Breaking News: Comment Thread on Dropbox BlogBy http://profile.typepad.com/1237764140s22740 // July 2, 2011 in Terms of Service
If you're online this morning, check out the Disqus comment thread on the Dropbox blog.
Some commentators, backs up, have enough socializing ego to acknowledge how decent it is of the company to permit everyone to let off steam in an open forum, even as they stick to their objections.
The general context seems to be reaction to a serious security breach in the service that has recently come to light. Awareness of Dropbox's vulnerability, generally, has been around for some time, but an event this week brought things to a crisis.
What's most interesting to me about the thread is how scores of people are unpacking the Dropbox terms of service, engaging in very close reading, both for what the terms say about Dropbox's operations and what they may imply about Dropbox's plans.
At first blush, you'd think Dropbox's TOS would cover things in a manner that would eschew any ability to get (or responsiblity for getting) elbows deep into a user's content. But in a couple places, they seem to echo terms closer to what you'd expect from a social media service.
Here's the most curious one, pointed out already in the aforementioned Disqus comment thread:
"By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent we think it necessary for the Service."
Notice that the distinct rights under copyright to "perform, or publicly display" are included in the license a user gives Dropbox. Not an unequivocal right to take your pictures and post them to flickr, perhaps, but also far more discretionary than necessary? (But see the second to last paragraph in this post from Jeremy Freeland, talking about a display right in connection with cloud based services.)
Would be great to have Jeremy Freeland or Albert Chu unpack these Dropbox TOS (hint hint).