What's the right balance in a copyright license for publishing over "social networks"?

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What's the right balance in a copyright license for publishing over "social networks"? Hugo Roy 6/6/12 9:52 AM
Hello,

Obviously one of the most important issues that's addressed in ToS is
the copyright license. Not all services are equal in this regard,
especially between services where the user operate in private and
services where the user shares / publishes content with other people /
with the world.

        With this first topic, I'd like to gather some comparative
        information and discuss what seems to be a fair balance between
        needs to operate the service and rights of the authors & the
        public. Then we could try to categorize them and give them a
        rating.

The first thing to discuss obviously is the scope of the copyright
license. Some of the ToS out there seems to go as far as they can get in
scope. It seems to me that the biggest difference are:
      * some ToS don't grant a specifically large license to the
        operator of the service but fall back on a copyright public
        license e.g. creative commons
      * some ToS require the ability to transfer, sublicense with others
        (sometimes it is limited to the partners e.g. Twitter Partners)

Do I miss anything substantial?

Facebook:
        you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable,
        royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you
        post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License).

Twitter:
        By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the
        Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free
        license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce,
        process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and
        distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution
        methods (now known or later developed).
       
        You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to
        provide, promote, and improve the Services and to make Content
        submitted to or through the Services available to other
        companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter
        for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of
        such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms
        and conditions for such Content use.
       
Identi.ca:
        By submitting Content to Operator for inclusion on your Website,
        you grant all readers the right to use, re-use, modify and/or
        re-distribute the Content under the terms of the Creative
        Commons Attribution 3.0.
       
SeenThis:
        en publiant leurs messages sur Seenthis, les auteurs acceptent :
        — que ces messages soient publiés (présentés au public) sur le
        site seenthis.net,
        — que ces messages soient organisés et enrichis par les
        automatismes présents dans le système Seenthis (traduction,
        thématisation...).
       
        By publishing their messages on Seenthis, the authors agree
        that:
         - these messages are published (displayed to the public) on the
        seenthis.net website
         - these messages are organised and augmented by automatic
        systems in Seenthis (translation, taggin...).
       
Note that SeenThis gives the option when the message is posted to choose
which license (classic copyright, cc-by-sa, and others)

Wordpress.com
        By submitting Content to Automattic for inclusion on your
        Website, you grant Automattic a world-wide, royalty-free, and
        non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish
        the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing
        and promoting your blog.

--
Hugo Roy
  French Coordinator, FSFE       chat: hu...@jabber.fsfe.org
  www.fsfe.org/about/roy         mobile: +336 08 74 13 41
                                 mobile DE: +49 151 143 56 563

Re: What's the right balance in a copyright license for publishing over "social networks"? Michiel de Jong 6/6/12 10:12 AM
this is 'Ownership' on http://tos-dr.info/

i would distinguish three user stories: publishing publicly,
publishing to a limited audience, uploading for private use.

in the first case, obviously you need to grant a license, and i think
it doesn't matter if this is transferrable or creative commons - it is
understood that what you publish will be public. i would give points
to websites that make it clear that something will be public. some
have a warning saying "watch out: public means public!"

in the second case, the site should only get a license to publish the
content to the intended audience, plus sysadmin access. any secondary
data that is generated should only be used for product improvement and
not for advertising, and definitely not for profiling.

additionally, the site will disclose your data to the police whenever
required to do so by law, but i don't think they need to put that
explicitly in the ToS, do they? i think they should get points if they
point this out to you, and also if they warn you whenever this happens
(this is point 'law enforcement').

in the third case, it's the same as the second case, except that the
intended audience is just you.

cheers!
Michiel
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Re: What's the right balance in a copyright license for publishing over "social networks"? Hugo Roy 6/6/12 10:38 AM
Le mercredi 06 juin 2012 à 19:12 +0200, Michiel de Jong a écrit :
> this is 'Ownership' on http://tos-dr.info/

Right, it also touches upon the relationship w/ 3rd parties.

> i would distinguish three user stories: publishing publicly,
> publishing to a limited audience, uploading for private use.
>
> in the first case, obviously you need to grant a license, and i think
> it doesn't matter if this is transferrable or creative commons

So what about a case where for instance on SeenThis you can publish
under a CC-non commercial license, or a non-derivative? Compare that to
Twitter which gets granted more rights, including to display on /all/
media (so typically outside twitter.com, even on paper).

