropbox" is generic. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36688312)

What's the point of a write only folder? Sounds more like a trash bin...

Re:"dropbox" is generic. (1)

mattventura (1408229) | more than 3 years ago | (#36689998)

People can give you files but cannot read all the other things that have been put in the folder.

Yeah yeah lets sue for everything... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687044)

"FilesAnywhere has been using the term 'DROPBOX' since 2004 as part of its service"

"A dropbox is a secure container in a building's wall where items can be deposited."

Wow, I wonder where they got the idea to name it like that from. Using an existing word as a metaphor to your service should not be grounds for a lawsuit.

Re:Yeah yeah lets sue for everything... (1)

CarlDenny (415322) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687396)

By your logic, Dropbox can't copyright the term either. Which they are trying to do, in the same business space.

Either Dropbox can't be copyrighted, in which case Dropbox the company is SOoL, or it can be, FilesAnywhere has precedence, and Dropbox is SOoL.

Re:Yeah yeah lets sue for everything... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687464)

Trademark [wikimedia.org] != Copyright [wikimedia.org]

Please get it right or stop using the words. If it is used to identify a company or product, it's a trademark.

...unless its Generic (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687756)

If it is used to identify a company or product, it's a trademark.

Unless its a generic term. Then you might still also use it as part of your company or product name, but don't come back whining if some other entity use it too.

Example: App. "App" has been used as an abbreviation for "Application" since ages. The word "Store" has been used to describe stores for ages. Apple is free to call their app store "App Store", but they shouldn't be whining when other people call applications "Apps" too. (See the recent controversy mentioned here)

GP is saying that "dropbox" is in the same way a generic term in the storage world. It's simply a generic term to describe a secured storage.
- Therefore FilesAnywhere can't claim trademark on it (in exactly the same way they can't claim a trademark over the word "File" neither).
- Therefore Dropbox can call themselves that way, but they shouldn't get surprised if anyone else get to call their own product "Dropbox" too.

Re:...unless its Generic (1)

dakameleon (1126377) | more than 3 years ago | (#36689418)

If it is used to identify a company or product, it's a trademark.

Unless its a generic term. Then you might still also use it as part of your company or product name, but don't come back whining if some other entity use it too.

You mean like Apple Corps v Apple [wikipedia.org] ?

I don't think there's any specific restriction against using "generic" words in a trademark [wikipedia.org] to identify your company, else every company would have to have made-up words as their names. (that said, IANAL)

The Market is important (2)

DrYak (748999) | more than 3 years ago | (#36690608)

You mean like Apple Corps v Apple [wikipedia.org] ?

The market where it happens is important. In the Apples' case, back when it started they were different companies operating in separate markets using names which have nothing directly to do with what they are.
An apple is a dictionary word, but it's a *fruit*.
Apple Corps has always been selling music. (Nothing to do with the fruit, they could the name for their company).
Back then Apple Computer was selling computers, i.e.: a completely different market, and could not get confused with Apple Corps (you couldn't accuse them of trying to ride the "Apple" hype).
Of course, now that *both* companies are selling music, it starts to get complicated. "I bought a song from Apple" is not unambiguous anymore.
Notice, however that their name contains an element - "Computer" - which is simply a description of their activity. They can't claim trademark on this part. If some other computer shop decide to name themselves "Strawberry Computer", Apple can't sue them complaining that both look too much alike because of the "Computer" part : It's just a generic term describing what they do.

I don't think there's any specific restriction against using "generic" words in a trademark [wikipedia.org] to identify your company, else every company would have to have made-up words as their names. (that said, IANAL)

You can use whatever word you want for your company. *BUT* you have to make sure that the name is specifically recognizable to be able to enforce the trademark. If you simply use a description of what you do as a name, that's not enforceable. You can't sue other persons using the same words, these words are just the accepted dictionary words to describe your work.
That's also why a company must prevent the words from becoming generic, they are obliged to avoid diluting the brand name. Otherwise the word ends up being considered generic. It's "Fight for it or lose it".
Also, pure number aren't trademarkable neither. That's why Intel started naming their processor "Pentium". Up until then they used numbers (like Intel 486) and nothing prevents other company calling their product with same numbers (AMD and Cyrix called their compatible clones with the same numbers as Intel).

