For the London Free Press – April 2, 2012 – Read this on Canoe
Have you ever considered what a service provider – such as a cellphone company or social networking site – can do with the photos and other content you send or post using that service?
Occasionally, these licence permissions are drafted overly broad and grant the service provider the right to do almost anything it wants with the content.
For example a cellphone provider was recently criticized for language that said it: “will be free to copy, disclose, distribute, incorporate and otherwise use the content and all data, images, sounds, text, and other things embodied therein for any and all commercial or non-commercial purposes.”
In most cases, such overly broad language is not a nefarious plot to acquire user content for the service provider’s own use or profit. It is more likely the result of contract drafting that has not been thought through properly.
But the clause is a failure because it grants rights that the service provider doesn’t need, and doesn’t want. And it fails to look at the issue from the perspective of what uses a user would be comfortable granting to the service provider.
In other words, the clause does not balance the rights and needs of the parties.
Some people do read them, and eventually the language will end up being publicly criticized. That doesn’t bode well for the reputation of the service provider, and it may never know how many potential users voted with their feet and didn’t use their service because of the overly broad language.