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07-07-2011, 11:39 AM   #1
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Google+ (Plus) Terms of Service (ToS)

I ran across this and found it interesting, since Google+ is just getting started and supports imagery...
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 on or through, the Services.




07-07-2011, 12:10 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I ran across this and found it interesting, since Google+ is just getting started and supports imagery...
“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 on or through, the Services.”


Pretty standard wording for any image hosting website. They have to have the right to make changes (resize for large, small, thumbnails), distribute (read:view from another computer) and so on...The images gets resized several different sizes, saved on multiple servers for redundancy and is published on the site. The TOS above cover these situations.

How would you word the TOS of an image sharing website?
07-07-2011, 12:21 PM   #3
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I understand, fine print always sounds bad, but in reality, they are just covering their butts. It does come off as saying "the pictures are ours now, we'll do what we want" type of message
07-07-2011, 02:14 PM   #4
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Well first of all, I am an engineer, and not an attorney. However, I deal with requirements, government contracts and vendor licenses, day in and day out. The point that I was attempting to make, is to read and understand the fine print, as it may very well matter a lot to some folks somewhere out in the future...

QuoteQuote:
I understand, fine print always sounds bad, but in reality, they are just covering their butts. It does come off as saying "the pictures are ours now, we'll do what we want" type of message
Actually, its a bit more than just covering their butts since it does come out and say "the pictures are ours now, we'll do what we want". If you go to the article, they say a bit more in terms of...
“You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.”
Essentially, if they want to sell it in any way, shape or form, they will, with the check going to Google. If Google's attorneys did not intend this, then it would not be there. Everything there is there for a purpose....

QuoteQuote:
Pretty standard wording for any image hosting website. They have to have the right to make changes (resize for large, small, thumbnails), distribute (read:view from another computer) and so on...The images gets resized several different sizes, saved on multiple servers for redundancy and is published on the site. The TOS above cover these situations.

How would you word the TOS of an image sharing website?
As I pointed out above, the license gives them a bit more ability than just for resizing and simple distribution from one computer to another. You are giving them non-exclusive ownership - essentially co-owning the copyright with them. If it were just for resizing and benign distribution, it would have been written differently.

If you walk into a store and see one of your images on a package sitting on the shelf from MegaCorporation, it just might be legal, and profitable for Google. They do not even need to give you notice or attribution.....

Now I do have to agree that the last paragraph quoted in the article, tend to tone down the - "its ours now", however it does not say that they will not sell it, it just appears to make everything sound a bit more friendly - and it certainly does not limit any of their actions, that they gave themselves in the previous paragraphs.
“You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.”
All in all, its nice to share our images. However, once its out in the wild its out there and there is no putting the cat back into the house.

In the past Google was building a soft library (books, magazines, journals, etc.) with published works. The copyright holders objected. To some extent its there - within limits. Its a good resource and useful.

With Google+ you have the opportunity to use the service - and license your works to Google, or not. Its your choice - however, things may turn out a bit different that what your interpretation and understanding may be.

just my opinion...



07-07-2011, 03:10 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
If you walk into a store and see one of your images on a package sitting on the shelf from MegaCorporation, it just might be legal, and profitable for Google. They do not even need to give you notice or attribution.....

Google's not a stock agency, and I think it's stretching reason to suggest that they might become one. The 'provision to companies with which google has syndication agreements' is about RSS and such. I think it's *exactly* CYA, and would submit that google has more to fear from giving their social network a bad image than they have to gain from selling a couple of images uploaded to picasa/google+.

Just my .02
07-07-2011, 03:39 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by jstevewhite Quote
Google's not a stock agency, and I think it's stretching reason to suggest that they might become one. The 'provision to companies with which google has syndication agreements' is about RSS and such. I think it's *exactly* CYA, and would submit that google has more to fear from giving their social network a bad image than they have to gain from selling a couple of images uploaded to picasa/google+.

Just my .02

No, Google is a FOR profit company. In my world that means that if they see a way to profit from your intellectual property, that they are no co-owners of, they will. Just because they are not selling them does not mean either a) they can't or b) they won't.
07-07-2011, 03:50 PM   #7
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We can read the TOS and think, "Oh, they didn't really mean that! What we post is still ours!" Yes, they do mean it. No, it isn't ours any more. The words spell out exactly what they mean, what our relationship is: We post something on Google and they'll do whatever the hell they want with it. There is no limitation, nothing saying at Google will *only* resize and/or syndicate it. If Google wants to open a stock agency, nothing in this agreement prevents that.