Regarding the current subjet : If you sell services for renting a (virtual) dropbox, you can call it "DROPBOX" if you want, but don't come crying if other companies call their dropboxes "Dropbox" too.
The only exception in this situation is that words like "dropbox", "locker", "safe" and all the other words that describe such services, normally are names for *physical* storages. FilesAnywhere might argue that, at the time they started using this name, the words were for physical storage and the trademark is original because it metaphorically applies to a different concept (*virtual* storage). But even then, due to the "fight for it or lose it" nature of trademarks, they should have actively worked to prevent "dropbox" being used for virtual dropboxes too. (as a counter-example: see how Google is trying to prevent "to google" to become a generic verb for "searching on-line". FilesAnywhere should have done the same)

Re:Yeah yeah lets sue for everything... (1)

Haedrian (1676506) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687612)

Not the same thing.

My local greengrocer has used the term "apple" for many years, should he be allowed to sue Apple Inc for breach of tradermark?

Now I don't speak lawyer, but does it say anywhere that "DROPBOX" was a registered trademark anywhere? I can hardly understand the document, it does refer to it as a 'mark', but I'm not sure whether that's a trademark.

Re:Yeah yeah lets sue for everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687666)

It's a trademark, not a copyright, and Dropbox filed for the trademark *before* Officeware, not after.

Re:Yeah yeah lets sue for everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36690032)

Every sentence in your post contains a factual error. Impressive.

No problem. (2)

matt007 (80854) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687076)

I don't care about their TOS, they can do whatever they want with my truecrypt volumes.

Re:No problem. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687136)

Oh brother, do you pound sand for fun? As the article states, they don't care about your data contents either.

Re:No problem. (1)

afex (693734) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687154)

i slightly agree with you, though i do find it to be a serious PITA to have to unencrypt every time i want to get something - do you use any other apps to handle that for you?

also, how big is your volume? the one i throw on there is only a few megs, but i can imagine the sadness that will occur once it stretches to a few hundred megs and has to be up/downed every time to sync something....any advice for that?

Re:No problem. (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687578)

i slightly agree with you, though i do find it to be a serious PITA to have to unencrypt every time i want to get something - do you use any other apps to handle that for you?

also, how big is your volume? the one i throw on there is only a few megs, but i can imagine the sadness that will occur once it stretches to a few hundred megs and has to be up/downed every time to sync something....any advice for that?

Simpler solution is just use a service that has individual encryption such as Spider Oak

Re:No problem. (4, Interesting)

wastedlife (1319259) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687606)

Actually, dropbox only syncs changed blocks of files, and truecrypt volumes use a block cipher, so the entire volume isn't resynced every time, just changes. One caveat, is that you need to turn off truecrypt's default setting to not change the modify timestamp of the file or dropbox won't know that a change was made. So it actually does work pretty well for truecrypt, as long as you are only making changes on one machine at a time.

Re:No problem. (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688754)

though i do find it to be a serious PITA to have to unencrypt every time i want to get something

Store an encrypted disk image in a cloud somewhere or on a flash drive like what I do. The key to the dmg is in the keychain on my computer so if I double click it, it opens immediately like a small flash drive and I can do as I need to, the encryption is instant, transparent, and automatic. On another computer, I have to enter the password once for that same access. It's only a very minor inconvenience for me. And I never have to worry about what happens if a cloud account is hacked or I lose my flash drive.

Re:No problem. (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693308)

I have vague memories of on-the-fly GPG encryption tools, couldn't those be used instead ?

Re:No problem. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687162)

Still, I'm not too keen on having to resync hundreds of MB every time I make a slight change to a 10 kB file in an encrypted volume.

