chucking pebbles round the conservatory

Toni has a bitch about MySpace claiming ownership of all user content.

The troublesome fine print informs users that by posting any content, “you hereby grant to MySpace.com a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services.”

Sounds dire. But Myspace.com spokesman Jeff Berman says not to worry. “Because the legalese has caused some confusion, we are at work revising it to make it very clear that MySpace is not seeking a license to do anything with an artist’s work other than allow it to be shared in the manner the artist intends,” Berman says. “Obviously, we don’t own their music or do anything with it that they don’t want.”

Not a million miles away from:

By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content

Let’s see, what does MySpace do that WP doesn’t? Sublicensing? Well, they publish RSS feeds which any splogger can grab and republish, and there’s no option to turn those off. And most of MySpace’s claimed rights are tautological: what distinction can one make between ‘copy’ and ‘reproduce’? Which of them aren’t covered by ‘reproduce, modify, adapt and publish’?

There is nothing wrong with any of this; it’s perfectly standard legalese, and without these rights they couldn’t handle any content at all. I just think it’s odd that this guy seems unaware of his own company’s terms of service.

3 Comments »

  1. Toni said

    Funny that you would cut the quote from the WordPress Terms of Service off right where the crucial bit of info starts. The full sentence reads:

    “By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your blog.”

    The “solely for the purpose of” part means that we can only use the content submitted to us to promote it in places like botd.wordpress.com. We actually need that kind of license to be able to promote your blog. The MySpace terms do not have such a limitation, so MySpace could theoretically reuse your content anywhere. Hopefully they’ll fix that soon.

  2. wank said

    BOTD is an unbelievably ugly waste of time (it’s not like Scoble needs the extra publicity, and it’s not telling me much I can’t get from my dashboard spam) but that’s by the way. You promote our blogs in order to promote your own service (look how many users we have! look how fast the ‘latest post’ spam ticks over! Even Scoble the A-lister blogs with us, we must be good!) and it’s disingenuous to pretend otherwise. I’m having trouble thinking of why you would reproduce content without mentioning the individual subdomain or wordpress.com. You could, but what would be in it for you? There isn’t anything you need our content for other than promotion. So that clause isn’t actually conceding anything meaningful.

    I don’t know what everyone thinks MySpace is going to do with all their content; burn it onto CDs and sell it? It would be extraordinarily shortsighted and make no business sense to misuse it in that way. The trust of your users is worth more than their content, because if they don’t trust you you won’t be getting any more content to use.

  3. drmike said

    I just like seeing those days when Scoble isn’t number one.

    That is the occasional day here and there.🙂

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