Did France Just Make It Effectively Impossible To Use Twitter?

from the stop-it,-europe dept

Europe really seems to have it in for the internet these days -- from the GDPR to antitrust actions to the Copyright Directive to the Right to be Forgotten, almost every legal issue popping up in Europe is coming out terribly for innovation and the public's ability to communicate freely with one another. The latest may seem a bit more narrowly focused, but it could be super important. As described on the always wonderful IPKat blog, the Paris Tribunal heard a complaint brought against Twitter by the French Consumers' Association challenging the validity of Twitter's terms of service for a whole long list of reasons.

But just to keep this more focused we'll discuss the part that matters to us: the copyright license. We've discussed the "copyright license" terms (that basically every online platform has somewhere in the terms) a few times in the past -- mainly because every so often someone totally misreads or misunderstands it and a huge, viral, and totally misleading freakout occurs. That's because basically any service that hosts user content has some basic term that effectively says "when you're posting something to our site, you are granting us a perpetual license to host it on this and future iterations of our site, and that extends to other sites where our stuff might appear." That's the plain language version of it, but some people act as if it's an outrage that a platform is claiming that it can have such a broad license to include the content on future sites or with partners. Many -- incorrectly -- claim that this means that the sites are planning to "sell" your content to third parties. That's not the case. The clause really just allows for things like "embedding" where the same content will appear on other sites, and that alone shouldn't be seen as an infringement. So you're licensing the content for such uses.

But, some people still find this offensive... and apparently that includes the Paris Tribunal. Twitter's terms attempt to explain this situation pretty clearly:

You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your incorporated audio, photos and videos are considered part of the Content).

By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed). This license authorizes us to make your Content available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same.

The French Consumers Union (Union Federale des Consummateurs -- or UFC) finds this to be somehow misleading, saying that the whole beginning telling users they retain their rights is misleading, given the rest of the explanation saying that you're granting a (non-exclusive) right for Twitter to then make use of it. This is a very confused reading. Again, the necessity of the license is so that you can post something to Twitter without Twitter then having to worry you're going to sue them over the thing that you yourself posted. UFC also complained that the license was somehow "too broad."

And the Tribunal bought these arguments:

"The aforementioned clause which grants to the service provider the right to use, for free, any content generated by the user, including content which may be protected by authors’ rights, without specifying in enough detail the content concerned, the nature of the rights transferred and the nature of the commercial uses agreed upon, infringes the provisions of Articles L 131-1, L 131-2 and L 131-3 of the Intellectual Property Code"

Specifically, the tribunal is basically saying that every copyright license has to be written out specifically around that content, and specify what the content is and what it will be used for:

the IPC, Article L 1341-1 prohibits the assignment or licensing of future works: “Total transfer of future works shall be null and void”. The IPC also requires that transfers of rights (assignments or licences) be recorded in writing and be very specific as to their content. It is a legal requirement that each right being ‘transferred’ (i.e. assigned or licensed) be separately mentioned in the contract and that the scope, purpose, place and duration of the exploitation for each of these rights be clearly defined in the agreement for the provision to be valid (see, IPC Article L 131-3). In other words, vague blanket assignments of present or future works are null and void in France.

A big part of the problem here -- as highlighted in the IPKat article -- is that France's law apparently doesn't distinguish between assignments of copyrights and licenses. That's... bonkers. The requirements above make a lot more sense when talking about assignments (transferring the actual copyright to someone). But they make zero sense when it comes to mere licensing (basically permission to make use of the work). But, if France is saying that every license must be treated like a full copyright transfer requiring specific contracts, well, there goes all social media and user generated content in France.

To put it mildly, this is crazy. It's taking permission culture to new insane levels. It certainly appears that under this ruling, in order to tweet in France, you need to sign a new agreement for each tweet with Twitter before you can post, in which you describe the content of the tweet itself and Twitter promises only very narrow uses. That's... insane. How can you possibly operate any site that allows for any user-generated input under such a standard?

This is what happens when you have judicial bodies who clearly don't understand how the internet works. Requiring a new specified agreement to license each individual tweet is fundamentally at odds with how the internet works as a communications mechanism. Conceivably, this could serve to show the ridiculousness of copyright itself -- that it forces such preposterous outcomes -- but remember that no other country seems to interpret terms of service this way. Anyway, it's unclear what Twitter is going to do about this, but it certainly seems like it may be risky to continue even operating in France with such a standard in play.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:24am

    Be interesting the first few times when someone sues Twitter for distributing their tweets without their permission.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:31am

    But we still don't know how deep the rabbit hole is...

    So licenses are themselves content. For example the GPL 2.0 has the following license on it:

    Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.

    So if every tweet must be licensed, and those licenses must themselves be licensed (but of their insanity)... we get a bottomless rabbit hole.

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    • icon
      OldMugwump (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 8:25am

      Re: But we still don't know how deep the rabbit hole is...

      That sort of things makes me blow my stack. ;-)

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 11:04am

      Re: But we still don't know how deep the rabbit hole is...

      So if every tweet must be licensed, and those licenses must themselves be licensed

      We could break the chain by putting the license in the public domain... which is probably not allowed in France.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:33am

    Is it just me or have insane interpretations of laws and how things work skyrocketed over the last few years? I mean, back in the 90s and early 2000s, it seemed like all this was common sense and nobody except maybe big entertainment industry threw a fit over it. Nobody cared who posted what online and everybody seemed to understand that if you didn't want people to see it, "steal" it and/or reuse it elsewhere, then you just didn't post it.

    Now you have to worry about being sued for posting your opinion that someone happens to disagree with or for making commentary on other works. Why? Can we please cut this crap? I'm starting to go insane trying to make sure I follow all the new "rules" of the internet.

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      identicon
      Pa Zoff, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:50am

      Re: The Wild West days are OVER. So too the non-corporate!

      Nobody cared who posted what online and everybody seemed to understand that if you didn't want people to see it, "steal" it and/or reuse it elsewhere, then you just didn't post it.

      What you leave out is the rise of globalist mega-corporations which like Twitter assert that They effectivly OWN all the content put up by everyone foolish enough to use their "services". -- That word is a LIE since corporations not only claim your content, but assert that they've authority to arbitrarily and absolutely control your speech and access.

      The TOS are a money grab by vast rich corporations, but you seem to take any objection as the little creators / users being totally unreasonable.

      All terms claiming that a corporation has license to use beyond hosting it exactly and only as a person put it up -- on one page usually -- must be prohited.

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      • icon
        Jeroen Hellingman (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:58am

        Re: Re: The Wild West days are OVER. So too the non-corporate!

        What you propose here is a severe form of taking, that is taking away the right from people to do with what they create as they wish. That is exactly a growing problem in the EU. What you can better agitate against is the growing inequality between authors and publishers, which allow the latter to take more from the former than they should -- but solving this by taking away rights from authors is counterproductive.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:07am

          Re: Re: Re: The Wild West days are OVER. So too the non-corporate!

