Burned by Chrome - Fire put out
Your copyright does not now go up in smoke
Update - Google amends Chrome EULA
(Updated 4 Sep '08 0830 GMT) Google has amended section 11.1 of the Chrome EULA so that it now reads:
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights that you already hold in Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services.
There are now no other sub-sections in section 11. What you see is what you get. Terrific. Google acted with alacrity. Great stuff. No worries. The points below no longer apply.
Astute Reg readers have pointed out a Chrome condition of service that effectively lets Google use any of your copyrighted material posted to the web via Chrome without paying you a cent.
Here's the relevant section 11.1 of the Chrome EULA:
11. Content licence from you
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights that you already hold in Content that 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 licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content that you submit, post or display on or through the Services. This licence 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.
Google fixes Chrome's evil EULA eye
Granting Google 'a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content that you submit, post or display on or through' Chrome is coming it rich.
Suppose Google does this to material you have posted that's not yours? No problem. It has a get-out-of-jail card signed by you in section 11.4 of the EULA:
11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above licence.
But you may be posting material via Chrome to your employer's site and it owns the copyright of anything you create in work time. What then if Google adapts, modifies and distributes it? Your fan has brown stuff all over it but none of it sticks to Google.
Copyright-sensitive sysadms may banish Chrome from their networks because of this. Google's been asked how it fits in with its general 'Do no evil' ethic but wasn't immediately able to respond - because they're not in their office yet.®
Bootnote: Google used very similar wording when it launched Orkut. But nobody seemed to care.
Not all EULA's are bad... and Google's fixing this one
Note that Google has acknowledged this and is retroactively fixing the EULA. EULA's in general are not bad... but this specific term certainly is. For more on this, see:
EULA: What--Me Worry?
Chrome sufficiently tarnished
To think I actually installed it without hiring a lawyer to explain those evil t&c properly. Never again.. until next time anyway. It does seem to be a lot of fuss over very little since those terms were so badly thought out they had to be re-written anyway. Alas 30 minutes after installation I was back to slim-browser and wondering why the G didn't just buy that instead. It seems Chrome is a little further down the precious metals scale than implied... tin or copper maybe. No doubt the mining puns will follow.
"What Google HAD was a vast reservoir of goodwill, which they have steadily pissed away."
Google pissed away most of its public goodwill by growing, as most large companies do. A company can have goodwill or it can be big. The two are mutually exclusive. People root for the underdog. They might worship the wealthy and successful and seek to emulate them, but failing that they love nothing more than seeing those same people brought down. A successful company, it's assumed, must have got to where it is by sinister and underhand means and by treading on the little guys.
Think of any large corporation and you'll find conspiracy theories aplenty. Try reading through some of the articles on snopes.com relating to Coca-Cola and Disney, to name but two. Microsoft is another obvious one, as seen with depressing regularity on here, as of course is Google.
Now I'll freely admit I don't much like Google. I won't be using Chrome for the time being, because I'm quite happy with my current browser. And I admit, I don't like the floods of cookies Google subject me to when I use their 'services', and this is why my involvement with them is generally limited to using their search engine. I wouldn't even do that if it weren't undeniably the best search engine around. I'd rather support some of the smaller ones, like AltaVista or Ask - but the simple fact is that they can't do what Google does - at least, not quite so well. (On the other hand, I do like Google Earth, and even Street View is looking interesting, so maybe I'm just a shill on the payroll of the conspirators.) Privacy is important, and vigilance should certainly be maintained. Questions should be asked. But we have to be rational. The fervour with which Google's detractors leap on every question and peculiarity hardly seems to qualify there. Cynicism, pessimism and paranoia might be the *safest* course, but then, I'd probably be a sight safer if I stayed locked in my house day and night, never did anything and never interacted with anyone. Would I be living a better life, though?
This EULA started out wrong. Now it's right. This suspicious wording has been removed, and Google have offered an explanation and an assurance that the change applies retrospectively. The only question that remains is whether we now want to get on with our lives, or spend our time throwing unverifiable allegations around. If you've decided that Google, or anyone else, are the Evil Empire, then nothing they say or do is likely to convince you otherwise.
The Mars Global Surveyor photos of Cydonia *had* to be fabricated, because they didn't show a Face, and since everyone *knows* the Face is there that just proves that NASA are Up To Something. Right?
(It's been suggested that the BBC are deliberately framing their Have Your Say questions in ways they hope will attract the largest number of entertaining ranters. I suspect the Reg staff are thinking along the same lines: wind 'em up and watch 'em go.)