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5 comments


  • Glenn Biclar

    Interesting article and thanks for pointing it out. I signed up today just to see what all the buzz was about.

    July 08, 2011
  • Bret

    Photofocus conveniently excluded the first part of that clause which guarantees your right to your content’s copyright:

    11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual […]

    The verbiage highlighted by Photofocus from the TOS is of a *technical* nature. This way Google can convert media formats and/or compress your uploads without it being considered a “derived work” for you to sue Google over. It also gives Google the right to cache your imagery on their servers, even after you’ve deleted it from the service (cache mitigation is complex). Additionally it covers Google using first and/or third party content distribution networks to provide your media to users in the fastest and most available way possible. The terms exist within the service, you’re not giving Google and/or Google+ users the right to steal your copyrighted content.

    July 08, 2011
    • Good points Bret, copyright retention is clearly an important part. I think the point I wanted to make (and possibly failed) is that the nature of distributed architectures, virtualisation, and geographically dispersed content delivery make it harder for an individual to retain true control of their image!

      Full disclosure time – I’m an IT security professional, I know how to harvest the Google cache and other data repositories and (most of the time) get to the data I want. While Google is saying I retain copyright as a photographer (which is great), they are also saying they are going to deliver to other networks they do NOT control.

      By using their service, users are agreeing to allow Google (and Facebook) to distribute the content to wherever they like, and not also be responsible for cleaning up if you decide you want the content deleted at a later time!

      Google and Facebook are never going to help the user track down the content that was redistributed. So the onus is on the copyright owner to chase it and resolve it. And I think that was the point I was really trying to make – sure we retain ownership of the copyright, but that won’t make much difference if the content is being shared in an uncontrolled and irretrievable fashion!!

      Noam Galai, owner of the stolen scream, is quite familiar with this problem – http://fstoppers.com/fstoppers-original-the-stolen-scream – and similar to Noam, I happen to think that a popular redistributed image is more beneficial to my photography than the hidden one sitting on my hard disk.

      But I know plenty of digital artists who would disagree with me with every fiber of their being!! All I’m saying is, think about what you upload, and assume you’ve lost true control of it as soon as you do!

      July 09, 2011
  • Geoff Osterberg

    Out of curiosity, without that in their TOS wouldn’t they be open to reprisals if they allowed other members to share your posted work across the Google+ network? I may be (read: probably am) naive, but it seems like that is their way of covering their flank in order to allow content to be distributed around their G+network. Also, this is again my own curiosity not troll-bait, have there been any instances where artists’ works were used in the manner that these types of TOS suggest?

    July 15, 2011
  • Here’s a thorough analysis by an IP lawyer from the copyright law angle. A lot less hand-wringing, and a lot less FUD. Good read.
    http://kherianlaw.com/2011/07/21/google-terms-of-service/

    July 22, 2011

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