          I mostly agree, though I would argue that with the rise of the internet, the inequality between authors and publishers has actually shrunk, as a whole at least.

          Authors who are still signed with legacy publishers probably have seen that gap widen, but authors who avail themselves of the self-publishing/marketing opportunities that the internet provides have actually seen the gap shrink.

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    identicon
    Pa Zoff, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:38am

    But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

    But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

    First, I note in passing that you have NO problem with "perpetual license" for corporations that merely host content, while run round shrieking at life + 70 for those who actually create.

    Your second paragraph merely rephrases the legalistic trick of corporations which UFC complains of: it's LURE with "You retain your rights" to what put on the one site, and then the corporations assert an all-inclusive "royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense)", which means they can copy it infinitely and gain money from it -- directly or indirectly. You of course try to downplay gaining money, but that's the only purpose that those money-machines have for content: fictions don't admire your poetry or giggle at cat pictures.

    That means put it up one time on what you believe is "your" page and the corporation gets to use your work everywhere forever.

    There's NO justification for the host site to acquiring a universal perpetual license. NONE. It's just a money grab.

    I also note that this must have much good sense in it, because you repeatedly deride with your fetishic incantations: "To put it mildly, this is crazy." and "That's... insane." and "That's... bonkers."

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      identicon
      Pa Zoff, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:40am

      Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

      Then you get to your favorite:

      clearly don't understand how the internet works.

      Oh, yes, we DO! -- AND DON'T LIKE IT.

      That's the part you apparently cannot understand. How could anyone NOT like giving their work to corporations?

      The Internet at present is corporations TAKING the work of creators and monetizing without ever paying -- they even dodge taxes. That's the core of piracy, pirate sites, "social media", search, and surveillance capitalism too -- all of which you support.

      You manifestly cannot understand the concerns and interests of ordinary people who MAKE stuff. You are an Ivy League indoctrinated ivory-tower "economist" and cannot see the world except in terms of corporations and money, you appear to identify totally with Them, not The Public. You don't even support corporations that create, have been trying to kill copyright for 20 years so that globalist grifters can just take whatever want.

      Conceivably, this could serve to show the ridiculousness of copyright itself

      And you used to claim that supported copyright. At long last, you're OUT. Sheesh.

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      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:51am

        You manifestly cannot understand the concerns and interests of ordinary people who MAKE stuff.

        Define the normally arbitrary phrase “ordinary people” in objective terms.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

        Oh, yes, we DO! -- AND DON'T LIKE IT.

        Too bad so sad. That's life. If you don't like it, make your own internet that works the way you want it to. Enjoy your population of one. But I highly doubt you do understand it, given your infantile comments that show you to have an IQ of approximately 0 when it comes to technology.

        The Internet at present is corporations TAKING the work of creators and monetizing without ever paying -- they even dodge taxes. That's the core of piracy,

        So what you're saying is the only thing that happens on the internet is piracy. Got it. You're a moron.

        You manifestly cannot understand the concerns and interests of ordinary people who MAKE stuff.

        Well, he MADE this blog so...that kind of proves you wrong. What have you made on the internet?

        cannot see the world except in terms of corporations and money, you appear to identify totally with Them, not The Public.

        Well now, that would actually be you since you rush to the defense of the MPAA and RIAA any chance you get, along with any other legacy entertainment industry that is all about STEALING over 50% of the profits from any artist they sign. Nice hypocrisy you got going there.

        You don't even support corporations that create

        Oh? Which ones would those be? I mean technically, any internet company out there has created something, even Google and Twitter. Or did their platforms just magically spring out of a hole in the ground?

        have been trying to kill copyright for 20 years so that globalist grifters can just take whatever want.

        No, and it has been said many times, he and others are not advocating for complete massacre of copyright, but trim it back and make it more reasonable. Why does an author need to retain control over his works for 70 years AFTER HE'S DEAD?????

        In short, you're lame, boring, I've heard it all before, we get it, you're a liar, idiot, and a moron. Get a life.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:36am

          Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

          What's the matter blue? Got nothing to come back at me with?

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      • identicon
        kallethen, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:04am

        Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

        The Internet at present is corporations TAKING the work of creators and monetizing without ever paying.

        I wouldn't say without paying. Their payment of the created content is the provision of computer resources (hardware, software, internet, IT, etc) to allow the created message to be shared. It's not a payment of money, but of service. You are specifically using "Internet Corporation" because you want your message to be shared, and they are providing the means of sharing it.

        If you don't want "Internet Corporation" to have a licence, then don't use that corporation's service and provide the computer hardware, software, and internet connection yourself to broadcast your message.

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          identicon
          Pa Zoff, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:14am

          Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

          If you don't want "Internet Corporation" to have a licence, then don't use that corporation's service and provide the computer hardware, software, and internet connection yourself to broadcast your message.

          Written like a true masnick! Don't object to the terms corporations set or try to change them, JUST SUBMIT. Don't worry that corporations are on course to rule all, JUST BE SHUNTED OFF TO OBSCURITY.

          You just endorsed royalism.

          Have you EVER even heard about the early 20th century and the need for anti-trust to prevent corporate tyranny, besides that Nazi-ism is literally letting corporations rule?

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          • icon
            Killercool (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

            ...corporations like your precious gatekeepers, ever expanding their reach, to the detriment of society at large?

            Dude, have YOU ever "heard about the early 20th century and the need for anti-trust to prevent corporate tyranny"?

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:18am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

            So then I should have the right to go in to a ma and pa restaurant and demand they cook me a seven course meal for me and my friends to the detriment of their other customers? Because that's what you are advocating for. You are saying that owners of a platform/establishment don't get to set the rules for said establishment, instead the rules are set by the users of that platform/establishment.

            M.O.R.O.N.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:28am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

            Don't object to the terms corporations set or try to change them, JUST SUBMIT.

            That's what you tell us to do for AT&T and Comcast. And the RIAA, can't forget your fluffer paymasters.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 3 Oct 2018 @ 12:26am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

              He does. Then he forgets the third option that people regularly exercise but her forgot to mention - just don't use their service if you disagree with the terms.

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      • identicon
        Azrael, 2 Oct 2018 @ 8:59am

        Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

        Aaaaaand....... you lost me at pirate sites.
        No, copyright isn't a property right, it's a publishing privilege, the moment your work has been published for the first time is in my opinion the moment you lose all copyrights over it.
        Remember, it's not their fault that you can't earn what you think you deserve for your work.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 2:59pm

        Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

        >The Internet at present is corporations TAKING the work of creators and monetizing without ever paying.

        And those creators who have figured it out, use the services of those corporation to enable them to make money from their creativity. Many have come to the realization that works are not what they are selling, but rather they are selling their ability to create new works.

        Also note that by using these corporations as the means of reaching their audience, there are many more people making a living from their creativity than were able to via the legacy publishers, labels and studios. Also, if it is to their benefit, they can publish on multiple services, or more their content to a different service because they still have control.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:41am

      Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

      Lame. Boring. Heard it all before. Get a life.

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        identicon
        Pa Zoff, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:54am

        Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

        Lame. Boring. Heard it all before. Get a life.

