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Remember +Ryan Estrada (circle him!) the official LiveJournal comic who has suggested G+ could use an official comic to explain things to users (user guides, important info, etc.) Here's a brilliant execution of his idea. At MySpace we had frequent blowups over users misunderstanding of our content policies, many of which I needed to speak about publicly just to try and calm everyone. It's a frustrating issue for content creators (because they're naturally concerned about their rights) and for dotcom companies (because stealing your rights or content is the last thing on their minds).

That said, I'm just curious -- can someone please tell me of a time when a website used a shady content policy to somehow "steal" your work and do something that harmed you? I would love to know about a real example. Please keep in mind, I am not trying to generate hysteria around G+'s policy. Google has nothing to gain by upsetting content creators, nor does any other legitimate business.
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106 comments
 
It's great to see your continued interest in G+, Tom.
 
people misunderstanding these policies is indeed an issue. If there were some sort of Standard Privacy License backed by some 3rd party along the lines of Creative Commons - and this were adopted widely - this would help address this problem.
 
Google does need to fix a very simple URL hack that allows people to download full-res versions of photos posted on your + / picasa account. I like to share my work but I don't like to give away high res photos :).
 
wow, he has a download for all his stuff, nearly a GB for FREEEEEE
 
READ THE DAMNED FINE PRINT, SHEEPLE!!!

Willy Wonka ran his Chocolate Factory business exactly the same way that Google and every other SV Tech Based Firm in the world today does.

It's as Clear As Crystal:

Read & Abide by the Terms of the Contract that YOU Signed, or else YOU GET NOTHING:

http://youtu.be/HaoySOGlZ_U

Standard, Boiler-Plate stuff, really.

The Contract:

(Note that the letters get progressively smaller, way smaller)

http://bit.ly/ob33FX

WHEREAS

The Management Cannot Be Held Responsible For Any Accidents, Incidents, Loss Of Property Or Life Or Limb.

And

WHEREAS

For Damage Caused By Lightning, Earthquakes, Floods, Fire, Frost Or Frippery Of Any Sort, Kind Or Condition, Consequently The Undersigned Take Responsibility.

WHEREAS

During the term of this Agreement you will become and remain, at your sole cost and expense and at our request, a member in good standing of any then properly designated labor unions, guilds, or other organizations, as defined and determined under the applicable law, pertaining persons performing services of the type and the character to be performed here and hereunder.

Nothing herein contained shall be deemed to require the violation of any written agreement executed between us and any such labor union, guild or other organization which may be in effect at the time of the execution of this agreement, and wherever there is any conflict between the provisions of this agreement and any other, the latter shall prevail, but in such event, the provisions of this agreement so affected shall be curtailed and limited only to the events necessary to permit compliance with such payment of any additional compensation it shall be at the minimum that is permitted thereunder.

WHEREAS

To the extent that...

...payment hereunder exceeds applicable Guild Minimum...
...excess to the fullest...
...to extent permitted by any applicable Agreement,
...shall be credited by any against any additional payment that ...may have to be made...
...to said guild agreement and shall be applied...
...or any additional rights that can be required...
...payment pursuant to said guild...
...should the provision of any labor union or...
...require the execution of any agreement for you...

----

And then the Fine Print got way too tiny for the Transcriber to read.

It goes on for about another page, with the letters getting so small and densely packed you need a microscope and Crow-Bar to pry the letters apart to read it.
 
Not complicated really. If you want people to see you, post... if not, don't.
 
Facebook never used anything of mine for anything else (nothing was really great quality) but their ability to due to their ToS and Copyright Policies is the #1 reason I left it. Not a fan of people claiming instant ownership of my IP just because it's sitting on their servers.
 
Hmm, I like that verb. "Circle him." I'll have to use that.
 
I've never heard of any legit website doing that. The negative PR would outweigh any benefits gained from the advertising and I'd expect most places have some kind of internal checks to prevent high risk situations like this from being approved without passing through at least a few layers of scrutiny. Just using someone's image that isn't a paid model raises red flags all over the place. Its hard to imagine anyone at the ad creation level thinking its worth an ad account or career to try something this stupid and then all the higher ups on the chain agreeing.
 
