Yahoo! hijacks its users' content

It's all a load of TOS

Yahoo! is suffering from an acute form of megalomania. Not content with being one of the biggest sites on the Web it no wants to possess all the... er... content that passes through its portal. In a new set of "terms of service" Yahoo! has asserted its rights to own every bit of information contained within its domain -- whether it owns it or not. Section 8 of Yahoo's! TOS' now reads: "By submitting content to any Yahoo property, you automatically grant, or warrant that the owner of such content has expressly granted, Yahoo the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully sublicensable [what sort of a word is that -- Ed] right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed." One hacked off reader who alerted The Register to this said: "This crosses the line. Yahoo! is claiming that by submitting any content, I am granting an unqualified license for all of my content to be used by Yahoo! in any way it chooses, and to create any kind of derivative works. "They can profit in any way, in perpetuity, from my copyrighted works, without ever requesting my permission or providing me with any benefits (not even credit for authorship). "Things are even worse: Yahoo! won't even let me edit my GeoCities Web site or remove my content from the GeoCities service, without first accepting the new usage contract. "The company provides a contact phone number that reaches a 'permanent voicemail' box. No human staff are available at the company to respond to demands for content to be removed," he wrote. Let's be absolutely sure about this. You post anything on Yahoo! and automatically waive your rights to your work. They can make money out of it forever, do anything they want to it and still you wouldn't have a leg to stand on. So what if someone else posts your stuff without your say so -- are you going to get nabbed by the Yahoo! copyright scheme? Does this new copyright ruling cover Web sites that have registered with the mega directory? IBM, Microsoft, Coca-Cola, Levi, Compaq -- have they all had to hand over ownership of their brands to Yahoo! just because they're listed on Yahoo!? All these questions and more can't be answered -- because Yahoo! can't be bothered to return a phone call. No doubt the entire staff at yodel towers is now busy scurrying through its portal to see what it can claim as its own. No doubt the two voicemails left with Yahoo! to find out what the heck it's playing at are also now subject to their TOS' on content. Hang on, this story mentions Yahoo! -- so they probably own this article too. Come to think of it, the alphabet contains letters that appear in the word "Yahoo!" -- so they must own every word ever written. Or spoken. Ever. ®

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