Ad-hoc file-sharing site Dropbox has caused a bit of a kerfuffle with its updated Terms of Service, which like almost any other these days, attempt to allow the operator to appropriate user content for its own ends.
The site's attempt to make the legalese easier to understand consists largely of using the word 'stuff' a lot. But the the ease of understanding makes the following section all the more nerve jangling:
“By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent we think it necessary for the Service. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission.”
The Terms of Service are similar to those Nintendo recently applied to its 3DS hand-held console and represent an move on behalf of companies to get their sticky fingers on the content produced by users.
Nintendo's for comparison purposes read:
"By accepting this Agreement or using a Nintendo 3DS System or the Nintendo 3DS Service, you also grant to Nintendo a worldwide, royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display your User Content in whole or in part and to incorporate your User Content in other works, in any form, media or technology now known or later developed, including for promotional or marketing purposes."
Users have been bombarding Dropbox's company’s blog pages with bemused comments which the company has been attempting to address.
A spokesman wrote: "Some of you have written us with very understandable concerns about the legal-sounding parts. In particular, our new TOS talks about the licenses we need to run Dropbox. We want to be 100% clear that you own what you put in your Dropbox. We don’t own your stuff. And the license you give us is really limited. It only allows us to provide the service to you. Nothing else"