Hm.... Could we have a direct link so that we can comment directly on his photo? You know, so that the feedback is on his page.
 
Shaq - his link is the first thing in the post.
 
That's what I don't get +Nathan McKelvey. You post your photos or content on a sharing site (we're talking a storage site or a direct messaging site... a sharing site) and then complain that google is stealing it? Silly. I can get +Lon Seidman 's complaint, very valid and I hope they get a good way to fix it (maybe even a direct purchase system)... but for others... you don't want to share your work, don't. Your loss when no one knows who you are. Jonathan Coulton gave his songs away for free with a creative commons liscense attached... now he's making tons of money.
 
+Tom Anderson I remember when I had a Twitter following count that at THAT time made me one of the top 50 followed there... Huffington Post kept quoting my tweets totally out of context and made me sound like some rabid EXTREME right winger... (which if anything I'm a bit left of center) and I got a ton of "hate" tweets from some "lefties" then when I tried to calm them I got "hate" tweets from right extremists. Go figure.
 
I think this addresses the rumour that google+ could take your photos and claim them
 
+Tom Anderson what can we do about the lack of female interest in G+ ???

i'll admit sometimes its best to keep wimminz in the kitchen but it can get lonely here sometimes :P
 
I think most of site got similar policy, even FB can use your photo for advertisement << this is something I hate the most
 
+Arleen Boyd that's annoying - I've had that happen to me, but that doesn't really pertain to this issue does it? It had nothing to do with Twitter's policy and your content wasn't even on Huffington Post.
 
Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't Myspace do just that with their "Myspace Music" compilations? Or did Myspace acquire the rights to those songs separately.
 
+Andrew Green - absolutely artists were compensated. That's sort of my point that you'd even think such a thing... (Not trying to pick on you...) But no legitimate company in their right mind would ever "steal" content from their users and try to profit from it. I'd be really interested to find some examples in here if people can come up with them.
 
Really interesting, I'd never looked at the Google ToS before, and interesting to get the dot com's perspective. To be honest, privacy has never bothered me. I never put private stuff online.
 
+Frederick Oops, didn't see that kitchen joke. The first step - cut the jokes.
 
+Blakefair McIntosh Now that may be an interesting case. But if you were planning to sell the rights to a photo, I think you could take it down from G+ and sever their rights.
 
I think we got more male internet geeks than female, that's why we got more male here, but when G+ already got app on phones/smartphones, I think it's going balance, just need to wait.
for +Tom Anderson , how bout showing our picture we uploaded for advertisement? FB do it, eq: [picture] your friend use this app bla2, isn't that for profit? Sure we use the service for free, they have to pay for server and everything, but advertiser should provide the picture, not using member's picture, that's IMHO
 
+Tom Anderson, yes, I saw it. However, I felt that maybe a direct link to the photo itself would be nice and make users more apt to comment directly onto +Ryan Estrada's work where he could easily see it himself.
Also a 'reshare' would have gotten rid of the trouble to be had with downloading and reposting photos on G+. I'm not sure why the photo was resized the way it was in your previous post.. Odd quirk..
 
"can someone please tell me of a time when a website used a shady content policy to somehow "steal" your work"

Exactly. I've been saying this for years, but I don't have the kind of reach you do. Thanks for saying it again. This kind of paranoia is as senseless as the "heavy metal bands are putting secret messages in their music to make their fans kill themselves" nonsense.
 
I’m reading the comments, +Shaquanna Monk no worries!
 
Kill themselves?! The message say we're supposed to kill other people!
I mean... nothing to see here... carry on!
 
Interesting point Kurnia and Geek Sprocket. I don't think FB is "stealing" your photo but it is profiting from it and maybe using it in a way a user wouldn't expect (i.e. to put it in an ad). I wonder if one can opt out of this? And its sort of a side issue-- because the real concern over these things is for artists who puts real effort into creating content and then are worried about somehow losing something by sharing it online.
 