        Oh, gosh, a one-liner "AC", likely Techdirt's astro-turfing.

        Hey, "AC": if this topic is lame, why is Masnick even running it?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:56am

          Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

          I'll add "dense, thick, missed the point, don't understand I'm talking about you, you money grubbing Nazi" to my list of insults of you.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:56am

          Because he enjoys making you—and only you—a blubbering trainwreck by saying even one word that pisses you off? I mean, just a hunch; if you are going to play victim, you may as well believe you are actually being persecuted by someone who does not even know who the hell you are.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:44am

      Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

      There's NO justification for the host site to acquiring a universal perpetual license. NONE.

      Maintaining a historical record is a good enough reason for me. You might disagree, but claiming that "no justification exists" is blatantly false. You just don't think said justifications are good enough.

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        identicon
        Pa Zoff, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:04am

        Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

        Maintaining a historical record is a good enough reason for me.

        Whew. Who's going to maintain that? Will you demand the corporation archive it forever? Why bother? Are you completely caught up on history? -- If so, then you must like the last time that full-scale corporatism was tried: Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy, Imperial Japan. -- Yes, the notion that corporations can assert control and use of every bit of content that persons put up leads to the corporate state. This is just tiny part of that. Masnicks are definitely not increasing my liberty.

        And your vague pointless "history" is not worth losing copyright for.

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    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:45am

      Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

      you have NO problem with "perpetual license" for corporations that merely host content, while run round shrieking at life + 70 for those who actually create

      [citation needed]

      That means put it up one time on what you believe is "your" page and the corporation gets to use your work everywhere forever. There's NO justification for the host site to acquiring a universal perpetual license. NONE. It's just a money grab.

      If people are okay enough with that to continue using Twitter and the like, that is their business, not yours.

      you repeatedly deride with your fetishic incantations:

      …“common law”?

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        identicon
        Pa Zoff, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:59am

        Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

        If people are okay enough with that to continue using Twitter and the like, that is their business, not yours.

        Obviously they're not, hence the topic.

        …“common law”?

        Basis of the US Constitution. I guess you don't want to abide by that any more but do want a new corporatized system differing very little from Nazi Germany. You don't have much longer to wait.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:04am

          Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

          Where in the Constitution does it mention common law?

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            identicon
            Pa Zoff, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

            Where in the Constitution does it mention common law?

            Wow. You must be a foreigner, ignorant of all Anglo-American law.

            FIRST THREE WORDS: "WE THE PEOPLE".

            Sheesh.

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:13am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

              We the people =/= common law.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

              "We the people", hm, yep, doesn't say "common law" at all. In fact, that phrase is just defining who is writing the document and setting up the government.

              So again, where in the Constitution does it talk about common law?

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:35am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

                And just like that he's gone. Coward.

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          • icon
            Killercool (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:10am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

            Don't try, man. He has a very distorted and, thankfully, exclusive definition of "common law" that seems to mean "what I want the law to be."

            When real common law is just another word for "judicial precedent," or "caselaw."

            Which, by common law, is automatically overruled by any real law covering the same subject matter. That's why each new bad law has to be declared unconstitutional on it's own merits, even though any idiot could see it wouldn't hold water.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:21am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

              Oh you misunderstand. I like poking the bear and working him up into a frothing raving lunatic. I know I'll never change his mind. It's just fun to see him fly off the handle and insert his own foot into his mouth.

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              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 8:01am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

                Altogether now boys...

                There once was an out of the blue
                Who hated the process of due
                Each tweet that he'd paid
                Was DMCAed
                And shoved up his ass with a screw

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:09am

      Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

      There's NO justification for the host site to acquiring a universal perpetual license.

      The solution to this is so simple. Just don't post anything to Twitter. People who are fine with the license terms can continue to use it. Everyone gets what they want.

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    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 9:24am

      Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

      I know you're just trolling, but you actually raise some coherent points for once that are certainly worth clarifying.

      First, I note in passing that you have NO problem with "perpetual license" for corporations that merely host content, while run round shrieking at life + 70 for those who actually create.

      One is a contract between two parties, one is the government mandating things. Kinda different, don't you think? Separately, the term of copyright PREVENTS people from expanding culture. The license terms for hosting a tweet... does the exact opposite. So, yeah, they're very, very different.

      Your second paragraph merely rephrases the legalistic trick of corporations which UFC complains of: it's LURE with "You retain your rights" to what put on the one site, and then the corporations assert an all-inclusive "royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense)", which means they can copy it infinitely and gain money from it -- directly or indirectly. You of course try to downplay gaining money, but that's the only purpose that those money-machines have for content: fictions don't admire your poetry or giggle at cat pictures.

      Yes, Twitter is a business and a business will try to make money -- though I'll note that it has never made money by "licensing" other people's content. It makes money through advertisements, that is selling attention.

      But, in exchange for that, users get a FREE service, where they don't have to pay to set up and host a site, nor do they have to pay to build a giant network that connects them with much of the world. Historically, that would have cost quite a bit. So, there's an exchange. You get access to the world and an easy, free way to post content. They get... a "license" that says yes you want them to host your content. They aren't then turning around and selling it (frankly your tweets aren't worth that much, buddy).

      There's NO justification for the host site to acquiring a universal perpetual license. NONE. It's just a money grab.

      Sure there is. Without that, at some point we lose the historical record of what people were talking about. When I send a letter to you, I don't have a license term on it that says "after 50 years, you must destroy this letter." The letter lives on in perpetuity. And that's good. It's how we write our history books.

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        identicon
        Pa Zoff, 2 Oct 2018 @ 11:00am

        Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

        I know you're just quote-and-contradicting to appear CAN answer, but at random I waded through the cesspit this once.

        As sheer fact, what do you do every day EXCEPT write provocatively and TROLL for comments? But it's okay when YOU do it, and ad hom too, right? Cause your parents paid for Ivy League diploma and I'm a peasant.

        ["perpetual license" versus life + 70] One is a contract between two parties, one is the government mandating things. Kinda different, don't you think?

        FIRST and foremost, the government DOES NOT MANDATE copyright. The gov't tries to protect the Rights and WORK of persons. So you're WILDLY WRONG on that sly assertion.

        You are free to give away your own work, Masnick. Are you not? Has the gov't come knocking on your door and forced you to protect anything you write?

        Now, it's not a contract, either, when one party has no meaningful input on the terms. This is individuals up against global mega-corporations valued at hundreds of billions of dollars, which have on staff a thousand lawyers, which influence politicians to get new statute in their favor, and above, which own the very "platforms" and which YOU state have:

        "And, I think it's fairly important to state that these platforms have their own First Amendment rights, which allow them to deny service to anyone."

        https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170825/01300738081/nazis-internet-policing-content -free-speech.shtml

        So you clearly want these "services" to control The Public's speech outlets too. That's an intangible yet highly valuable. Corporations are already visibly moving to control speech to their liking, removing the ability to be heard. And no, doesn't matter to ME if is gov't or corporations controlling my speech. I'm still controlled. Just one of your word tricks that in practice advocate fascism. -- NOT ad hom, just fits definition.

