Protection of copyright is one of the biggest issues in business today be it from the perspective of the music, film, gaming, or software sectors. So why are so many of us happy to just ignore the Terms and Conditions clauses of so many drive or cloud collaboration service providers that appear to just hand over ownership of copyright.
This may sound like another pop at the Terms and Condition’s of the likes of Google Drive, Dropbox and Huddle, but the reality is this. Take a close look at the clauses relating to copyright and ask yourself this simple question: you are a journalist, you upload your work into one of these services and from that second who owns the publishing rights. You? Your newspaper or publisher? Or is it the so-called service provider?
Adding insult to injury many of the Terms and Conditions we have researched are totally contradictory, leading to a legal minefield. So for example Google Drive’s Terms and Conditions state that: ‘You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.’
However it then goes on to say: ‘When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, 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.’
Taking a closer look at Amazon AWS and you see a similar picture. Its Terms and Conditions state: ‘8.1 Your Content. As between you and us, you or your licensors own all rights, title, and interest in and to Your Content. Except as provided in this Section 8, we obtain no rights under this Agreement from you or your licensors to Your Content, including any related intellectual property rights. You consent to our use of Your Content to provide the Service Offerings to you and any End Users. We may disclose Your Content to provide the Service Offerings to you or any End Users or to comply with any request of a governmental or regulatory body (including subpoenas or court orders).’
So who owns your work? And Google Drive is not the only one with these catch-all, contradictory, legally confusing clauses. So if you value your creative work then take a close look at the Terms and Conditions of providers and ask yourself this question: are they fit for purpose in the corporate world? The answer has to be no.
(Simon Bain is Founder / CTO of Simplexo)