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OfflineC20H25N3O
Calico Kahlia
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Registered: 02/01/04
Posts: 1,386
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AOL's Terms of Service Update for AIM Raises Eyebrows
    #3925478 - 03/16/05 03:05 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

AOL's Terms of Service Update for AIM Raises Eyebrows
By Ryan Naraine
March 12, 2005

America Online, Inc. has quietly updated the terms of service for its AIM instant messaging application, making several changes that is sure to raise the hackles of Internet privacy advocates.

The revamped terms of service, which apply only to users who downloaded the free AIM software on or after Feb. 5, 2004, gives AOL the right to "reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote" all content distributed across the chat network by users.

"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," according to the AIM terms-of-service.

Although the user will retain ownership of the content passed through the AIM network, the terms give AOL ownership of "all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this [user] content.

eWEEK.com Special Report: Privacy

"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," it added.

The changes could have serious ramifications for AOL's [Email]AIM@Work[/Email] service which is being marketed to businesses. [Email]AIM@Work[/Email] offers things like Identity Services to allow the use of corporate e-mail address as AOL screen names. It also offers premium services like voice conferencing and Web meetings.

At the time of this reporting, it is not clear if the same terms of service apply to businesses who pay for the [Email]AIM@Work[/Email] features. America Online executives were not available to discuss the terms of service changes.

On Weblogs and discussion forums, the discovery of the updated AIM terms of service has led to intense discussions.

"They're encouraging businesses to use AIM to discuss details of their business correspondence, even to sync their Outlook contact and calendar files, which, according to their TOS, AOL then has the right to publish in any way they see fit, including, among other things, providing that information to business competitors. I'd be pretty damn leery of using [Email]AIM@Work[/Email] for any kind of business," said Ben Stanfield, executive editor and founder of MacSlash, Inc.
--
http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1775649,00.asp


--------------------

Calico Kahlia come tell me the news
Calamity's waiting for a way to get to her
Rosy red and electric blue
I bought you a paddle for your paper canoe

Say you'll come back when you can
Whenever your airplane happens to land
Maybe I'll be back here too
It all depends on what's with you


Edited by C20H25N3O (03/16/05 03:11 PM)


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OfflinePhluck
Carpal Tunnel
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Re: AOL's Terms of Service Update for AIM Raises Eyebrows [Re: C20H25N3O]
    #3925509 - 03/16/05 03:14 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

This should probably be followed up by one of the many articles pointing out that all the hoopla over this was caused by someone misinterpreting the TOS.

Quote:

AOL explains its privacy policy
By DWIGHT SILVERMAN
Copyright 2005 Houston Chronicle

RESOURCES
MORE TECHBLOG: Read Computing columnist Dwight Silverman's daily technology musings
Via RSS
America Online spokesman Andrew Weinstein responded to a request for more information about AOL Instant Messenger's terms of service, which I wrote about Saturday after spotting it on Slashdot.

The terms would appear to indicate that anything generated using AIM is fair game for AOL to use, which would mean private IM communications are not so private.

But Weinstein said that's not the case.

The clause in question specifically refers to something an AIM user might post in a public forum, Weinstein says. He writes:

The related section of the Terms of Service is called "Content You Post" and, as such, logically and legally it relates only to content a user posts in a public area of the service.

If a user posts content in a public area of the service, like a chat room, message board, or other public forum, that information may be used by AOL for other purposes. One example of this might be a user who posts a "Rate a Buddy" photo and thus allows AIM to post it for other AIM users to vote on it. Another might be AOL taking an excerpt from a message board posting on a current news issue and highlighting it in a different area of the service.

In a subsequent phone conversation, Weinstein said that AOL does not monitor AIM traffic, and does not store it. A record of an AIM communication is not saved in any storage medium at AOL, he said.

"AOL does not read person-to-person communications," he said flatly.

The key word is "post." Weinstein said an AIM exchange is not considered posting, but a person-to-person communication, which is covered by this part of the AIM terms:

AOL does not read your private online communications when you use any of the communication tools offered as AIM Products. If, however, you use these tools to disclose information about yourself publicly (for example, in chat rooms or online message boards made available by AIM), other online users may obtain access to any information you provide.

It is common for online publishers to say in their terms of service that anything posted in a public forum is available to be used by the publisher -- HoustonChronicle.com's terms of service include that provision, for example.

Weinstein also pointed out this is not new -- the current AIM terms were updated a little over a year ago.




--------------------
"I have no valid complaint against hustlers. No rational bitch. But the act of selling is repulsive to me. I harbor a secret urge to whack a salesman in the face, crack his teeth and put red bumps around his eyes." -Hunter S Thompson
http://phluck.is-after.us


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OfflineC20H25N3O
Calico Kahlia
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Registered: 02/01/04
Posts: 1,386
Last seen: 4 days, 9 hours
Re: AOL's Terms of Service Update for AIM Raises Eyebrows [Re: Phluck]
    #3925585 - 03/16/05 03:30 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

yeah, that is a good follow up

thanks.


--------------------

Calico Kahlia come tell me the news
Calamity's waiting for a way to get to her
Rosy red and electric blue
I bought you a paddle for your paper canoe

Say you'll come back when you can
Whenever your airplane happens to land
Maybe I'll be back here too
It all depends on what's with you


Post Extras: Print Post  Remind Me! Notify Moderator
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