I personally like the CC approach better, especially when it's
advertised clearly. That way the user is aware quite clearly of the
copyright license that's applying to uploaded content. Also, the
operator and other people are treated equally.

I'm not sure that all users of Facebook realise that uploading a picture
equals granting a very, very broad copyright license (provided that the
ToS copyright license clause is valid and enforceable). IMHO that's not
particularly required for a "social network" or even for publication.
Then what about ToS that govern several of the use-cases you describe.

Wordpress.com in contrast to Facebook, is limited to the first case you
describe. In that case, they precise that the copyright license is
limited to Automattic (nothing about transfert AFAIK) and operates
"solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your
blog." That makes a big difference IMO.

>  - it is understood that what you publish will be public. i would give
> points to websites that make it clear that something will be public.
> some have a warning saying "watch out: public means public!"

I agree but that's typically not reflected in most ToS. Hard to keep
track of this equally for all services.

> in the second case, the site should only get a license to publish the
> content to the intended audience, plus sysadmin access. any secondary
> data that is generated should only be used for product improvement and
> not for advertising, and definitely not for profiling.
>
> additionally, the site will disclose your data to the police whenever
> required to do so by law, but i don't think they need to put that
> explicitly in the ToS, do they?

Yes, I don't think the government asks for a copyright license to access
content :)

>  i think they should get points if they
> point this out to you, and also if they warn you whenever this happens
> (this is point 'law enforcement').

Yes, I agree. That's for another topic though.
Re: What's the right balance in a copyright license for publishing over "social networks"? Michiel de Jong 6/6/12 10:59 AM
On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 7:38 PM, Hugo Roy <hu...@fsfe.org> wrote:
> So what about a case where for instance on SeenThis you can publish
> under a CC-non commercial license, or a non-derivative? Compare that to
> Twitter which gets granted more rights, including to display on /all/
> media (so typically outside twitter.com, even on paper).

i think we would have to put that in context and try to relate it to
the user story. For a tweet, derivatives don't make much sense,
although i heard of a case where if you mention a brand, that brand
then gets advertised to your friends with your photo in the ad. that
would be a commercial derivative i guess. :)

is a quote a derivative? is this email, quoting the text from your
email, a derivative of it? i guess so. you could now probably sue me
because i'm reusing unlicensed material. ;)

non-commercial sounds reasonable for derivatives (e.g. someone
compiles a book of your tweets and gets rich) but not for the original
published context, it is quite widely accepted that the site may
display ads on the same page, and that would violate a non-commercial
license, right?

so my conclusion would be:
- if the service does not display ads, then that's a plus, but that's
then probably for the whole service, and doesn't seem to be a feature
of the content licensing, more of the service's mission statement
- commercial derivatives should not be allowed i think

> I personally like the CC approach better, especially when it's
> advertised clearly. That way the user is aware quite clearly of the
> copyright license that's applying to uploaded content. Also, the
> operator and other people are treated equally.

that's definitely a good thing, and that's obviously why identica
chose it, and i think that should be rewarded.


> I'm not sure that all users of Facebook realise that uploading a picture
> equals granting a very, very broad copyright license (provided that the
> ToS copyright license clause is valid and enforceable). IMHO that's not
> particularly required for a "social network" or even for publication.
> Then what about ToS that govern several of the use-cases you describe.

the problem there is that the license is granted at the moment of
uploading, and unlike twitter, uploading to facebook is not publishing
publicly. what license does twitter get over direct messages?

> Wordpress.com in contrast to Facebook, is limited to the first case you
> describe. In that case, they precise that the copyright license is
> limited to Automattic (nothing about transfert AFAIK) and operates
> "solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your
> blog." That makes a big difference IMO.

yes, that's how it should be, right? i don't understand why it's so
hard for other services to get that right ;)

>
>>  - it is understood that what you publish will be public. i would give
>> points to websites that make it clear that something will be public.
>> some have a warning saying "watch out: public means public!"
>
> I agree but that's typically not reflected in most ToS. Hard to keep
> track of this equally for all services.

well, there is documented evidence of user studies about oversharing
on facebook. it is misleading on purpose. we should quote that
research, and penalize facebook for it.
Re: What's the right balance in a copyright license for publishing over "social networks"? Hugo Roy 6/19/12 10:32 AM
This discussion has now been converted to several data points
https://github.com/unhosted/ToS-DR/commit/9f432ecee323584683af9c0535e399986a286d77

Le mercredi 06 juin 2012 à 18:52 +0200, Hugo Roy a écrit :