PetaPixel

FUD Over Google+’s Terms of Service

Last year Scott Bourne caused some commotion among photo-enthusiasts by claiming that Twitter’s ToS forced photographers to give up rights to photos shared through the service. After Google launched their new Google+ social network, Bourne again wrote a very similar post warning his readers about the ToS. We weren’t planning on weighing in, but seeing that the FUD has spread to our comments and even The Washington Post, we’d like to clear some of it away for our readers.

Well, there’s actually only one thing I’d like to point out. Here’s how Bourne quoted the ToS in his post, writing “please carefully note these sections…”:

“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.”

“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.”

“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.”

Now let’s take a look at what the Terms of Service — which he links to — actually say:

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, 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. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services. [Emphasis added]

11.2 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.

11.3 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.

What happened? Of the six sentences in the “sections” he quotes, he omits two of them — two sentences that don’t support his argument! Trying to interpret Terms of Service is one thing, but taking them out of context is a big no-no.

Here’s an illuminating comment left by a commenter named “metagrapher” over on WaPo:

It’s practically the same ToS that exists for every photography website on the internet. The fact is, in order to resize an image you have to have the rights to do so. In order to display an image, worldwide, in a format or dimension or crop other than the original you have to have the rights to do that. This ToS doesn’t mean, in any regard, that you are giving up your rights to make money from your work. You aren’t transferring nor losing any rights at all, you are simply allowing a website to display your image. If you don’t want your image displayed on the website, then why are you trying to upload it? It just means you are giving them the right to manipulate your image so that it can be displayed on Google+. [#]

For a more reasonable analysis of how Google+ handles your rights, check out this post by photographer Jim Goldstein — it’s much more deserving of your eyeballs.


Image credit: scream and shout by mdanys


 
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  • TK

    Scott attacked me when I corrected him on Twitter, glad to see Petapixel proving him wrong. He can’t keep spreading misinformation like this, and then insulting those that correct him. http://i.imgur.com/KkOPH.png

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

     Man he is a douche.  Portrait of the feeble western world. 

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

     Man he is a douche.  Portrait of the feeble western world. 

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

     Man he is a douche.  Portrait of the feeble western world. 

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

     Man he is a douche.  Portrait of the feeble western world. 

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

     Man he is a douche.  Portrait of the feeble western world. 

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

     Man he is a douche.  Portrait of the feeble western world. 

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

     Man he is a douche.  Portrait of the feeble western world. 

  • http://twitter.com/richardford Richard Ford

     Man he is a douche.  Portrait of the feeble western world. 

  • Adam Anne

    Stop using Internet. Its evil and you cannot do a shit if someone stole your “images”. What a f**k you can do if someone from China resell your photographs? Nothing.

  • Adam Anne

    Stop using Internet. Its evil and you cannot do a shit if someone stole your “images”. What a f**k you can do if someone from China resell your photographs? Nothing.

  • Adam Anne

    Stop using Internet. Its evil and you cannot do a shit if someone stole your “images”. What a f**k you can do if someone from China resell your photographs? Nothing.

  • http://lavapix.com Bryan Lowry

    All too funny. Use a small watermark and post away. State your © terms in the cation.

  • http://lavapix.com Bryan Lowry

    “caption”

  • Bryan Bennett

    I think what bothers me most here is “Perpetual, irrevocable”. I don’t mind that they have the permission to do all of these things to my content, but that permission should end when I say it ends – in particular, when I disable an account. I’m not a fan of the idea that my content will continue on on a web host after I’m gone. And the possibility that I won’t know that’s happening is also very high. 

  • Charles Mason

    it’s only “Perpetual” and “Irrevocable” until you end your relationship with google. it’s only a couple sections later in the ToS (#13)…

    13. Ending your relationship with Google13.1 The Terms will continue to apply until terminated by either you or Google as set out below.13.2 If you want to terminate your legal agreement with Google, you may do so by (a) notifying Google at any time and (b) closing your accounts for all of the Services which you use, where Google has made this option available to you. Your notice should be sent, in writing, to Google’s address which is set out at the beginning of these Terms.

  • Asushilp
  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_W2GRH3LDEKRE72SECDP24YFF2A Maple

    your “images”. What a f**k you can do if someone from China resell your photographs? Nothing.
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