        You state that right here on Techdirt, you actually retain FULL editorial control, just like an old-fashioned print magazine, while talking up the wonders of the Internet. I say you CEDE the comments portion the site to The Public. That's the purpose of CDA Section 230. Let's not go round on that point again, though, I just want to fill out for any possibly unbiased readers.

        But, in exchange for that, users get a FREE service,

        NO, that's crux of this argument. First, for a person, it's hardly free if corporations get to take your creation and monetize, is it? That potentially spoils your market.

        But of course it's not just creations: it's your every electronically surveillable data bit which corporations grab. THE PRICE IS YOUR PRIVACY. WHETHER VOLUNTEER IT OR NOT. And that has value -- supposedly only for advertising, but there's the fact that Snowden said Google gives NSA "direct access", so what the corporations also take is liberty, freedom from surveillance BY gov't.

        If you're not paying, then you're the product.

        Mine: There's NO justification for the host site to acquiring a universal perpetual license. NONE. It's just a money grab. -- Your response: Sure there is. Without that, at some point we lose the historical record of what people were talking about.

        This unprecedented out of the blue "history" notion again! Who came up with that? Is it a corporate talking point? Who the HELL cares about "history" in this matter? -- As I answered before and you may not have read: are you going to mandate corporations preserve this precious "history"? And is not more likely that the person creating will preserve what's been found of value, IF that person still had some effective copyright to it, instead of the corporation -- for merely HOSTING -- hadn't already squeezed every last tenth of a cent out of it in a billion advertisement images, say?

        The Internet looks more like high-tech control grid every day. Letting mega-corporations keep on gaining power and money is CERTAIN to bring corporatized censorship and all the elements of fascism with it. That trend is already visible, no matter how you deny.

        Summary: You clearly want the status quo to continue without question or input from persons affected. There's no NEED, no MUST, for the system to work this way. Persons who want to put out views can pay for site. The corporate power / money grab can be rolled back to tolerable and The Internet will work even better for The Public. I think that's your real objection.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 12:01pm

          Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

          what do you do every day EXCEPT write provocatively and TROLL for comments? But it's okay when YOU do it

          Ah ha! So you admit the only reason you comment is to write provocatively and troll for replies and comments. Well, thanks for showing I can now ignore every single word you say.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 12:03pm

          Re:member when you left forever?

          The last time mike handed you your own ass on a platter.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JMT (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 1:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

          "FIRST and foremost, the government DOES NOT MANDATE copyright."

          By law copyright protection is automatically applied to anything you create, which sounds pretty mandatory to me.

          "You are free to give away your own work, Masnick. Are you not?"

          What do you think this site is doing?

          "Has the gov't come knocking on your door and forced you to protect anything you write?"

          They didn't need to knock, they just wrote automatic copyright into law.

          "Now, it's not a contract, either, when one party has no meaningful input on the terms."

          That's not the definition of a contract, and joining Twitter or any other online service is purely voluntary. In life there are plenty of contracts you have little input into, you get to either agree and sign up or reject it and walk away with nothing.

          "First, for a person, it's hardly free if corporations get to take your creation and monetize, is it? That potentially spoils your market."

          Can you provide any examples of Twitter doing that?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 3:02pm

          the government DOES NOT MANDATE copyright

          Why must you turn this comment section into a house of lies?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 3:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

          FIRST and foremost, the government DOES NOT MANDATE copyright. The gov't tries to protect the Rights and WORK of persons. So you're WILDLY WRONG on that sly assertion.

          Just to be clear: this is 100% the opposite of what the law and the Constitution states. So, given that you are wholly wrong (while amusingly claiming that I am "wildly wrong") I can only conclude that you don't know the first thing you are talking about and/or you are simply here to troll.

          So, I'm done. I tried.

          I will note, separately, that a week or two ago you promised that if I responded to you with actual citations you would leave this site forever. Yet you've been here ever day since. You are now not just woefully ignorant of the law, but also an out and out liar. I am not sure what kind of joy you get from being a totally ignorant ass in our comments, but you really do seem to get an awful lot of pleasure out of being perhaps the least informed, but incredibly confident in his own wrong opinions. It's kinda weird, dude.

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          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 3:54pm

            It's kinda weird, dude.

            At this point, I could believe his trolling to be some form of sexual paraphilia. He certainly seems the type, given how forceful he is in his writing and how he has to keep coming back seemingly by compulsion.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 5:02pm

            Every post is a chance to win.

            I dounno, Chip is a pretty strong contender for the “Deliberately Obtuse of Understanding Constitutionally Harmful Effects” award.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2018 @ 8:50am

          Re: Re: Re: But "the plain language version" you give isn't Twitter's terms.

          FIRST and foremost, the government DOES NOT MANDATE copyright

          Except that you've been trawling this site for years, insisting that the Constitution and the government do just that, you amnesiac moron.

          Has the gov't come knocking on your door and forced you to protect anything you write?

          Yeah, newsflash: that's not how automatic copyright works. And even if it did, given the government's track record on actual enforcement, you're going to be disappointed.

          I say you CEDE the comments portion the site to The Public.

          And the public just gave you SESTA votes. Just like you wanted!

          The corporate power / money grab can be rolled back to tolerable

          Yeah, about that - every time that happens your precious RIAA throws a temper tantrum that makes a tornado look like a spring breeze. And you'll be right there in front waving their flag.

          You're not fooling anyone, blue boy.

          DMCA voted!

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  • identicon
    Rocky, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:52am

    Own your content..

    Never post content you own on other services if you want to keep control of it. Host it yourself and only link to it.

    Don't want to pay for hosting your own content? Then you either never show it to the world or you find a service where the TOS/license is agreeable which means any social media is out of the question.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:02am

      Re: Own your content..

      The whole point of this article is that isn't what the TOS means on social media sites. It doesn't give them a license to sell your work and make money off of it. It just means they can host your content without you suing them for it.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:17am

        Re: Re: Own your content..

        Never said it did, but it means giving up some control what happens to your content.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:31am

          Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

          Unless I'm completely misunderstanding you, yes, that is what you're saying. You're saying that once you post it on a social media site, that site can do whatever they want with it. That's NOT true, and is exactly the point this article is making. Posting something on social media is essentially the same thing as hosting it yourself, with the exception that social media can take it down any time they want. They can't use it for any other purpose, or sell it and make money off it.

          The language in the TOS is just there as boilerplate to say "you're giving us a license to host your content on this site, and any future iterations of our platform, so that you can't sue us for content you posted yourself". Hosting it yourself and linking to it would be no different except that you have more control over whether it gets taken down or not.

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          • identicon
            Rocky, 2 Oct 2018 @ 8:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

            I never said they can whatever they want, I said when you post it you are giving up some control what happens to it.

            For example, if you post a photo to a social media site, according to the boilerplate TOS you grant them a license. The license usually includes language which in essence means that you give up some control what happens with your photo because the site wouldn't function otherwise - it's social media after all.

