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Dropbox TOS Includes Broad Copyright License 213

Posted by timothy
from the want-it-both-ways dept.
mrtwice99 writes "Dropbox recently updated their TOS, Privacy Policy, and Security Overview. Included in the TOS is the following statement: 'By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent we think it necessary for the Service.' I think Dropbox is a great service, but what is the significance of granting them such broad usage rights?" Elsewhere in the same Terms of Service, which are a few notches above the norm in both brevity and readability, Dropbox says both "Dropbox respects others’ intellectual property and asks that you do too," and "You retain ownership to your stuff."
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Dropbox TOS Includes Broad Copyright License

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  • by cgeys (2240696) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @07:20AM (#36640596)
    It's the usual clause companies have to put now a day so that some asshat won't sue them for millions of dollars even if the service providers offered the services like advertised. Dropbox probably needs this clause to show your content in a public link that you link to others. Youtube and any other user submitted service has similar clauses. The law probably needs fixing, but that isn't the companies fault - blame the asshats abusing it.
  • by sortius_nod (1080919) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @07:25AM (#36640620) Homepage

    Has nothing to do with that. Simple disclaimers fix that. They are doing it to profit off what they don't own.

    Oh well, my account is now deleted, not my problem anymore.

  • They all do it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by nagnamer (1046654) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @07:27AM (#36640636) Homepage

    Google, deviantArt, Facebook, et al, they all have very similar or same wording in their TOS's. Point is, if they transfer data from your account to someone else's account, it is considered distribution, performance if they show video to others, etc, etc. So they need you to license your stuff to them so they're permitted to carry out their services. The fact that it, on paper, gives them right to do many other things is worrying, but not at all unusual. Good thing about Dropbox version is that it at least has the "to the extent we think we think it necessary for the Service." That is an improvement.

  • Out of context (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 02, 2011 @07:29AM (#36640648)

    If you read the whole agreement, it isn't as scary as the poster has implied.

    Your Stuff & Your Privacy

    By using our Services you may give us access to your information, files, and folders (together, “your stuff”). You retain ownership to your stuff. You are also solely responsible for your conduct, the content of your files and folders, and your communications with others while using the Services.

    We sometimes need your permission to do what you ask us to do with your stuff (for example, hosting, making public, or sharing your files). By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent we think it necessary for the Service. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission.

    How we use your stuff is also governed by the Dropbox Privacy Policy, which you acknowledge. You acknowledge that Dropbox has no obligation to monitor any information on the Services, even though we may do so. We are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, appropriateness, or legality of files, user posts, or any other information you may be able to access using the Services. We may disclose information about your account or your stuff to law enforcement officials as outlined in our Privacy Policy.

  • by Wowsers (1151731) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @07:39AM (#36640698) Journal

    If it bothers you that much, don't bee a freetard, get yourself a basic website with webspace, and you control your own domain and don't have to worry about companies making up such TOCs where they think they own copyrights they have no right to. (this was not a troll posting).

  • by cgeys (2240696) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @08:19AM (#36640828)

    Just ask yourself why Slashdot has no such agreement. Somehow Slashdot manages to scrape by without this "essential" clause.

    You might want to read Slashdot terms before making such statements because

    In each such case, the submitting user grants Geeknet the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the terms of any applicable license.

    Slashdot (and whole Geeknet) license agreement is actually even wider than Dropbox, as they don't even limit it to as-required-by-service.

  • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @08:30AM (#36640864)
    You seem to have missed the part where it says, "...to the extent which we think it necessary for the Service." I think they would have trouble convincing a judge that allowing someone you did not designate access to your copyrighted material without your explicit permission for Dropbox's profit was something they legitimately thought was "necessary for the Service."
  • by X3J11 (791922) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @08:32AM (#36640878) Journal

    ... they are now pretending they own everything people put there?

    No, they are being granted a license to use what people put there. There is a difference.

    Maybe it's time for law enforcement to get involved with these clowns and hit them with fraud for pretending to have a secure service.

    Yes someone better call the Internet Police and ... oh wait. This comment doesn't even make sense. Call which law enforcement exactly? And for what charge? "I don't like their Terms of Service" isn't, as far as I'm aware, something any country's laws have a charge for. You don't like the terms, you don't use the service.

  • Translation: (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kuzb (724081) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @08:45AM (#36640908)

    "We reserve the rights to be douchebags if we want, but we promise we won't be."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 02, 2011 @09:03AM (#36640956)
    Don't worry. As a musician you are supposed to get by with merchandising and live shows. You can also offer your stuff for download from your web page and "ask for donations". If you are a songwriter, I think a musician is supposed to pay you (somehow). Other than that, people get free access to your work. Or at least that is my understanding from reading slashdot every day.
  • by iamwahoo2 (594922) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @09:08AM (#36640970)
    The summary missed the true problem which is that this TOS requires that the user hold copyright or right to grant a license on the material in question. Which means you can only put up original content, public domain, etc... Legally purchased MP3s cannot be uploaded, GPL content cannot be uploaded (as there terms are not GPL compatible). It is a slippery slope and poorly thought out move by dropbox's lawyers. By opening door to the idea that users need to control certain copyright terms in order to use cloud based storage, you essentially make it useless from a standpoint of using the service legally and you will increase pressure from **AA to force cloud based storage managers to police and filter content.
  • by mrtwice99 (1435899) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @09:47AM (#36641074)
    Seriously, you are going to compare Dropbox to "a basic website with webspace", and this gets modded Insightful? I have lots of websites, there is a reason I use Dropbox, its a great product. I'm just concerned the terms are overly broad.
  • Re:Out of context (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Saturday July 02, 2011 @09:59AM (#36641126) Journal
    The entire thing is horrible from a legal standpoint. If that's their actual TOS, rather than an informal FAQ or similar, then run a mile from their service. They clearly haven't consulted a (remotely competent) lawyer in drawing up a legal document. From previous Slashdot stories, they haven't consulted a remotely competent cryptographer in designing their encryption either. I wonder if they've consulted anyone competent about anything at all...

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