Apple Revises iTools Terms of Service — Quietly bowing to public concern over the legalese in the iTools user agreement (first reported in GCSF’s MWJ back on 10-Jan-00), Apple has changed the wording to avoid criticisms that the agreement implied that all content posted in public areas of iTools (such as your public iDisk folder or on Web pages created with HomePage) belonged to Apple. The original wording stated:
"You hereby grant Apple a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise all rights, under copyright, publicity and related laws, in any media now known or not currently known, with respect to any content you post in any public site within iTools."
The new wording removes much of the legalese and clarifies the license you grant to Apple to allow them to distribute your work.
"You hereby grant Apple a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish any such public area content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting the area on which such content is posted. Said license will be in effect only as long as you are an iTools member, and will terminate upon removal of such content from the public area or when you are no longer an iTools member, whichever happens first."
Although it’s easy to see conspiracy theories in such situations, in our experience, they’re more commonly what happens when out-of-touch lawyers draft legal documents without thinking about the ramifications for users or the negative impact of user revolts and damaging press reports. A similar situation erupted last year when Yahoo bought Web hosting service GeoCities and imposed new terms of service that gave Yahoo complete rights to GeoCities-hosted content. After briefly trying to explain the new policy, Yahoo caved and revised the agreement to reserve only those rights necessary to display the GeoCities content. It would have been nice to see Apple learning from Yahoo’s mistake before all the fuss, but the end result is copacetic. [ACE]