            But what you are missing is that they may not directly monetize your photo but there many indirect ways to monetize it. For example, extract metadata from it on what device it was taken or where it was taken which then can be sold or use the photo to train a computer vision system which they then can flog to a 3rd party.

            That means you have then lost some control how your property is used.

            If you host the photo yourself you may have your own TOS forbidding secondary uses unless a license is acquired. Ie. you retain full control (well, as long as you have the time and energy to chase down every misuse).

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 10:00am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

              But that's exactly what the article is saying. The TOS of social media sites DOESN'T allow them to use your content in any of those ways. That's the entire point. Indirectly or directly doesn't matter.

              The TOS states you grant them a license to host your content, period. That's it. They aren't allowed to do anything else with it, it's yours.

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              • identicon
                Rocky, 2 Oct 2018 @ 1:15pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

                No, the license doesn't specifically state that they can only host your content. Buried in the license you have the word process which means they can process your content to extract metadata or whatever and sell it on or use it for targeting ads.

                How do you think social media companies make enough money to function?

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 1:58pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

                  No, the license doesn't specifically state that they can only host your content.

                  Again, this is exactly the statement this article is addressing. Yes it's not explicitly stated as such, but that's what it means, nonetheless.

                  Buried in the license you have the word process which means they can process your content to extract metadata or whatever and sell it on

                  Don't confuse content with user data. Do they sell your user data? Absolutely! Your content? No. That's illegal. Though some would argue selling your user data is and/or should be illegal as well.

                  You'll never see someone's family photos they posted to Twitter/Facebook/Instagram/etc... show up in a captcha to do algorithm training.

                  And some processing has to take place on your content to you know, place it in the system's file structure, name it, find it when requested, change the format if needed to conform to platform standards, crop it for your profile picture, etc... None of this is "using it outside your control", it's what the system has to do to host your content and is exactly what the TOS language is talking about. Not selling it off or making money off it.

                  or use it for targeting ads.

                  This is an entirely different kettle of fish. Targeting ads to you based on your photos/comments/posts/etc... is not the same as selling it to other companies or using it beyond your control.

                  How do you think social media companies make enough money to function?

                  Advertising. Which doesn't involve using your content outside your control. Just your data you provide them, which is not necessarily the same thing as content.

                  Is your content being analyzed? Yes. But that doesn't mean it's being used in a manner outside your control. By that definition, any commenter/museum/library/etc... would be "using" your content outside your control. If you want to dive into that level of semantics and rabbit holes, I'll gladly get into the weeds with you but you are making a mountain out of a non-existent mole hill.

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                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 2:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

                  Did you stop to think that in computer systems process means thing like backups/restores, pushing tweets into selected other peoples Twitter feeds, sorting using hashtags, likes etc. That is all the things that Twitter does to make itself attractive to users.

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          JMT (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 2:00pm

          Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

          "...it means giving up some control what happens to your content."

          Which is true for any form of publishing, a point that seems to be completely lost on some of our more contrarian commenters.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Killercool (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 5:30pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

            One in particular, in fact.

            He loudly bemoans the fact that Amazon insists on allowing snippets before hosting a book, and then... lets them do it.
            He could always use a different service, but then, that wouldn't make as much money.

            I actually applaud the pragmatism, don't get me wrong. I just hate the fact that he seems to think he's getting crucified for what he chose to allow from his completely voluntary publisher.

            But he'll probably claim that Amazon is a monopoly, just like he claims about Google.

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            • identicon
              Wendy Cockcroft, 3 Oct 2018 @ 5:43am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

              You sign up to exclusivity when you make a deal with a traditional publisher. That's why copyrights are assigned to them: so they become the only publisher and initial distributor of your work.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:21am

        Re: Re: Own your content..

        Sorry to hear that you lost half your happy meal french fries when you dropped them in the outhouse.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:10am

      Re: Own your content..

      Never post content you own on the internet if you want to keep control of it. Once it's out there, you really don't have any meaningful control over it, unless you consider the option to sue as control.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Rocky, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:20am

        Re: Re: Own your content..

        There are other mechanisms than just suing to protect your content.

        But as you say, posting something somewhere on the internet also means some loss of control but you still own 100% your content.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 3 Oct 2018 @ 10:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

          But as you say, posting something somewhere on the internet also means some loss of control but you still own 100% your content.

          True. And that is also true of posting it to Twitter - you still own it.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 9:49am

        Re: Re: Own your content..

        Example: Post a pic to FB but resize it first .. to something of less resolution. They do not have a version that is capable of blowing up into anything worthwhile but still looks good on FB.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Wendy Cockcroft, 3 Oct 2018 @ 5:44am

          Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

          How would that prevent someone from taking a screenshot of it?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2018 @ 7:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Own your content..

            What the AC suggested is a method to keep some measure of control of the content. In this particular example case, only a lower resolution version of the image is publicly posted, while the higher-resolution, higher-quality version is not publicly available.

            It would not prevent someone taking a screenshot, but at the same time, the screenshot remains a lower-quality version of the posted content.

            The higher-quality version would hypothetically only be available at request, with appropriate licensing etc. etc. - one assumes this would only be realistic for a digital artist or photographer or the like, where the picture in question would be worth getting a higher resolution version.

            There are some artists who employ this type of versioning already when taking commissions. The person who commissioned the piece gets what they commissioned at the full quality, etc., while the lower resolution version of the commissioned piece gets publicly posted on DeviantArt or Pinterest or what-have-you, as a display of the artist's portfolio in order to draw in more commissions.

            It doesn't retain complete control of the work, but since the highest quality, highest resolution version of the work was never publicly posted by the artist, nobody but the commissioner can get at it, unless the commissioner then distributes it out.

            The goal in this tactic is mitigation.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 6:57am

    Ahh...

    Every nation gets the government it deserves.

    The EU is a democracy, this is the will of the people... why are you bitching about it Mike? I thought you liked democracies?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:14am

      Re: Ahh...

      It's the will of the people till their social media toy gets taken away. Watch this space.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re: Ahh...

        Actually yes, because there will eventually come a point where someone is going to hate it so much that they think "no one" should be allowed to have it. It's called leftism/rightism, which I like to keep separate from liberal/conservatism.

        Right now many leftists are trying to destroy democracy despite how much they claim to like it.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 2:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: Ahh...

          Right now many wealthy are destroying this country despite how much they thank others for protecting it.

          ftfy

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Seegras (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:33am

      Re: Ahh...

      The EU is NOT a democracy. It does have some democratic elements, but a very important one is missing:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_powers

      The EU Parliament is indeed a democratically elected body, and would be the legislative body in a democracy. But it's NOT. It' can't make laws. Those are actually written by the executive body, whose members are placed there by the executive bodies of the member states.

      Basically, the EU is a way for governments (executive bodies) to makes laws they couldn't make at home because their parliaments wouldn't have let them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 10:38am

        Re: Re: Ahh...

        Nice to see that at least one person around here "gets it".

