I’ve written in the past about Facebook and Picasa and their (IMHO) ridiculous terms (at least at the time, I haven’t reviewed them lately). Now twitpic, a site that we all
use used to upload pictures to show on twitter has decided that they are more than welcome to sell our pictures. They even tried to say “everyone does it” with the new, improved, “you own the copyright but we’ll still do whatever we want” terms. Luckily, we are welcome to switch services, and I suggest you think about it if you care about this sort of thing.
More generally, to solve this whole TOS problem, I hereby propose two sets of terms of service agreements, and a company can just pick one and put it on their web site. They’re even short enough to put on the front page, instead of behind the tiny link hidden below everything else. Short enough that *gasp* people might even read them.
Option 1: (e.g. twitpic, along with twitter and many others)
We provide a service. You upload your stuff. Don’t upload porn or illegal stuff. Once you upload it, we own it as much as you do, and we’ll do whatever we please with it. You promise to defend us from anyone who doesn’t like that.
Option 2: (e.g. yfrog, smugmug, and others)
We provide a service. You upload your stuff. Don’t upload porn or illegal stuff. We’ll put your stuff on our web site like you asked.
Add something to both of those like “we won’t tell anyone your email or contact info” and I think the terms would be pretty much complete.
Yeah, it would be good if there really were some generic easily identifiable TOS, a bit like CC. It would probably helpful for startups and other Websites that incorporate user-generated content but aren’t primarily content sharing platforms. Maybe we could ask the CC folks to adopt this idea?
Does Flickr own the photos uploaded to their site??