Google Chrome Does Not Own Your Stuff

Legalese Becomes Legaloops

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Some tempers flared up yesterday before being rather quickly tamped down by Google. The appearance that Google was claiming ownership of any material posted through Chrome was just due to some lazy lawyering.

Google spent a lot of time on its Chrome announcement comic book but neglected to make sure the right EULA was slapped into the Terms of Service. Those diligent enough and tolerant enough of legalese expressed some justifiable outrage at what appeared to be Google pwnage of any and all content appearing on Chrome. The language suggested that even third party Web content viewed belonged to Google, which would make the most audacious and ridiculous claim to rights in Internet history.

Google pwnage

The Chrome TOS read this way:


By submitting, posting or displaying the content, you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license 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 license 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.

Cooler heads went huh? That can’t be right. Google’s own version of Robert Scoble, Matt Cutts, received word from Senior Product Counsel for Google Chrome, Rebecca Ward, that a copy and paste job was what set off unnecessary alarms. Ward released the following statement.

“In order to keep things simple for our users, we try to use the same set of legal terms (our Universal Terms of Service) for many of our products. Sometimes, as in the case of Google Chrome, this means that the legal terms for a specific product may include terms that don’t apply well to the use of that product. We are working quickly to remove language from Section 11 of the current Google Chrome terms of service. This change will apply retroactively to all users who have downloaded Google Chrome.”

Sure enough, it reads a bit easier, allowing Chrome users (and webmasters) to retain rights to their own content.


Google Chrome Does Not Own Your Stuff
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  • http://www.freewebs.com/coffmancommunications Bruce W. Coffman

    Why would a company as large as Google not have a team of lawyers and then a team of marketing people and then a team of something else read and re-read anything and everything that goes out; especially something to do with such a large product release?

    This seems sloppy and unprofessional and not up to Google’s standards. However, it does point out a major problem with internet communications. In a world where everything is about immediacy and getting information out faster than anyone else, we have forgotten how to proofread and double-check.

    We need to get back to some of the basic standards of print communication. Once you put it out there, it’s there for all the world to see. Of course, you can go back and change it easier and more quickly on the internet, but you can bet that someone has kept a copy of your flawed original and about 50,000 others have posted it in other places.

  • http://www.logodesignnext.com/blog/ logo design blog

    Is it just me or Big G these days is resembling more and more like Microsoft of the late 90s?  *shakes head*

  • http://www.tmondo.com/p/kroozearcade_menu/kroozearcade.php Games

    I am wondering why a big company like Google cant hire some good lawyers for reviewing this sort of things???

  • http://www.masenka.be Guest

    but most people don’t read the license agreement anyway and just click on okay. Luckily there are people out there who do! Thanks for that!

  • http://www.vertical-leap.co.uk Kerry Dye

    Does anyone else remember the mass exodus from Geocities when Yahoo suddlenly changed the TOS to say something similar? People like to own their own stuff.

    And you are right about the team of lawyers thing, this does seem a bit remiss to have let such a huge mistake go public.

  • http://www.verdicts.co.uk Mat B

    Doesn’t the fact that Google claim to have "copied and pasted" these terms, beg the question: "Which of google’s products did these terms come from?" –   Which of their other products makes you sign an agreement for them to own copyright of everything in the universe?!

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