Google ain't giving away its storage for free. There is a quid pro quo, a this-for-that necessary for every contract. In exchange for storage (this), Google takes partial ownership (that). There are alternatives. They ain't free, neither. But some are pretty cheap, a few bucks a month for domains and gigastorage. Own your own site. Set your own policies. Don't give away your work, not if you value it. And if it's worthless, why bother?
07-07-2011, 04:42 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
No, Google is a FOR profit company. In my world that means that if they see a way to profit from your intellectual property, that they are no co-owners of, they will. Just because they are not selling them does not mean either a) they can't or b) they won't.
So you think that risking a billion dollar business to pick up a few hundred bucks makes sense? You've far over-valued the visual properties, and under-valued the intelligence of the decision makers at Google. First, such contretemps would be time limited - that is, the first time it came out that they'd sold someone's images for profit, everyone with images would immediately bail on Google+. And second, the amount of money they could make that way would be insignificant. Literally a rounding error in Google's balance books. Many other photo hosting sites have similar TOS, and I'd be very, very interested if anyone can show a single instance of such activity that wasn't followed by nearly immediate collapse.

Flickr used to have TOS that wasn't altogether different, but it's changed several times, and still is somewhat more generous than many believe proper.

So I agree there's no proof they won't. But there's many reasons to believe they won't, and no proof they will. Do what your gut tells you. It's just that I've seen this kind of FUD over and over and over, and never seen any of the fears actually materialize.

07-07-2011, 04:46 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
We can read the TOS and think, "Oh, they didn't really mean that! What we post is still ours!" Yes, they do mean it. No, it isn't ours any more. The words spell out exactly what they mean, what our relationship is: We post something on Google and they'll do whatever the hell they want with it. There is no limitation, nothing saying at Google will *only* resize and/or syndicate it. If Google wants to open a stock agency, nothing in this agreement prevents that.

Google ain't giving away its storage for free. There is a quid pro quo, a this-for-that necessary for every contract. In exchange for storage (this), Google takes partial ownership (that). There are alternatives. They ain't free, neither. But some are pretty cheap, a few bucks a month for domains and gigastorage. Own your own site. Set your own policies. Don't give away your work, not if you value it. And if it's worthless, why bother?
You're absolutely right, google doesn't give away its storage for free. They make their money on advertising. They always have. They need to get eyeballs on pages - and they need membership in Google+. If they opened a stock agency, they'd have to get by with the images they had, because everyone would bail on them immediately. And google+ would die, bleeding.

Tell you what. I'll bet you $100, right now, that Google *never* opens a stock agency with images obtained via this TOS. I'll bet you another $100 that Google never engages in the direct sale of an image acquired via the TOS to a third party without specific permission of the uploader.

These actions would be *stupid*. Google is anything but stupid.

Edit: Also, who uploads high resolution images to social networking sites, anyway? My exports are 700px on the long side for facebook - same thing for Google+ if I join.
07-07-2011, 08:28 PM   #10
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Anyone is free to give away their work, and to hope that a firm that is smartly run today will still be smartly run in a decade.
07-07-2011, 08:49 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
We can read the TOS and think, "Oh, they didn't really mean that! What we post is still ours!" Yes, they do mean it. No, it isn't ours any more. The words spell out exactly what they mean, what our relationship is: We post something on Google and they'll do whatever the hell they want with it. There is no limitation, nothing saying at Google will *only* resize and/or syndicate it. If Google wants to open a stock agency, nothing in this agreement prevents that.

Google ain't giving away its storage for free. There is a quid pro quo, a this-for-that necessary for every contract. In exchange for storage (this), Google takes partial ownership (that). There are alternatives. They ain't free, neither. But some are pretty cheap, a few bucks a month for domains and gigastorage. Own your own site. Set your own policies. Don't give away your work, not if you value it. And if it's worthless, why bother?
Speaking of spelling it out...

"By posting content on the forum, each user acknowledges that it may be altered, removed, or stored at any time, and that the Forum maintains ownership of all posts submitted to it."

Yikes, time to delete my pentaxforums account! They own all the content I post here!
07-07-2011, 09:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by enoeske Quote
Yikes, time to delete my pentaxforums account! They own all the content I post here!
Or attach copyright notices, post on your own site first, then here. Confuse the issue.
07-07-2011, 09:50 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
Or attach copyright notices, post on your own site first, then here. Confuse the issue.
Now I'm all about that - confusing the issue, that is. I despise the current IP law in the US ( DMCA + ), but don't oppose copyright conceptually; I just think it needs to be strong and short duration, or weak and long duration, but strong and long duration stifles innovation and infringes upon honest fair usage, IMO.
07-07-2011, 10:13 PM   #14
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No disagreement there. US Constitution (Art.1 Sec.8) lays out copyright and patent protection:
"The Congress shall have Power... To promote the Progress of Science and Useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"
And that is a good model: FOR LIMITED TIMES. Patents are good for, what, 7 years I think. But wholly-owned pols will eventually set the 'limit' of copyright as being 10 nanoseconds before the heat death of the universe.

I've mentioned a study showing that from 1800-1900, Germany went from a rural political jumble to surpassing Britain as an industrial power -- in large part because British copyright laws were strong, limiting the spread of information, while Germany's lack of IP laws lead to plagiarism and rapid dissemination of useful knowledge. China has followed a similar path in recent decades. Strong IP strangles development. Those who ignore your IP will eat your shorts.
07-07-2011, 10:30 PM   #15
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