3.13.2005

AOL Updates AIM Terms of Service

Another capitally stupid idea from corporate morons who think they can get away with quietly taking a slice of any revenue that results from the use of their services. AOL and its Instant Messenger have changed their terms of service.

The change is monumental. In the new AIM (which I will never ever use again) any and all content you send through their service belongs to them. Think about that. If you're chatting with a pal and are colloborating on a screenplay, AOL owns all rights to your screenplay. Business ideas, insider tips on stocks, whatever gets passed through AIM becomes their's.

Found by Thrashing through Cyberspace, from the newly revised AIM Terms of Service (emphasis mine, of course): "Content You Post
You may only post Content that you created or which the owner of the Content has given you. You may not post or distribute Content that is illegal or that violates these Terms of Service. By posting or submitting Content on any AIM Product, you represent and warrant that (i) you own all the rights to this Content or are authorized to use and distribute this Content on the AIM Product and (ii) this Content does not and will not infringe any copyright or any other third-party right nor violate any applicable law or regulation.

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."

What does that mean? It means that AOL is taking a slice of any action that results from the use of its instant messenger service. AOL has decided to push through the privacy barrier online and just declare that they can do whatever they want with your thoughts. That's beyond outrageous, they cannot assume an ownership that they cannot lay a proper claim too. Does the phone company get a kickback of my profits when I make a sale? Yes, they do, I pay them for the service I've used. They do not own my thoughts, they do not have some automatic stake in my business.

I would highly encourage everyone using AIM or AOL to quit the service immediately. I would also like to find out the bulletin boards, the forums and everything else that AOL has their fingers into that this might possible affect.

AOL and AIM get to join Walmart in the pen of companies I will never willingly do business with in any way, shape or manner again. The arrogance of their presumption is grotesque.

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