        I don't know if the EU is a "real" democracy, I just hear a lot of people calling it that and if they are like the clueless folks calling America a democracy then I am certain that is either a lie or ignorance. And I completely agree with your reason on why the EU was created. To pass the buck on getting laws created that their citizens would not support.

        I would like to know how a system that can undercut what "the people" wants can be called a democracy?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 2:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: Ahh...

          "I would like to know how a system that can undercut what "the people" wants can be called a democracy?"

          It's not .. by those who are educated in the subject matter.

          There are some who think their ignorance in no way affects their level of understanding the world around them.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Shufflepants, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:43am

      Re: Ahh...

      How are liking democracy and disagreeing with a particular conclusion that a government body has come to mutually exclusive?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 10:43am

        Re: Re: Ahh...

        Then you don't understand what "democracy means".

        Democracy is two wolves and one lamb deciding what is for lunch.
        Democracy is two poor people deciding how much they are going to tax one rich person.
        Democracy is two beggars voting on which cow 1 farmer has to give up to feed everyone.

        If you "Like Democracy" then you MUST like it's decisions or why else would you ask for or "like" such a system?

        I understand the point you are trying to make, but that point is a "fantasy" when reality sets in. Democracies commit suicide because it results in a bunch of clueless degenerates looking for handouts from government to save them from themselves and NO ONE can save you from yourself unless you are rendered a complete slave!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:08am

    This is lawyers writing terms in a way that ordinary people can misunderstand, and then fighting out what it really means in court. The lawyers win, and everybody else loses.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 7:47am

    'This is what happens when you have judicial bodies who clearly don't understand how the internet works'

    this is the whole point! they dont want to understand, they dont want anyone to use, they dont want the internet to exist except under strict runnings decided by the entertainment and copyright industries! the people are to go back to being slaves with no privacy, no freedom and absolutely no rights! the rich, the famous, the powerful want everything and expect us to have nothing!! the EU is the worst of a bad bunch with USA coming in a very close 2nd! just wait a few more months and see what the internet is like then! a mere shadow of it's former self, no chance of being what it was designed to be and our very limited use unless given permission! you were warned about this and all comments were 'it will never happen'! well, what have we very nearly got now and what will it be like in a very short space of time? exactly what you were told it would be like!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Peter (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 8:07am

    The court does have a few points that lawmakers should work on

    1. It is indeed not clear what Twitter may do with the content. While it would be reasonable that Twitter gets some rights, it does not seem fair that Twitter would, for example, get any and all royalties of, say, the video of an event of global importance that somebody happens to post on Twitter. Right now, journalists ask if the poster they may reproduce the content. The process appears to work, and it appears to be fair to both the poster and to Twitter. Even though, technical, Twitter's T&C would allow Twitter to re-sell the content.

    2. It is not always clear if the poster actually owns any rights to content they post. If Twitter automatically gets a world wide license for any and all uses, this may put the original rights holder at a serious disadvantage. An example - Facebook, not Twitter: Users are encouraged to upload address books. Which may contain information that the contacts in the address book may not want to share with Facebook (confidential email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses). It appears that Facebook will not even inform people that Facebook has this information about them, let alone delete it. Both on the grounds that they acquired it legally through third parties (who had no right to share it in the first place).
    The only recourse would be to sue the person who shared the data. Which would be difficult as long as both Facebook and the sharer refuse to confirm that data have been shared.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 9:35am

      Re: The court does have a few points that lawmakers should work on

      While there are some good points here:

      1) Twitter would only "get any and all royalties of" some content if (and only if) other people who wanted to use that content decided to buy it from twitter, rather than the creator. As you pointed out, right now it is common to request permission from the creator rather than twitter, and while that could change, it seems unlikely. Part of that is that the type of content which is posted on social media isn't generally the type of content which is all that valuable in and of itself, and often fair use already covers the majority of use cases. Journalists asking permission for use is almost always a courtesy, rather than a requirement.

      2) First, your example is not a question of intellectual property at all. Addresses, phone numbers, etc. are factual information which are not covered under copyright/trademark/etc, and so cannot be licensed to anyone (nor can a license be withheld or withdrawn from anyone). So while this may be a problem from a privacy standpoint, it's not related to the issues considered in this article or in your first point. Neither facebook, nor the uploader, nor the contact has any ownership rights, or any type of exclusive control of this information. "Confidential" phone numbers remain so only so long as those who know them don't share them with anyone else, they have no legal protection at all. Though I guess in the EU the right to be forgotten could apply here.

      As for the rest of this point, that's how the legal system has been forced to work. Nothing has changed at all in this respect, rights-holders have always been at a disadvantage, forced to first collect evidence of violations before their desires are entertained. While many people (police, intelligence agencies, copyright and patent attorneys, etc.) would absolutely love to be able to search first and come up with a reason later, such fishing expeditions are explicitly prohibited in every moderately free legal system. Without evidence that a violation has occurred, we cannot force others to produce evidence for us.

      And even broader, a poster that does not own the right to the content they post cannot grant a license to twitter. Therefore, removal of that content from twitter would be trivial (this is the entire purpose of DMCA takedown notices, after all).

      The only recourse would be to sue the person who shared the data.

      This was all so good before this point too. But yes, how dare anyone suggest that you sue the person who actually violated your rights. Everyone knows that suing poor people isn't worth it, so you should be allowed to sue whoever you think has the most money.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ShadowNinja (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 8:11am

    Maybe it's time to rethink copyright in the Internet era

    Maybe it's time we reconsider some parts of copyright that especially in the Internet era just don't make sense.

    I mean sure it might sound simple to say you get a copyright on literally everything you create that's not covered by patents/trademarks or specifically exempt (like factual information). But the reality is most of that stuff doesn't need a copyright.

    I mean, when have you ever heard someone claiming to be the victim of copyright theft because of someone else making money off of what you posted on social media?

    And even if things like Jokes are copyrightable, who the hell would ever waste all the time and money suing people over it?

    The only serious disputes I've ever heard about content submitted online are those with overly broad TOS on the copyright (like by submitting this art to a contest you give them the copyright, or by running your source code through a converter you gave them the rights to keep copies of it forever). Or in some rare cases, trying to use copyright law to take down unpopular sites, like for example sites to check for plagiarism on homework that retain a copy of everything ever submitted.

