AOL’s TOS Change Sparks PR Crisis

    March 13, 2005

UPDATE: AOL PR is listening and they chime in via comments to this post. Click the link below to read their comments.

Link: Comments to this post.

The blogosphere is buzzing this morning over a major privacy change to AOL Instant Messenger’s Terms of Service. The change is sparking outrage because of this quote…

Although you or the owner of the Content retain ownership of all right, title and interest in Content that you post to any AIM Product, AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.

If I were working with AOL, I would call a huddle this morning to get out there talking about this with a blog and/or other means. The press hasn’t started covering this yet. They can start to turn the car around if they act now. However, it may soon be too late. Houston Chronicle veteran tech reporter Dwight Silverman already has it up on his weblog.

Steve Rubel is a PR strategist with nearly 16 years of public relations, marketing, journalism and communications experience. He currently serves as a Senior Vice President with Edelman, the largest independent global PR firm.

He authors the Micro Persuasion weblog, which tracks how blogs and participatory journalism are changing the public relations practice.