Re:No problem. (2)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687202)

I don't care about the TOS so much as I worry about the fact that Dropbox doesn't enforce secure passwords.

Seriously. Sharing pics with my older relatives? It'd probably be great. But their password would probably be 12345 or something equally stupid, and Dropbox will actually accept that as a valid password.

Re:No problem. (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687918)

Do you really need uber-1337 passwords for pictures you're sharing with your grandmother?

Re:No problem. (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 3 years ago | (#36693292)

Yes, because allowing simple passwords makes people think simple passwords are good enough.

It really doesn't matter if you allow your kid to pull the wings off a few files, except that it also instills the belief that torturing living things can be ok.

Re:No problem. (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687562)

Truecrypt volumes seem to negate a lot of usefulness of the system. You can't mount a Truecrypt volume on my smartphone to view a single file within the truecrypt volume. When you modify a single file within the Truecrypt volume, you get to upload the entire volume up to DropBox again which is a pain on slow upload connections.

Simpler solution, use a service that has individual encryption as an option such as Spider Oak

Re:No problem. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36690066)

Simpler solution, use a service that has individual encryption as an option such as Spider Oak[sic]

Better option: Use a service that has individual encryption but doesn't suffer from massive bugs and reliability issues that plague Spideroak.

Re:No problem. (1)

blahbooboo (839709) | more than 3 years ago | (#36694214)

Sounds great. What service?

Re:No problem. (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36699764)

If I find one, I'll let you know. :P Elsewhere on this thread someone suggested SugarSync. You might check them out if you don't need Linux support (I do).

hmm .. which have i heard of .. (1)

vonshavingcream (2291296) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687084)

well .. i have never heard of filesanywhere until now. dropbox.com has been growing by leaps and bounds even with the limited controversy over the TOS. plus.. that stupid box they have doesn't look at all like the dropbox logo. honestly .. i doubt the people at dropbox ever heard of this company either. just jumping on the troll wagon like everyone else.

dropbox has already dropped off the internet (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687112)

I doubt many people will be using their service much anymore in light of security issues and their previous TOS.
I already deleted an account I had with them and won't be returning.
disclaimer: I never used it much anyway, nor will I be moving to any cloud service

Re:dropbox has already dropped off the internet (2)

Nemyst (1383049) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687186)

I'm still using it. If somebody wishes to steal my programming homework or my course notes on statistical mechanics, go right ahead. My valuable stuff is either not on Dropbox or it's in a Truecrypt volume - good luck breaking into that.

All this goes to show is that common sense once more comes out the victor: assuming that any such FREE service is secure and full of goodwill is foolish. They might be, but would you really want to take the risk? Start by assuming anybody can peek at your data and go from there.

Re:dropbox has already dropped off the internet (1)

adolf (21054) | more than 3 years ago | (#36690776)

This, exactly.

I don't have much important ("secret") data anywhere, at all, and that which I do have is reasonably well-encrypted on Dropbox. It's just fine there.

I worry more about losing my wallet than losing my stuff on Dropbox and I'm not losing any sleep over that possibility, either.

Everything else? Meh. If you want to read the results of my own little personal research projects, or awe at my collection of strange Windows and MS-DOS tools that I find indispensable (but which accomplish things that I find unnecessary under *nix), or my collection of PDF hardware manuals, or my shopping list, or my miniscule collection of self-recorded MP3s, go for it.

I just don't care. For my purposes, I strongly prefer this data to be widely available wherever I am, using whatever device I happen to have available, instead of hidden behind the specifics and complexities of a Truecrypt volume.

Meanwhile, Dropbox is not free, except as an advertising pitch (see, for example, my own .sig). Their goal is to produce actual sales of large(ish) quantities of online storage, and "giving away" small amounts of storage to anyone who asks is nothing but a marketing tactic to increase visibility.

To be clear, I'm perfectly OK with the concept. But let's call a spade a space, shall we?

Re:dropbox has already dropped off the internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687242)

Security issues are minor unless you're stupid enough to store sensitive data unencrypted (in which case you deserve to have it comp[romised).

