Sunday, June 05, 2011

Watch out for theft via Social Networking Sites' Terms and Conditions

I get a certain quantity of mails from friends (in addition to spam of course) inviting me to join this or that social networking site.

Well, I can hardly keep up with the ones to which I already belong!

But I regularly check out new sites (as I want to keep an eye on tech developments, for professional reasons).

Having checked out this particular site, I must say my increasing concern about the sorts of Terms and Conditions such sites ask you to sign has reached breaking point

That is why I share with you here my response to my friend:

dear Christoph

many thanks

but have you actually read their terms and conditions?

apart from paying them a subscription fee, you give away to them the copyright in anything you post on their system!

that means, technically, that if a large institution, say UBS, were to post something on, they would find that their logo and the information they posted did not belong to them any more

in the case of UBS, they would certainly dispute that and, being so big and powerful, would probably end up being able to retain their logo etc.

but I am not sure that smaller entities would be able to retain their logos, ideas and concepts

here is the relevant bit of their terms and conditions: "License and warrant for your submissions: You do not have to submit anything to us, but if you choose to submit something (including any User generated content, ideas, concepts, techniques and data), you must grant, and you actually grant by concluding this Agreement, a nonexclusive, irrevocable, worldwide, perpetual, unlimited, assignable, sublicense able, fully paid up and royalty free right to us to copy, prepare derivative works of, improve, distribute, publish, remove, retain, add, and use and commercialize, in any way now known or in the future discovered, anything that you submit to us, without any further consent, notice and/or compensation to you or to any third parties"

so I would stay as far away from them as possible

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