AT&T lifts (deleted) page from Google EULA
Chrome-plated content heist
Remember Google Chrome's copyright-snaffling EULA? AT&T appears to be doing the same courtesy of a BellSouth ISP offering.
Carl Meredith, a webmaster for a Bellsouth.net-hosted site, pointed out that BellSouth, an AT&T subsidiary, has just changed its Terms of Service (TOS). Here is sections 10a(i) and 10a(ii) from the new Terms of Service:
(i) With respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on any publicly accessible area of the Site, you grant AT&T the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Site solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Site and will terminate at the time such Content is removed from the Site.
(ii) With respect to Content other than photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Site, you grant AT&T the perpetual, irrevocable and fully sub-licensable license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other works in any format or medium now known or later developed.
Carl Meredith points out: "(It) is eerily worded just like the offending Chrome paragraph. This isn't an issue for (us), but it would be for anyone who parks their intellectual property on AT&T's bellsouth.net host. All of a sudden, it's not just their property."
Just to remind you, here is the original Chrome EULA section that caused such a lot of fuss:
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.
And here is the original AT&T relevant TOS section 11b:
Ownership of all graphics, text or other information or content materials supplied or furnished by you for incorporation into or delivery through your personal Website shall remain with you (or the party which supplied such materials to you). ...
No content appropriation there. Why did AT&T change it?
AT&T was not immediately able to respond to a query but its input is eagerly awaited. Oddly, for a telephone company, AT&T doesn't give out telephone numbers for such enquiries. We squirt an e-mail to AT&T central and wait for a reply.
Mea culpa. Having left out a crucial paragraph from the AT&T TOS - 10a(ii) - I added it after this article was posted, which was after some people had commented and made them inadvertently look foolish. That put doo-doo on my face! Direct brown stuff to my fan, not theirs. AT&T by the way has not said a dicky bird. ®
@Pierre, dv, J, El Reg
and all the other commenters commenting on how silly us early posters are.
Well, the problem was, the second paragraph wasn't originally included in the article, so no, we did have a little problem reading the second paragraph. Without that second paragraph (which seemed to have been brought to attention by a commenter), the article is Daily Fail gibberish, I don't regret not AC'ing.
You can see this from the hastily re-edited article by the feckless el reg reporter, to add in the second paragraph.
Here is section 10a(i) from the new Terms of Service:
Here is sections 10a(i) and 10a(ii) from the new Terms of Service:
Remember when silently updating articles, to check for grammatical errors, it is the smoking gun which gives it all away.
On topic, yeah, that second paragraph is a great deal nastier.
Um, there's one very, VERY big problem with the change....
(By the way, I have asked our attorney, who is an intellectual property specialist, about what I've written here, and he agrees this is how it looks to him as well.)
If you read the old agreement, AT&T's rights to content were restricted to what they defined as "publicly accessible areas" such as "message boards, forums..." and so on (see previous section 24 below). That definition did not include Personal Web Pages.
There was a separate section that covered content on Personal Web Pages that made it clear content on your personal page was yours alone, and you retained all rights to it, regardless of the type of content (graphics, text, video, etc.). Your personal web page was not considered a "publicly accessible area" (see previous Section 11 below)
Now, I think it's ridiculous anyway that AT&T thinks it's acceptable to grab ownership of materials posted in its forums.
But it's COMPLETELY unacceptable if, in fact, a subscriber's personal web page content is now being lumped in with publicly accessible material under the new Policy.
The most suspicious and disturbing part of the new Legal Policy is that it still refers to "publicly accessible material," but that term is NO LONGER DEFINED, nor is there any mention of personal web pages AT ALL.
I would hope that just means AT&T's attorneys have been careless and sloppy with their editing and proofreading.
If not, every AT&T customer should find out IMMEDIATELY if their personal web page is now considered a "publicly accessible area".
If Personal Web Pages ARE now considered "publicly accessible areas," then customers are suddenly required to give AT&T a legal license to any written content on their web pages - content that they previously retained ALL rights to - AND to any other individual's content posted on your site - meaning AT&T would be able to use materials that you posted with the creator's permission WITHOUT HAVING TO OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE ORIGINAL CREATOR EITHER.
Since AT&T is not required to notify customers of changes to the Legal Policy, this would mean that - unbeknownst to the customer - a story, poem, technical article, joke, script, etc. - could be used by AT&T in a television commercial, company brochure - or any other way AT&T wishes - with no recourse, no royalties paid, no use fee paid, whether the material is copyrighted or not, and whether or not the customer is even the owner.
AT&T needs IMMEDIATELY to edit the Legal Policy to restore the definition of "publicly accessible areas." A legal contract should not - indeed, usually may not - include an undefined term.
If the definition DOES now include Personal Web Pages, customers should then start writing, calling, and e-mailing AT&T to protest - or taking their web pages, and their business, elsewhere.
