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Old 09-04-2008, 08:44 AM   #1
ktinkel
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Default EULA-itis and Google (even Chrome?)

Seems there was quite a little to-do over the Chrome EULA yesterday. It was the same one used for other Google services (though an open source browser doesn’t quite seem like a service to me), requiring users to grant a “perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, and nonexclusive license to … any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

Well, it turns out to be not so. According to a report in Ars Technica, Google is changing the EULA removing that language as well as retroactive.

Okay, so now it only applies to other Google services. Which ones, exactly? And how? (Guess we need to actually read the things.)

When I started out as a freelance writer, writing contracts usually covered first North American rights. Fair enough. By the end of the 20th century, however, writers’ contracts often asked for the kind of rights Google is now claiming from computer users in its standard EULA. That seemed outrageous to me then and still does.

But it is one thing for writers. In theory at least, they can negotiate with publishers.

How do computer users negotiate with Google? Simply by avoiding their services? Difficult, these days.

Just a rant.

   
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Old 09-04-2008, 10:04 AM   #2
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requiring users to grant a “perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, and nonexclusive license to … any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services
Is that an assignment of copyright in writing? I shouldn't think so. I would seem that Google's grasp of copyright law is about as sound as its knowledge of spelling.

   
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Old 09-05-2008, 06:59 PM   #3
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How do computer users negotiate with Google? Simply by avoiding their services? Difficult, these days.
How so? The only Google service I use is search and I could easily switch to Yahoo or one of the others.

   
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:40 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by ktinkel View Post
Seems there was quite a little to-do over the Chrome EULA yesterday. It was the same one used for other Google services (though an open source browser doesn’t quite seem like a service to me), requiring users to grant a “perpetual, worldwide, royalty-free, and nonexclusive license to … any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

Well, it turns out to be not so. According to a report in Ars Technica, Google is changing the EULA removing that language as well as retroactive.

Okay, so now it only applies to other Google services. Which ones, exactly? And how? (Guess we need to actually read the things.)

When I started out as a freelance writer, writing contracts usually covered first North American rights. Fair enough. By the end of the 20th century, however, writers’ contracts often asked for the kind of rights Google is now claiming from computer users in its standard EULA. That seemed outrageous to me then and still does.

But it is one thing for writers. In theory at least, they can negotiate with publishers.

How do computer users negotiate with Google? Simply by avoiding their services? Difficult, these days.

Just a rant.
If I post a short story using a Google service, Google has rights to it? How would they know?

Yes, this is something frightening, but I am not sure what it means.
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:45 AM   #5
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If I post a short story using a Google service, Google has rights to it? How would they know?
They claim it for anything posted using their service, whatever that means. From their point of view, the rationale may be that they do not want to be accused of theft — this way, in theory at least, they cannot be because the act of using their stuff grants them the rights.

But they are non-exclusive. That means you can do whatever else you want to do with it as well. That assumes that Google’s use doesn’t cause your story to lose its luster.

   
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Old 09-06-2008, 06:46 AM   #6
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How so? The only Google service I use is search and I could easily switch to Yahoo or one of the others.
That is (probably) true. Those who use gmail or Chrome or Google toolbars, etc., may be subject to the EULA.

   
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Old 09-06-2008, 09:44 AM   #7
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That seemed outrageous to me then and still does
It first appeared that Google was claiming that its 'customers' had assigned their copyrights, but I reread the message, and then it was clear that it was only claiming a licence; that appears essential, for otherwise Google could reproduce nothing that was not Google's own copyright.

   
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Old 09-08-2008, 04:13 AM   #8
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That is (probably) true. Those who use gmail or Chrome or Google toolbars, etc., may be subject to the EULA.
I have one (extremely low-volume) newsletter subscription, and one other contact in GMail, and I read that with Opera. And I have an Adsense account (paying exactly nothing these days). And that's the sum total of Google services I use these days. Google search has been removed from my list of search engines in Firefox because it kept jumping to the top position where I had Yahoo! which I want to keep there.

Occasionally I am sent to a Google site (to read a group, or to read about software), but I am not, myself, using these services (and would not dream of doing so).

It's really easy to avoid Google. There are alternatives for everything they do - and often better alternatives.

   
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Old 09-08-2008, 12:35 PM   #9
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It's really easy to avoid Google. There are alternatives for everything they do - and often better alternatives.
How easy it is to avoid Google depends on how much energy a person wants to put into avoiding it. There may be better alternatives, for instance, to Gmail, Google News, Google Notebooks, and Google Docs (some of the Google items I regularly use) but these all do what I need them to do and are readily accessible to me in one place. (I can't even begin to tell you how handy Google Notebooks have been.) I have other computing tasks requiring my attention and, for me, seeking out replacements for things that aren't "broken" would be a real waste of time. (I already am far too easily side-tracked from whatever the task at hand might be. )

   
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Old 09-09-2008, 05:30 AM   #10
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How easy it is to avoid Google depends on how much energy a person wants to put into avoiding it. There may be better alternatives, for instance, to Gmail, Google News, Google Notebooks, and Google Docs (some of the Google items I regularly use) but these all do what I need them to do and are readily accessible to me in one place. (I can't even begin to tell you how handy Google Notebooks have been.) I have other computing tasks requiring my attention and, for me, seeking out replacements for things that aren't "broken" would be a real waste of time.
Well, I don't need to "seek out replacements" because I don't even start using anything Google that I might need to seek out a replacement for! I'll probably move off the few things I'm still using GMail for - and for webmail I've been using Yahoo! for ages: that's where I immediately fled to after trying GMail and not liking it it at all (to put it mildly). And since I found (now also ages ago) that - for my searches - Yahoo! almost invariably comes up with not only more results but more relevant (to me) results than Google I haven't been using Google to search, except occasionally for images (and only if Yahoo! doesn't come up with something I need).

All the other things Google has on offer I don't even start using. I can't imagine why I would use Google Docs when I have OpenOffice.org (sitting right on my USB stick so I can take it anywhere and use it on a Mac or a Windows machine). Google Notebooks? I don't even know what that is so I probably don't need it or I would have come across it. I definitely don't want anything to do with Picasa - I tried it - it only gets in the way, and does not help at all. Google groups? I can use mailing lists or IRC or microblogging or instant messaging for all sorts of conversations, so I only come there (very occasionally) to read someone else's group. To cooperate on documents I can use a wiki. To share my software I can use SourceForge, or a number of other OSS sites, or simply one of my own sites - no need for any Google offering. For reading feeds I can use my desktop application, or Bloglines (or any number of other services) online. For Jabber (and IM) I use Psi - again on my USB stick, ready to use on Win and Mac - no need for GoogleTalk.

What else?

You see: "avoiding" is not the same thing as "seeking replacements for". I just don't start. I really don't want Google to store huge amounts of data about my activities, so I literally avoid it, with very few exceptions. That data hoarding (without European privacy rules applying) means for me that Google is seriously broken.

   
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