Copyright carve-up denied by Yahoo!

Is it snatching contributors' rights? Read it for yourself

Yahoo! has denied that it wants to claim ownership of content posted on its portal. This contradicts the accusations levelled at the portal giant yesterday by a number of its users and suppliers. It says the changes to its Terms of Service (TOS) are not meant to abuse the copyright of others. Instead, the TOS have been introduced so that Yahoo! can serve millions of Web pages each and every day, it says. Tim Brady, of Yahoo! said: "There is no question about taking other people's intellectual property rights -- end of story." Well, not quite the end of the story. Yahoo! might think that its new choice of legal jargon poses no threat but the wording is so woolly there's nothing stopping the portal from hedging its bets for the future. With so much misunderstanding and double-speak it's not surprising that hoards of people have been enraged by the new TOS. Read it for yourself, they're certainly claiming some extraordinary powers. "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." Frankly, Yahoo!'s approach to this mirrors that of shifty politicians -- say one thing when you really mean another. Either Yahoo! rewrites its TOS to make it absolutely clear or users could still be faced with copyright issues down the road. Don't say you haven't been warned. ®

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