The TOS was never a problem with anyone who actually read it and has some semblance of an understanding of what it meant.

Troll harder next time.

Props to Dropbox (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687160)

For being so clear in their TOS. The only legalize I saw ("your stuff" qualifier) actually made me chuckle a little bit. I wish more companies would take this route in drafting their legal copy.

Re:Props to Dropbox (1)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688074)

The problem, though, is that trying to make your terms of service accessible to a layperson usually ends up making them a lot less precise. And that can lead to problems if they ever try to enforce them. That's especially true since there's a "rule of construction" which says, effectively, if there are two ways to read something you wrote, and you want it read one way, and your opponent in court wants it read the other way, then your opponent wins, since you had the chance to make the language not ambiguous. Plus, in this case, there's a different problem -- what happens if Law Enforcement wants your information? See http://www.fulmerlawfirm.com/?p=258 [fulmerlawfirm.com]

Re:Props to Dropbox (1)

Exclamation mark! (1961328) | more than 3 years ago | (#36690268)

I wish someone told that to the guys writing the Bible/Quran/Torrah

Nothing has changed (5, Interesting)

Wingman 5 (551897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687236)

Yes they reworded it to make it friendlier and everyone loves the quote

To be clear, aside from the rare exceptions we identify in our Privacy Policy, no matter how the Services change, we won’t share your content with others, including law enforcement, for any purpose unless you direct us to.

however their privacy agreement [dropbox.com] still says they will gladly decrypt and give your data to law enforcement

Compliance with Laws and Law Enforcement Requests; Protection of Dropbox's Rights. We may disclose to parties outside Dropbox files stored in your Dropbox and information about you that we collect when we have a good faith belief that disclosure is reasonably necessary to (a) comply with a law, regulation or compulsory legal request; (b) protect the safety of any person from death or serious bodily injury; (c) prevent fraud or abuse of Dropbox or its users; or (d) to protect Dropbox’s property rights. If we provide your Dropbox files to a law enforcement agency as set forth above, we will remove Dropbox’s encryption from the files before providing them to law enforcement. However, Dropbox will not be able to decrypt any files that you encrypted prior to storing them on Dropbox.

Re:Nothing has changed (1)

Wingman 5 (551897) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687282)

When I say "will gladly decrypt" I mean files you sent to them in plain-text and they encrypt on their servers, there is no way for them to decrypt the files you send them pre-encrypted

Re:Nothing has changed (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687854)

however their privacy agreement [dropbox.com] still says they will gladly decrypt and give your data to law enforcement

Yeah, because they're really going to say "we will defy the police, laugh at court injunctions and fight the US army barehanded, even if we end up pounding rocks in Gitmo and get all our servers impounded, rather than hand over your bootleg copy of Harry Potter 7 to The Man".

To summarise the summary: DropBox may not be a suitable location for a Wikileaks mirror, the Anonymous membership list or your extreme pr0n collection. Film at 11. Aside from the security risk, the fucking Mac users would keep moving the files instead of copying them, and you'd be forever restoring stuff from the backup.

Re:Nothing has changed (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687862)

Drop box is legally required to comply with, of all things the law. Generally this is a court order, but laws can force data disclosure. They are only re-iterating that they need to comply with the law, and briefing you on how it will be handled. They even go so far as to tacitly suggest you pre-encrypt everything on you put on dropbox. wink wink.

Re:Nothing has changed (1)

fincan (989293) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687958)

And that's the reason I dropped dropbox last week and switched to Wuala, although I must say I am not terribly happy with that either.

Much has changed (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688026)

The privacy concerns might not be addressed to everyone's satisfaction, but the usage-rights problems have been addressed, at least to mine.

There are some very substantial and specific changes in this "patch" to their recent TOS update. The original version essentially claimed publishing rights, to be used at their discretion. Not that they actually intended to do that; it was just really badly written. I pointed out some of the legal problems in e-mails to them, and they appear to have fixed the worst of them.

