Facebook Rights & Responsibilities vs Google’s Terms of Service

So with the start of Google+ many have been critical of Google’s Terms of Service due to the fact Google “owns” your content. Meanwhile Google claims to be addressing privacy issues of Facebook in Google+ with the very focused sharing between “circles”

So what are some key differences between the terms of services?

Facebook found here: http://www.facebook.com/terms.php

Google’s here: http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS

As with most terms of service & license agreements both start with a whole lot of legal babble that even if you were thinking of reading them you probably would have stopped either from boredom or because you’d fallen off your chair into a deep sleep. That being said they are at about 500 pages shorter than the iTunes Terms of Service, which is the only reason I managed to finish reading them.

The main issue with Google comes up to section 11:

11. Content license from you

11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

11.2 You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.

11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.

On Facebook the similar section is part 2

Sharing Your Content and Information
You own all of the content and information you post on Facebook, and you can control how it is shared through your privacy and application settings. In addition:

    1. For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (“IP content”), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (“IP License”). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.
    2. When you delete IP content, it is deleted in a manner similar to emptying the recycle bin on a computer. However, you understand that removed content may persist in backup copies for a reasonable period of time (but will not be available to others).
    3. When you use an application, your content and information is shared with the application.  We require applications to respect your privacy, and your agreement with that application will control how the application can use, store, and transfer that content and information.  (To learn more about Platform, read our Privacy Policy and Platform Page.)
    4. When you publish content or information using the “everyone” setting, it means that you are allowing everyone, including people off of Facebook, to access and use that information, and to associate it with you (i.e., your name and profile picture).
    5. We always appreciate your feedback or other suggestions about Facebook, but you understand that we may use them without any obligation to compensate you for them (just as you have no obligation to offer them).

In essence both use of Google and Facebook give them rights to use any content you post or use on their services. The key difference is with Facebook that agreement terminates as soon as you remove the IP content or your account (Unless shared with others and they have not deleted it) Google’s agreement is however “perpetual, irrevocable” However keep in mind Google does specify the use of that content:

This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.

Note Google Sites has different, additional terms which is located here:

http://www.google.com/sites/help/intl/en/additional_terms.html

Section 11.1 of the Terms of Service governing Google Sites is replaced in its entirety by:

You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Service. By submitting, posting or displaying the Content you give Google a worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through the Service for the sole purpose of enabling Google to provide you with the Service in accordance with its Privacy Policy.

In this case there is no longer the “perpetual, irrevocable”  and it is no longer used to “promote the services” but to provide them within the privacy policy.

In addition some professional photographers have raised concerns about using Picasa because of the policy mentioned at the top of the article. However Picasa itself has additional terms of service located here http://picasa.google.com/legal_notices.html

Picasa Legal Notices

Your Intellectual Property Rights
Google does not claim any ownership in any of the content, including any text, data, information, images, photographs, music, sound, video, or other material, that you upload, transmit or store in your Picasa account. We will not use any of your content for any purpose except to provide you with the Service.

Finally keep in mind Google also is additionally governed by a privacy policy here http://www.google.com/intl/en/privacy/privacy-policy.html

In conclusion:

Don’t share anything embarrassing on public internet sites, no matter how many privacy settings you have. That being said I think there has been a bit of an overreaction to the Google+ terms of service, in part by ignoring the privacy policy section, but also not reading the additional terms of services from sites like Picasa. Keep in mind different Google services may have additional terms of services, and in some cases they may completely replace the generic ones mentioned at the top of this article.

About chentiangemalc

specializes in end-user computing technologies. disclaimer 1) use at your own risk. test any solution in your environment. if you do not understand the impact/consequences of what you're doing please stop, and ask advice from somebody who does. 2) views are my own at the time of posting and do not necessarily represent my current view or the view of my employer and family members/relatives. 3) over the years Microsoft/Citrix/VMWare have given me a few free shirts, pens, paper notebooks/etc. despite these gifts i will try to remain unbiased.
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2 Responses to Facebook Rights & Responsibilities vs Google’s Terms of Service

  1. scottbourne says:

    Are you an attorney?

  2. No I am not. But I know enough about terms of services to read the full thing. Including things like “additional terms of services may apply for each service”

    Even after these points you may still have issue with the terms of service but you failed to highlight a few key sections in your blog post:

    1) The license granted to google is only for providing/promoting its service
    2) In the case of photos, which was your primary concern, the license is different. Picasa’s term of service is “We will not use any of your content for any purpose except to provide you with the Service”

    In my opinion you must address these sections of terms of service if you still believe the google terms of service is risky for professional photographers. By focusing only on section 11.1 key items are missed.

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