Google Drive: signing your rights away

26 04 2012

OK, so maybe I’m getting a little over-excited here, but maybe I’m a bit worried about the possibilities this creates!

According to the Google terms and Conditions, you ‘give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content’ (according to CNET News anyway).

Now, Google have said that you don’t sign your rights away (umm, really, you sure about that?!) but it sure as hell looks like it to me! They might say that they’ll only use it to ‘make the service better’ now – but what if they change their minds? They could just change the terms and none of us would actually read them anyway. And what does it mean, anyway? Could they put it on the front page of Google if they claimed it improved the service somehow? Not that I think this is likely, I’m just saying….

What if you’ve developed some code that’s a Google-beating service of some sort? You’ve just signed away your right to stop Google taking it and integrating into their own service….

And don’t forget, they’ve stated that these rights are in perpetuity.

Many of you will be thinking ‘ah, but surely everyone else does the same, so that their sites can function’ but that’s not the case. In particular from the CNET example, both Dropbox and Microsoft’s Skydrive state in the terms that you retain all rights to your material and they don’t have any rights to them. The Microsoft one makes it very clear why they do this – so that they can’t be attributed any responsibility for the material!

I’ll be honest, I don’t think that Google is going to go round stealing people’s material and using (well, not much…) but it’s the principal that bothers me. They say they have the right to it, and most people (me included if I hadn’t seen this article) will just sign their rights away without even reading the terms & conditions. When there’s something this important tucked away like that, it bothers me.

I might give Microsoft’s Skydrive a go, you know…..




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