This new version removes the overly broad rights-claims, and adds a key limitation to their copying and publishing rights: "unless you direct us to", a phrase I suggested was necessary to making the TOS acceptable to me as a continuing customer. Essentially, this was customers (including one with only a self-educated understanding of the law) proofreading the work of not-terribly-insightful professionals.

Re:Nothing has changed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36688554)

Does it really say "gladly" or is that just you being a jerk?

Re:Nothing has changed (1)

nbossett (1835098) | more than 3 years ago | (#36689174)

Gladly? Give credit where credit is due: the word "compulsory" in "compulsory legal request" seems to mean that they'll comply with something like a legitimate subpoena (and what business wouldn't?) but not with "Well, we don't have any legal right to demand this information, but would you mind giving it to us anyway?"

Re:Nothing has changed (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 3 years ago | (#36690788)

I am working on a server-less peer-to-peer filesharing application, dubbed Jake [sf.net] . Quite interesting technology stack (XMPP, ICE/STUN, AES-encryption, RSync). As someone stated below, why involve/trust a third party?

There is also http://retroshare.sf.net/ [sf.net]

ALL CAPS? (1)

drb226 (1938360) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687284)

Is there a legal reason that SOME PORTIONS OF A TOS/EULA/FINEPRINT ARE IN ALL CAPS? Like, are there laws that require them to make those portions all caps? Or is it just the lawyers screwing with us?

Re:ALL CAPS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36687360)

Hey now, LAWYERS CAN THROW ON THE CRUISE CONTROL TOO. Though /. doesn't approve of such practices as evidenced by the filter error I keep getting.

Re:ALL CAPS? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687824)

Is there a legal reason that SOME PORTIONS OF A TOS/EULA/FINEPRINT ARE IN ALL CAPS? Like, are there laws that require them to make those portions all caps? Or is it just the lawyers screwing with us?

I recently asked a recovering attorney this question. He said there are precedents that effectively require certain sections of contracts to be 'plainly obvious' and that all-caps was a typewriter way to accomplish that, or at least to say that the attempt was made. Thank goodness these precedents weren't set while the <blink> tag was in vogue.

Re:ALL CAPS? (1)

cfulmer (3166) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688130)

Yes. In a nutshell, a long time ago, there was a string of court cases that said you couldn't hide "important terms" to a contract way down deep in the depths; you had to highlight them to the user by, for example, making them all-caps. That's why you often see sections waiving warranties and limiting liability in all-caps. It's a bizarre rule, especially considering that making things all-caps actually makes them *harder* to read. Further, those terms are often things that people just don't care that much about.

Re:ALL CAPS? (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688676)

While I understand the reasoning, I could imagine 15 different ways the letter of the law could be used to subvert the spirit of the law, and effectively bury the "important terms" you're supposed to be emphasizing. Just a few:

  • one letter per page in 288-point bold
  • printing those "important terms" in a clearly distinguisable language like Chinese. "They're clearly obvious and emphasized. They're in a completely different language."
  • Printing them on a separate form, like an "attachment". I hope you didn't lose those.
  • Comic sans. Nuff sed.

Why involve a third party? (3, Insightful)

harl (84412) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687678)

Maybe I've been under the yoke of HIPAA too long but if you have sensitive information why are you trusting a third party with it?

Re:Why involve a third party? (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 3 years ago | (#36687748)

Maybe I've been under the yoke of HIPAA too long but if you have sensitive information why are you trusting a third party with it?

That's easy - the cost of having the data compromised is less than the cost of running your own infrastructure (properly).

Though I doubt many make this choice so conscientiously.

Re:Why involve a third party? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36688038)

I love it when an office thinks their network is more secure than Google's data center. I hear this 'why trust them with it' argument all the time and the fact is that MOST (not all) small offices have a public wifi that gives a ton of access to everyone....

While you're at it you should make sure to keep all of your money under your mattress because that's probably more secure than a bank. After all, why trust a third party with your money?

Re:Why involve a third party? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688140)

Does Google insure their services?