+Ryan Estrada, good to see you here! I guess my comment is now completely pointless. :) Thanks for your work and clarifying some concerns about the ToS.
 
There was a dot com (unnamed due to continued litigation) poetry magazine, both print and electronic. They would take writers' poems off of blogs, publish them in their magazine without prior permission and without compensation. Worse scandals have plagued this magazine and they barely exist anymore because of such behavior.
 
+Erica T Well put. We all have different roles to fulfill in society...our ability to fit those roles are often hampered by rhetoric about outdated stereotypes; joking or not. My father, retired USAF pilot, was a stay-at-home-dad and an absolute BEAST in the kitchen.

New social mediums like G+ are the most likely vehicle to allow us to transcend those that hinder progress and collaboration.
 
is there anyway to patent your content? or copyright it?
 
I got my eLaw degree at the University of Wikipedia, but my understanding of licenses of this nature that they are revokable at either time; basically, you grant license, NOT copy_right_ exclusivity. A license is different from granting copyright. YOu can sell your copyright, but granting a license is only giving permission to use something. The "irrevokable" part of that license means that you can't take it back and sue them later after you've removed the content, saying that the use they put it to way back when is no longer okay.

It doesn't mean you can never ever grant license to anyone else. If you really do have an intellectual property that could potentially be compromised by sharing it on Google Plus then don't post it. It's as simple as that.
 
Short of coming with an Universal Consumer/End User TOS that the Firm has to Sign and Agree to before you Sign their TOS, this is always going to be a One Way Street.

And the Party that Writes, Presents, Sets and Puts the TOS to the Signee will always always have the Upper Hand.

Those are the Breaks
 
+Kurnia Lim If you make it, it’s copyrighted by you. Posting it somewhere like here only strengthens your case, as you can prove when it was made. You can’t patent it, unless it is an invention.
 
I am told that the difference between Google and Facebook is that with Google you own your content and if you leave Google+, Google will erase all of your content so you take it with you. Also, if you delete an email, it gets erased from everywhere on all Google servers and backups. That is very expensive and nobody else does this. I am also told that Facebook's terms say that they own your content and if you leave, your content stays behind, they do not go to the expense of erasing it the way Google does. That said, I have not read the terms of either company, just going by what I have been told.
 
There was a big fuss around dropbox weeks ago, due to similar changes in their ToS.
 
+Tom Anderson I think one of the real problems any company would have with taking someone's content without asking is that even after any potential PR nightmares and concerns that the TOS would cover such a thing, there's no way to be sure that the content would be legally usable.

Even for a photograph, which is the most likely content to be appropriated, you can't guarantee that the content belongs to the poster and not their wife or friend or that they are just reposting photos they found elsewhere online. Why take the risk?
 
The problem is that lawyers have developed a special language which is intentionally difficult for the layman to understand. Sadly, we've allowed the rules of our society to be crafted by these people so that we now need lawyers to get anything done (or not done as is often the case).
 
+Tom Anderson's posts on here are way more awesome than they were on Myspace, needs to update his photo though.
 
I was about to share this, but you beat me to it. Dammit Tom!
 
Post a photo to Facebook. Then download that photo. Open the download in Photoshop, Lightroom, ExifGUI, whatever and look at the metadata. Facebook strips out the information, making your photo unidentifiable. When they were getting all up in arms about their privacy and TOS, I posed the question: if you say that my photos are mine, why do you strip out ownership from them? There is mo reason to remove metadata from a photo.
BTW, "sharing" means allowing others to view, enjoy and comment on your work. It doesn't mean giving it away for others to use.
 
+Heather Dudley hilarious (and informative!) +Kirk Morgan thx--sounds like a small site, though (sorta my sense that its probably not a concern on anything of stature).
 
Here's an interesting video. The dotcom (Flickr) didn't steal the image but people downloaded the image. It's a two edged sword for an artist (I'm a photog myself) and the guy in the video says it: it's his work and he would like to be compensated but the flip side is if the image hadn't been "stolen" his work probably wouldn't be popular. This may be a little off base but watch and decide for yourself.... Fstoppers Original: The Stolen Scream
 
Funny. Clear and straight to points. 
 