    It's also absurd to just give every type of content the same expiration date. Some copyrightable things have a far longer shelf life and market value then other things. And because the copyright term is so absurdly long many things get abandoned by their copyright holder long before it's copyright expires.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 9:56am

    Overreaching agreements are dangerous and it doesn't matter what we think the company is "planning" to use them for. Plans change, companies change hands. The worst case scenario allowed by the agreement is what matters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    John85851 (profile), 2 Oct 2018 @ 10:23am

    Give them what they want

    From now on, every user in France must submit a notarized document saying they give Twitter the license to publish a tweet that they themselves make.
    And by the way, since this is a French court ruling, it only affects citizens of France. The rest of the world doesn't have to do this.
    And French citizens are upset that they have to do this? Then complain to the judges and law-makers that create rulings like this.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 3 Oct 2018 @ 5:51am

      Re: Give them what they want

      Agreed. Sometimes you have to actually let them land at the bottom, hard. When they do, they wake up. Don't try to cushion people from the consequences of their stupidity.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 1:08pm

    So what ? there is nothing objectionable here. (i'm french)

    I skimmed through the ruling, and i didn't find anything really objectionable for now, considering french law:

    - contracts done in France must be in french and cannot refer to the laws of other countries which are not in french "because french consumers do not understand them". this is a known hurdle for European companies, but still.
    - twitter cannot say it is not responsible for handling personal data.
    - twitter cannot enforce the contract if it isn't accepted by the user when he creates an account (i.e. you can't say "you accept the contract if you visit us", you have to click "accept" somehow)
    - twitter may not modify the contract under its own guise.
    - twitter cannot transfer personal data anywhere on the globe, because GDPR.
    - twitter cannot waves its responsibility if it gets hacked and someone steals your account.
    - twitter is not immune to hate speech/libel laws and cannot wave its responsibility if it doesn't remove illegal tweets when told about them (because twitter is regarded as a mere hoster of content).

    and now the licensing part:

    The tribunal mainly says that the clause is too broad, too vague and not much else. it recognize that twitter's contract is mainly about "interacting with relatives, create groups of common interests and share content", that the license is way too broad for that, that it allows world-wide sells of the the content to other companies, even if the user deletes its content.

    And that if content is personal data, then GDPR applies, so twitter must be more specific about people that receive a license to your personal data.

    Also, in french, "written contract" does not have the same meaning as in english; it is merely the opposite of tacit/oral contract. Twitter's ToS is clearly a written contract per french law (most ToS in french starts with "this is a written contract between you and us"). So this part is basically saying that twitter should be more clear about the licensed content, to whom it is licensed and how it is used.

    I think it is related to so called "moral rights" ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moral_rights ) which are very important in french law. If you don't know how your work is used, then how can you enforce your moral rights ?

    And it concludes that the resulting license is way too unclear and too unbalanced compared to the services that twitter offers to the user (which is pretty much the conclusion of the whole ruling).

    It also states that twitter cannot say it merely hosts content (a critical distinction that shield them from being responsible for the content it distributes) and request licenses to adapt/modify the content of their users because that would make them an content editor.

    then, skimming again through the rest of the ruling:

    - twitter can not held the user responsible when its content is used/modified by other users or twitter itself
    - twitter's contract is clearly unbalanced compared to the services granted to the user
    - twitter cannot claim copyright about mere comments or suggestions that you may have against its services
    - twitter's contract is considered by the tribunal to be a paid contract (basically because you pay with personal data and ads)
    - as such, it cannot terminate the service/your right or delete your content without the user having a right for a recourse.
    - more GDPR things about the privacy policy
    - the privacy policy must be part of the contract (i.e. you can't split ToS in french law if each of them can be modified freely)
    - twitter's paying features are missing critical information that are required by an online seller in europe, even if this service isn't even opened in france)
    - if twitter deactivates idle account, then it must force itself to notify the user about it, considering that this is a paid contract.
    - twitter should not reefer to the english page "how-to-deactivate-your-account" if a user want to terminate its contract
    - more GDPR about conservation of personal data after the termination of the account.
    - twitter cannot waive its responsibility for damage/harm/stuff done to your computer, or its inability to provide the service (it is a paid contract, remember ?)
    - if twitter is hacked, then twitter has responsibility (classic GDPR stuff)
    - the clause that says "if one of the clauses are void, the contract still exist" cannot apply to a paid contract (this consequence of twitter's ToS being a paid contract is questionable ihmo)
    - french laws applied to this contract and users can't waive their right to a trial in france (twitter's ToS imposed a court in california)
    - twitter's contract must include the cookies policy and other shenanigans
    - twitter still can't modify the contract whenever it wants. it must inform its users, which must agree to the changes.

    most of the remaining 200 pages are about the privacy policy and the GDPR (including references to the safe harbour) or twitter's rules which waives too much responsibility and are too malleable for twitter to apply.

    The major takeway is this: in france, only a few consumer right associations like UFC-Que-Choisir are allowed to sue companies for stuff like this (ordinary people can only file complains to the authorities, who may or may not sue as a result), so they tend to make the broadest assertions, trying to invalidate the contract as much as possible and get some money as a result

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 1:42pm

    Twitter is a platform to communicate ,its free.
    to ask everyone on twitter to host their content
    makes no sense.
    Most people will not set up a blog ,they wont have the time or expertise to do so.
    iF i set up a blog ,no one will read it,
    twitter has a global audience of millions .
    It seems many european politicians make laws but they have no idea how people use the web or the effect of the
    laws on ordinary users .
    Theres no point in making laws if it stops users
    from being able to use the service.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Oct 2018 @ 4:30pm

    So every SINGLE time you post something to twitter you're going to have to enter a username/password, then scroll through the terms and conditions. then accept them, then type your sentence. submit it. rinse+repeat?

    France obviously doesn't WANT the internet at all does it?
    First they make it so LINKS to other sites have mandatory fees then they make it so you can't link to anyone elses domain without their written permission.
    THEN they effectively ban memes.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2018 @ 12:45am

    License terms.

    They are appalling. And - unlike Mr. Masnick - I'm not convinced they are needed to keep my content available.

    By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

    Had it been "exclusive" you would have effectively transferred your copyright to twitter(/facebook/flickr/google/...) for free. Now it's only marginally better, you can publish it yourself, too (aren't they generous?). But the value of your work has been reduced to 0 - you won't be able to sell it.

    Why do they need the all the distribution methods? Why would they need - for the purpose of publishing my tweets - to print them? Or televise them? Or read them on a radio? If you write a book - that does not automatically give the publisher right to make an audiobook out of that, and it still does not prevent keeping that book available for future generations in a library. So would lack of this provision stop twitter keeping the history? No. Would it prevent them from displaying tweets on their website? No. Why would they need future distribution methods? Would lack of this provision stop twitter keeping records? No. Would it stop them distributing my work? No. Oh, it might make it more expensive, for sure, but why should it be my concern to sustain a flawed business model?

    And what if tweeter goes bust? This provision does not help at all.

    Why does the license need to be transferable? This way twitter can give my work to anyone, for free, which would prevent me from selling it. And yes - scrapping that would make reuse of my work a problem. True. The same way, as using my work printed in a book. But would it stop twitter publishing my work? No.

    The provisions above - when removed - do not make a dent on twitter's ability to publish or keep my tweets, and do not help in case twitter's gone. Why are they there? IMO - because twitter could get away with them. And it was fine as long as twitter were small, when you could just ignore them all together. As soon as they reached near monopoly this became an issue - because of the lock-in for example. And because I, as a tiny little cog, have no chance to influence the contract with twitter other that contest it in court and get it (partially) invalidated.

    As someone just did.