Cause if someone goes into a bank, and robs the bank, I know I'll still have my money.

Now if Google does have a security breach, that is it, all your information is out there and all Google will do about is close the barn door after the cows are gone.

Same with Dropbox or any other online service, a data breach is almost guaranteed if the timeline is stretched out far enough. For someone in the medical field such as the GP that would be disastrous.

Re:Why involve a third party? (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688334)

[A] data breach [of any online storage service] is almost guaranteed if the timeline is stretched out far enough. For someone in the medical field such as the GP that would be disastrous.

But what's the security of the system that it is replacing? You can't just consider these things in isolation; you've got to consider where they're coming from too, and what threats are actually likely on a timescale that anyone really cares about. After all, if you stretch the timeline out far enough, the Earth will be fried when the Sun goes into its red giant lifecycle phase, yet I'm not immediately concerned about this inevitable fact (nor is virtually anyone else). The indefinite future is just that: indefinite.

Re:Why involve a third party? (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 3 years ago | (#36689994)

Cause if someone goes into a bank, and robs the bank, I know I'll still have my money.

Unless during the course of it the robber tells them they're you, in which case the bank will say "oh no, that's identity theft, not robbery [youtube.com] ".

Tinfoil Hats (1)

SpeZek (970136) | more than 3 years ago | (#36688060)

They aren't hiding their terms, and the terms aren't unreasonable. If you want something stored safely and privately... store it safely and privately. Drive space is cheap. If you want convenience in the public space, put a lock on your stuff if it's important.

To me this is like complaining that your bicycle isn't safe when you leave it on your front lawn. If you want it truly safe, keep it in your garage. If you want it to stay outside, put a lock on it.

Personally, I really don't think some nefarious hacker is out to blackmail me by sifting through pictures of my dog in my free dropbox account.

Time to look at SugarSync (1)

flappinbooger (574405) | more than 3 years ago | (#36689474)

I use dropbox quite a lot, and have built up the free account to over 6 gb. I use it as "safe" storage for all my important smallish files.

All this hoo-ha is unsettling, so I looked for alternatives. Sugarsync starts you off with 5 GB free and also has referrals. They are slightly different than DB but you can use it the same way. I'm not affiliated with them, but they seem worth a look... You can sign up here:

https://www.sugarsync.com/referral?rf=edddx6ednsb88 [sugarsync.com]

Yeah, that's a referral link, lol. Seriously, if DB is making you nervous I think sugar sync might be the next best thing, if not better.

Re:Time to look at SugarSync (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36690108)

Oh, so close!

Most of the stuff they provide above DB is pointless social networky-wankery, but double the space would have been nice. No Linux support means no go, though.

Re:Time to look at SugarSync (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36690888)

Look at SpiderOak then. I'm not going to post a referrral link beause frankly I don't need any more space, but they seem to have a pretty solid grasp on compatibility between all 3 major OSs as well as (so they claim) really sweet encryption that won't cormpoimse your data. They claim they can't even access your keys, so they can't read the info even if they wanted to.

I'm sure if you poked around on the net you could also find codes that give you 6GB or so on sign-up rather than the default (which I think is 1GB?).

Re:Time to look at SugarSync (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 3 years ago | (#36691450)

I tried SpiderOak. That's what I'm looking to replace, since their software is buggy as hell and whatever they do to handle passwords with "Zero Knowledge" doesn't work right, making adding new devices an exercise in masochism.

BoxCryptor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692150)

I don't trust DropBox with my sensitive documents anymore, therefor I've started using BoxCryptor AES256 to encrypt. I'm sure they have previous copies due to their versioning system, but hopefully over time the unencrypted versions will fade. It would be nice to see two factor authentication or some type of key authentication system like SSH. I scan everything into my DropBox and Evernote... and them breaking their own authentication scheme for over 4 hours was the straw that broke the camels back.

"Your Stuff" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36692714)

Glad they kept things in nice simple words for hysterical paranoid slashdotters and the like.

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