Tom, we had the same issue pop up when we claimed ownership of the content in discussion forums on one of our larger sites. It's user generated content on our site, our forum, but in the user's mind, they own anything they type into a discussion forum. How did you resolve the issue for MS?
 
Wasn't there a big flap over one of the online photo sites claiming that it had the rights to negotiation with newspapers and other web sites over photos which were posted on their site?
 
Re: the original image: Funnyjunk, I'm looking at you
 
+Alex McNeill - I hate to give names because I'm awful at remembering names, but I remember it as being some site which was used a lot by people on Twitter. Definitely not Facebook. (not the one I'm thinking of, at least)
 
Most of the FUD concerns photos and the potential sale value of same. I recall exactly the same crap nonsense concerns being expressed over on Flickr. Bottom line is, if you think your photography has enough merit to make money for you, you should post it somewhere else, like Redbubble or one of the other sites that are geared to sales. By all means post smaller sized images here with a link to the sales site if you want.

Most of us don't care, at least until the haters get online and start spreading angst.
 
I really appreciate this analysis of what really happens behind the scenes. Thanks for your continued support.
 
I love that you used the same pic from back in the day! MySpace was the shiznit! Love the enthusiasm you have for Google+
 
+Scott Clark, discussion forums would be similar to magazines, and the issue of forum copyright goes back to Compuserve, Prodigy and GEnie. Magazines use a compilation copyright, that means other magazines can't use the material as published. However, barring any other agreement, the writers and artists still hold the copyright to their individual works.
In the same manner, if I post to a forum (like here), I own the copyright to my words. However, the forum can copyright the forum and its comments to keep other forums from lifting posts and whole conversations from THIS forum.
Hali DJ
 
not if you click on the image
 
The best thing Google+ has is Tom. The rest is just a Social Network killer.
Google+ is not about social networking, it is all about destabilization of social network concept. Back to search and a central page to administer all of your needs in internet.
 
I have to agree with this post. Facebook has distanced me from friends by making them invisible to my feed and me invisible to their feed. It's really the dumbest thing a company could do on a social network if you ask me...
 
+Antone Johnson My sense exactly, though didn't have a legal background to back up the statement. Totally understand the artists fear here, but it makes sense to think before reacting. (Unless they're just trying to get attention for themselves/their art, which, unfortunately, I think was often the case for the artists organizing the "online demonstrations" about the issue.) I'm also still looking for someone to give us some truly onerous examples here. Always something to learn :)
 
FB say they don't own your content

"A note about your photos
There is a false rumour circulating that Facebook is changing the ownership your private photos. You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook" - from FB -> Account Settings -> Facebook Adverts .

but the owner of a site has to have some kind of control of user generated content anyway .. the owner of the site is legally responsible for the content, even if users generate it, so if the owner couldn't moderate his forum for example (if the creators own their posts, he wouldn't be allowed to delete or edit them), then anyone could post all sorts of illegal stuff and the owner of the site would be responsible..

but, even if a lot of people think so, the internet is not totally the land of the free anyway.. my house (site), my rules.. :)

Also, there's a lot of fuzz about the "you can't delete your FB account" thing.. but you can.. it's just a bit hard to find ..

Even you Tom have some rights to my stuff right now, since I'm posting on your thread and you can Moderate it :)
 
I guess even though there may not have been experiences, that doesn't mean people who create content shouldn't be worried about it happening or people in general wanting to make sure they have control over what a corporation (not an individual who takes your photos etc.) can do with the information once they get it. 'Dey took er jerbs' and all that.

For me, I don't give a fuck really. Google et al can take all of the information they find on me and sell it to whoever so they can market a product better towards me. Great, won't make me buy the product. Too poor for that.

On Kenneth's point about deleting your FB account. I tried that once out of interest, then undeleted it. Came back with all my photos, friends, tags on photos etc. after about a week. So yeah, it seems that even though you're deleted, you're not really deleted.
 