    I'd say twitter should count themselves lucky in all this - instead of a court ruling in one EU country they might have slammed into regulating bureaucracy. They'd have never known what hit them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 3 Oct 2018 @ 1:36am

      Re: License terms.

      "But the value of your work has been reduced to 0 - you won't be able to sell it."

      This is a lie. Many, many things are sold that are available for free, with or without the permission of the rights holder.

      "And what if tweeter goes bust?"

      Why does it matter, since you didn't grant them an exclusive licence? Unless you were depending on them as your sole source of publication, then that's on you, not them.

      "Why does the license need to be transferable?"

      An example - what if Twitter gets broken up in a manner similar to Google and they decide to separate their different divisions into different companies? Should they then be forced to re-licence every single piece of content in order to continue operating? How would they deal with archiving? How would they deal with investors, knowing that the entire company's portfolio could collapse were they do do anything more than minor restructuring?

      I can understand that you might not personally care, but these are things that form the basis of many decisions for every company you choose to do business with.

      "This way twitter can give my work to anyone, for free, which would prevent me from selling it"

      Again, a lie. Basing your argument on this tired fiction does little to make your other points believable.

      "And because I, as a tiny little cog, have no chance to influence the contract with twitter:"

      You can, just as you can the terms of any major service - don't use them if you don't like the terms of their service. You also don't get to negotiate the terms of posting here, yet you chose to do so.

      That's the problem here - instead of going to competitor or simply not using their service, you're demanding that they run their business the way *you* want them to, even though you freely admit you don't know why the service terms are there to begin with.

      I come across this attitude a lot when dealing with people ignorant of tech, and I dislike it when people ignorant of business or legal matters have the same attitude - even if I do sometimes sympathise with the concerns. If your argument is simply "I don't personally understand it then it's dangerous or unnecessary", you're probably not making a good argument.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        The Wanderer (profile), 4 Oct 2018 @ 4:52am

        Re: Re: License terms.

        "And because I, as a tiny little cog, have no chance to influence the contract with twitter:"

        You can, just as you can the terms of any major service - don't use them if you don't like the terms of their service.

        This seems disingenuous.

        Yes, you have the option to not use Twitter's service if you don't want to accept the terms of that service.

        But what is being asserted is not that you don't have a choice in that regard, but that you don't have any meaningful chance to influence the terms of the proposed contract - to negotiate over what the agreement should be. They've already been written, and if you try to negotiate a different set of terms, Twitter will completely ignore you - you almost certainly won't even get a response, if your attempt at communicating with Twitter to propose alternate terms even gets read at all, and if you do it will be a rejection.

        This objection applies equally well to any "take it or leave it" contract; it's no less valid because such contracts are in such common use as to be generally unremarkable.

        (I have some sympathy for the notion that any contract which is not open to negotiation prior to acceptance should be held to be unenforceable, specifically because the power imbalance involved in such "take it or leave it" contracts seems so problematic - but I also recognize that that model would be utterly unworkable in the real world, especially at the scales at which many Internet companies now operate.)

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 4 Oct 2018 @ 5:13am

          Re: Re: Re: License terms.

          "They've already been written, and if you try to negotiate a different set of terms, Twitter will completely ignore you - you almost certainly won't even get a response"

          So, what's the difference between them and the millions of other organisations that do similar things, online and offline, before the internet was invented? Nobody gets to deal with a large company as a standard customer and gets to renegotiate the entire contract specifically for them, when the terms have been agreed for millions of other customers. Major wealthy clients, perhaps, but the average consumer gets to accept the terms of service, go to a competitor or do without.

          I get what's being said, I also recognise it's pointless whining that's trying to pretend that this is not the way the world has worked for centuries.

          You know does work in terms of getting things changed for the masses? Boycotts and other group actions. Moving to competitors will achieve a lot more than trying to get personal treatment. Demanding that a company specially treats you as an individual like a special flower won't generally work unless you have individual leverage.

          The person doing the whining is certainly doing do from an ISP connection whose terms they did not negotiate, via electrical power they did not individually negotiate, on an OS whose terms they did not individually negotiate, etc. But, they'll use those to whine about the further services they use those services to access. it's such an idiotic argument that reflects how little a person has really thought about what they're actually doing in life, if this is something shocking to them.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 4 Oct 2018 @ 11:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: License terms.

          I have some sympathy for the notion that any contract which is not open to negotiation prior to acceptance should be held to be unenforceable, specifically because the power imbalance involved in such "take it or leave it" contracts seems so problematic

          I would not go that far as to invalidate them in entirety - this would be disastrous (think "buying bread"). The standard process of resolving disputes with help of courts works. And I would reiterate - twitter should be happy it does.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            nasch (profile), 5 Oct 2018 @ 12:20pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: License terms.

            I would not go that far as to invalidate them in entirety - this would be disastrous (think "buying bread").

            There is no contract when you buy bread.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 6 Oct 2018 @ 8:59am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: License terms.

              Actually, there is. You just don't specifically have to sign one every time.

              Hopefully I won't need to explain in too much detail, but there are generally things that you've agreed to when you conduct the transaction of buying the product and that the manufacturer and retailer have agreed to in order to conduct business with the public.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                nasch (profile), 6 Oct 2018 @ 11:10am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: License terms.

                Actually, there is. You just don't specifically have to sign one every time.

                Do you have a reference for that? I couldn't find any information to support this claim.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 7 Oct 2018 @ 1:13am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: License terms.

                  So, do you think there's never a contract between you and the baker when you expect to be able to return the bread if it's stale on the day of purchase, or for him to defend himself if you make false claims about the quality of the product?

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  • icon
                    nasch (profile), 7 Oct 2018 @ 9:14am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: License terms.

                    I wouldn't consider either of those a contract issue. Returns depend on the policy of the store. And the baker can defend himself however he sees fit if there is no contract. Do you have a reference for the claim that every purchase is a contract?

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 8 Oct 2018 @ 12:46am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: License terms.

                      "Returns depend on the policy of the store"

                      ...which are made public and implicitly agreed to by the customer at the point of purchase, and the store will be obligated to follow in case of a return being necessary. Hence, a contract.

                      "And the baker can defend himself however he sees fit if there is no contract"

                      That seems rather more difficult if there isn't an implied contract being agreed to as to the terms of purchase, don't you think?

                      " Do you have a reference for the claim that every purchase is a contract?"

                      Common sense, unless you really don't understand what a contract actually is? Just because you're not explicitly signing a form every time you buy something, that doesn't mean a contract is not being entered into. There's plenty of info out there, but this was the first result on a quick search for me:

                      https://keydifferences.com/difference-between-express-and-implied-contract.html

                      Definition of Implied Contract
                      ...
                      Implied by fact: In a contract implied by the fact, the obligation is created between the parties, on the basis of the circumstances and actions. For example: Purchasing groceries from mall or retail store.

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2018 @ 2:03am

    Short Definition of France

    "That's... bonkers."

    [Dammit! Now your terms give you the authority to recycle my unmitigated wit indefinitely. Cagey, not very French, but very cagey, TD.]

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Oct 2018 @ 7:01am

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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