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 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I didn't say it's acceptable or unacceptable to do that. Don't put words in my mouth. We were discussing you and your false statement.

    However, in my opinion, I honestly don't care one way or another. At the end of the day, a company is going to do what a company is going to do. I have very little say in the matter.

    Honestly, no offense, rewrite your sentence. I'm having difficulty understanding some of it. "you won't speak about publicly or say you have not stance on is not fair to the people who use their services". That's English obviously, it just seems unclear. So I can't properly respond.

    I assume you're saying something about Google and the people who use it's services, but what exactly is unclear to me?

    Nor did I say Google doesn't know their own stance on a given issue. To think a person or company wouldn't know their/it's own stance on something is indeed naive, which is a good thing I didn't say or think that. Again, we were discussing YOU. And your false statement about Google, for which you've presented no proof/evidence to support your original claim.

    Now, let's make it simple. Do you have evidence (of a verifiable nature) that "Google Supports CISPA, end of story."?

    If you do, present it please.

    If you don't, care to retract your statement? Or amend it to something like... "I believe Google supports CISPA, but I have no proof of such support. As such it is purely speculation on my part."

    The latter gets respect from me and others here because you're stating your beliefs and acknowledging you have nothing to support them. The former will get you called out on, as it clearly did, and which you're now trying to detract away from by changing the conversation and/or by putting words in my mouth, when clearly the focus was on you and your statement.

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