Oh Google, so naive early on when you said you wouldn’t be evil, now look at you – congratulations on building a more useful Facebook on steroids, and then undermining all the goodness with your TOS… Perhaps they learnt this one from Facebook, but serious photographers (amateur or professional) should be concerned. Similarly, all forms of digital artistry are equally affected, perhaps more… Read on
There’s a great little article on PhotoFocus warning everyone, and photographers in particular, to look carefully at the Google TOS before signing up or uploading content!
Here’s the crux of the issue, and it looks a lot like Facebook’s old license before they caved and updated it:
“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.”
Facebook’s current TOS is not as specific, because they seem to say less using more words:
For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
What’s wrong with the Google TOS? Well, it depends on how concerned you are about the possibility of uncontrolled re-use and potential manipulation! So “point and shooters” may not care (hasn’t hurt Facebook!). More serious photographers are probably going to have some reservations. And artists in other (digital) mediums are just as affected and should think about what they post.
Check out the whole article for yourself – I’ve been invited to Google+ but I’m thinking hard about avoiding it for the time being…