Until AT&T posts a policy with "publicly accessible areas" defined, I personally would delete any personal web page. And they can be sure I will never be posting in their forums, or any other public area there.
OK, AT&T, give us a definition and an answer!!!!!
BTW, I'm copying this note to every AT&T contact I can find, and let's hope they'll clear this up fast. If they've done this intentionally, and personal web pages are now considered publicly accessible areas, I also plan to copy every regulatory agency they are subject to. Considering companies' objections to having their own intellectual property stolen, that a company would attempt to do what appears to be essentially the same to its customers via what seems to be an unannounced policy change is a little hypocritical.
Also: any possibility the Policy change might have something to do with this? Yet another item to complain to AT&T about: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/18/eff_sues_bush/
OLD VERSION: 24. Grant of License
OLD VERSION: 11. Personal Webpages
AT&T may make personal Webpages available as an optional feature of its AT&T Internet Service. If you subscribe to such feature the following provisions of this Section shall apply (in addition to the other provisions of this Agreement):
a. AT&T may provide a listing/link to users' personal Webpages on its AT&T Internet Service gateway or other mechanisms. By subscribing to the personal Webpage feature, you authorize and grant AT&T the right to use your name, Website address and similar information in such listing or directory sites or applications. You may use the complete address (URL) granted to you as part of the personal Webpage feature (which may have names or marks of AT&T embedded therein) so long as you are obtaining the personal Webpage feature from AT&T hereunder, but only for the purpose of identifying the location of your personal Website on AT&T 's Service. Otherwise, you shall not utilize the name or any marks of AT&T or any of its affiliates in any press releases, promotional materials or other commercial manner without the express prior written approval of AT&T in each instance.
b. Ownership of all graphics, text or other information or content materials supplied or furnished by you for incorporation into or delivery through your personal Website shall remain with you (or the party which supplied such materials to you). Ownership of any software developed or modified by AT&T and all graphics, text or other information or content materials supplied or furnished by AT&T for incorporation into your personal Website, shall remain with AT&T (or the party which supplied such materials to AT&T ), and may be used only while you are obtaining the personal Webpage feature from AT&T . The domain name and address (URL) granted to you for use with the personal Webpage feature shall remain the property of AT&T , shall be used by you only so long as you are obtaining the personal Webpage feature from AT&T hereunder, and may be subject to change by AT&T or the InterNIC or other applicable Internet domain name registry or granting authority from time to time. AT&T reserves the right to approve the subscriber Uniform Resource Locator (URL's) that will be used in conjunction with a AT&T registered domain name and personal Webpage feature. URL's registered using a AT&T owned domain name are nontransferable by subscribers upon account termination and will be retained by AT∓T
c. You acknowledge and agree: (i) that the primary function of AT&T 's personal Webpage feature as it relates to your personal Website is to facilitate access by end users to the information provided through your personal Website; (ii) that AT&T has no proprietary, financial, or other interest in any of the content or information that may be described in or made available through your personal Website; and (iii) that you are solely responsible for the content, quality, performance, and all other aspects of the information or other content contained in or provided through your personal Website. You warrant that you will own or have the right to use and offer all such information or other content in the manner in which the same will be used, offered or provided in connection with your personal Website. You shall indemnify and hold harmless AT&T from and against any and all claims, demands, actions, causes of action, suits, proceedings, losses, damages, costs, and expenses, including reasonable attorneys fees, arising from or relating to your personal Website or an end user's use thereof, or any act, error, or omission of yours in connection therewith, including, but not limited to, matters relating to incorrect, incomplete, or misleading information; libel; invasion of privacy; infringement of a copyright, trade name, trademark, service mark, or other intellectual property; or violation of any applicable law.
..probably not an issue.
The first para, as people have said, is clearly there as a butt-cover, to legal;ly allow them to display your content. Even without that paragraph, it is unlikely that anyone (except the habitually litigious) would try to sue AT&T over it and even less likely that they would win in court, given the nature of the services provided. However, legal counsel don't earn their money by leaving these things out.
The second paragraph is -potentially- an issue but again, only if there is cause for it to be used. They have already stated that they do not own your audio, video etc and my educated guess is that they don't want any issues from quoting, linking, caching, blog entries and other content that may persist after you cease using the services. I doubt that they want to steal your text and sell it to Simon & Schuster.
What I don't like about all of this is the one-way, unalterable nature of the contract. normally, when I am party to signing a contract with its associated Ts&Cs, there are clauses I would strike out, question or alter should I feel that they are ambiguous or undesireable. This is not possible in any on-line (or on-install) EULA and / or terms and conditions that I have ever seen, but I believe that it should be.
Then, people could modify these things to suit, and El Reg would have to run stories about idiots that signed their rights away rather than seemingly draconian clauses in an otherwise innocuous contract.
Note: IANAL (but have postgrad contractual law quals)