Calm Down Internet: Google Drive's Terms Are The Standard For Countless Websites, Including Gmail

from the oh-good,-this-again... dept

Remember when everyone freaked out about parts of Pinterest's terms of service? And how, slowly but surely, word got out that the same terms can be found on virtually every website and are mostly harmless? And then everyone learned a lesson and calmed down, and would approach future terms of service with new knowledge and understanding?

Wait, scratch that last part. TNW reports that the terms of Google's much-anticipated Drive service, which launched this week, have been treated to the same warm welcome from the Twitterverse. Someone spotted yet another variant of the "worldwide license" clause that all websites include, and before long the freakout flag was flying.

The clause in question, though admittedly scary-sounding, is routine:

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.

I hate to break it to the panicking masses, but Google is not planning on turning your spreadsheets into a touring art exhibit. A broad license like this is necessary to allow Google to operate such a service, permitting them to move the data around freely on their many servers all over the world, and display it to you (or the people you share it with) through a variety of devices and interfaces. The nightmare-labyrinth of international copyright law means that the most Google could do without such a clause is accept your data then immediately delete it—and even then someone would probably try to claim they made five unauthorized copies en route to the trash bin.

Perhaps most amusing is the fact that this piece of legal lingo doesn't come from the Google Drive terms of service, but from Google's overall terms for all their services. Meaning it already applies to everything from Gmail to Google Mars—so this might just be getting started. At this point, I suspect every social network and user content website online is waiting for the hammer to fall, since any one of them could be singled out at any time for yet another round. Oh well, I guess nothing beats a good freakout.

Filed Under: google drive, license, terms of service
Companies: google, pinterest


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Apr 2012 @ 10:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Which brings us back to his original point, "I have no idea. But that doesn't change the fact you were lying about Google supporting CISPA. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't...but right now, we do not know.

    Do not speak on things of which you know NOTHING about."

    Emphasis on "maybe" and "but right now, we do not know".

    YOU were making a declarative statement on something you have no proof of. As such, he was correct. YOU don't know, neither does he. But his comment was to point out that you specifically were stating a false, declarative statement about their support for CISPA.

    Unless you have definitive proof/evidence, DO NOT state such things as fact. You can put "Well I believe..." but don't put it the way you did. Unless you want to get called out on it.

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