+Antone Johnson Interesting, interesting.. Those onerous things are in most TOS, as well. At least #1, #4 and #5. Are #2 and #3 just as common in your experience? Btw, are you at eHarmony now? Some other users brought up the FB issue. The FB use in ads is a different issue to be sure, and not really what the content creators are worried about. Does FB let you opt out of that use for ads if you want?
 
I don't see adds with my friends profile pics on FB anymore.. but the "[some product], [friend x] likes this", you can turn that off
 
+Tom Anderson I dont get why your posts keep jumping to the top of my stream!
Is this part of some new algorithm that google has developed?
 
when facebook came into the picture..........they stole; remember that
 
Brilliant. Hoping this gets shared around everyone that uses Google+ :)
 
What +Mohnish G S said...srsly starting to get on my nerves, fair enough I love your posts, but having it be the first thing I see for several days is starting to piss me off. - Theres always the ability to mute posts but we really shouldn't have to.

Is it you editing the posts or something?
 
My main concern is less about ownership, and more about migration, i.e. how easy it is to jump ship when the platform du jour becomes old hat. I'm not thinking of jumping ship any time soon, but Google seem quite clear and open on this too, with the Data Liberation section of the Google Account settings.
 
Love it - Google could definitely use something like that. The comic style sets a suitably casual tone.
 
The graphics belong on Myspace, but that's the way all license agreements should read in the first place.
 
Thx +Antone Johnson Actually, I just saw one on FB, but as a user points out above, you can opt out :) Good luck in your practice. Seems like a good niche for a practice. :)
 
How do you disable reshare on the photos?
 
The comic is a good idea, but if a company creates some sort of simplification of the terms, do those become legally binding? Their hands may be tied in their ability to officially say "this is what this policy means" without creating something which could bite them later.

Your point about companies stealing your work is spot-on.
 
Shouldn't it be "encircle him", or "surround him"? :)
 
Nobody is going after Google's practice, but I hate —and I'm willing to engage in physically violent retaliation against— their legal counsel for writing insanely abusive terms of services. These assholes have voided any on-line contract of any meaning, and are killing the internet. I'm a data analyst, and I need those contracts to be clear, and to match what I do for a living, which as nothing to do with what is in there. What is in there is worthy of what Chinese teach about Tibetan feodal rule.
If you come across me in any social setting and say you have anything to do with that assine, leonine, abusive non-sense, I will punch in the face so hard you with so much rage that no one will be able to match it with your ID anymore. That is not a threat, it is a promise. Your role is to protect your client, and what you are doing with that is prove that you are so incompetent and moronic, you can't tell Pol Pot - grade abuses from a sane relationship between a social media provider and its users.
 
"How often do reputable, mainstream sites steal people's content and profit from it? Virtually never, "

Wow, +Antone Johnson , that sure is a bunch of weasel words strung together. Seems to me that under the criteria you set out if +Larry Page came to my house and stuck a shiv in my spleen to grab my photo disk that would not qualify as long as he only did it once (once being virtually never) and if Rupert Murdoch did the same, well we've all learned that he's not "reputable" didn't we?

Which is kind of the point. A lawyer's job is to shove enough contingencies into a sentence to make sure his client can never be considered liable. And its surprising that some users view that language with suspicion? Seriously?

The most blatant rights grabs I can think of are in the context of photo contests. It seems like a couple of times a year the various photo boards erupt with outrage as some company runs a contest where the act of submission assigns all rights to the company running the contest. I think Costco had that issue a couple of years ago (they seem to have fixed it for this year's contest.)
 
I've heard of Plenty of Fish taking user uploaded pictures and putting them in ads, or selling them to other companies
 
Well....some people just don understand the fine print. This will surely help.. :)
 
Tom will you ever change your picture?
 
Tom, It's me Lee. Your friend Lee? I think you are doing a great job at promoting and clarifying G+. Thank you! I have re-posted a bunch of the stuff that you have posted on here and it is all super-helpful!
 
Holy Shit. I was wondering why "Tom" was showing up in my friend suggestions. I thought it was someone trying to make a bad joke. 
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