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Adobe Adjusts Photoshop Express Terms of Service

Shortly after Adobe opened the public beta of its Photoshop Express online photo-editing service, several early users who actually read the site’s terms of service noticed language that, in effect, gave Adobe almost free rein with images that people uploaded and publicly shared in galleries (see “Photoshop Express Offers Free Photo Editing on the Web,” 2007-09-07). Adobe has now posted revised terms that clarify the company’s usage.

The new wording goes into effect on 10-Apr-08, and is marked in red on the Web page listing the terms. Section 8a now reads (additional language in italics here):

“Adobe does not claim ownership of Your Content. However, with respect to Your Content that you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Services, and unless otherwise specifically agreed in any Additional Terms that might accompany individual services (such as, you grant Adobe a worldwide, royalty-free, nonexclusive, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other Materials or works in any format or medium now known or later developed.”

To my surprise, the offending language (everything after “… you grant Adobe…”) remains. However, the new clause’s pointer to the Additional Terms of Use document reveals limitations to Adobe’s usage that were present at the beginning; Adobe has clarified the link between the two documents. None of this language is new:

“Adobe does not claim ownership of Your Content. However, we do need certain rights from you, with respect to Your Content, in order to operate the Service and in order to enable you to do all the things this Service affords you the ability to do. Therefore, with respect to Your Content, you grant Adobe a worldwide (because the internet is global), royalty-free (meaning we do not owe you any money), nonexclusive (meaning you are free to license Your Content to others) fully sublicensable (so that we can permit our affiliates, subcontractors and agents to deliver the Service on our behalf) license to use, reproduce and modify Your Content solely for the purposes of operating the Service and enabling your use of the Service. With respect
to Your Shared Content, you additionally grant Adobe the rights to distribute, publicly perform and publicly display Your Shared Content (in whole or in part) for the sole purposes of operating the Service and enabling your use of the Service and to sublicense Your Shared Content to Other Users subject to the limitations of Section 7 below. These limited licenses do not grant Adobe the right to sell or otherwise license Your Content or Your Shared Content on a stand alone basis. Further, you may terminate Adobe’s right to distribute, publicly perform and publicly display Your Shared Content by making it no longer shared. You may terminate the remainder of Adobe’s rights by removing Your Content from the Service.”

Adobe also clarified its stance on being able to claim revenue from ads and other initiatives that appear on the same page as a user’s content, by editing section 10a:

“You agree that Adobe may derive revenue and or other remuneration from the Services including from portions of the Services that include Your Content. For example, Adobe may display Adobe and/or third party paid advertisements and other information adjacent to or included with the Services and adjacent to or in connection with Your Content, and you agree that you are not entitled to any compensation for any such advertisements. The manner, mode and extent of advertising or other revenue generating models by Adobe on or in conjunction with the Services are subject to change without specific notice to you.”

The 10-Apr-08 implementation date is there to give any existing users time to review the new terms. Comments from people at Adobe indicate that the company wasn’t attempting to grab rights it shouldn’t have, and it’s good to see that their lawyers clarified the language.

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