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Cyia
07-03-2011, 12:05 AM
Via a series of tweets from Chuck Wendig, comes this link: http://bradykrissesq.com/2011/07/brady-the-terms-of-service-avenger-dropbox-edition/

About recent changes in Dropbox's TOS.


We sometimes need your permission to do what you ask us to do with your stuff (for example, hosting, making public, or sharing your files). 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. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission.

I don't know about you, but I don't like the idea of giving someone permission to prepare any sort of derivative work based on my own, even on a non-exclusive basis. Or giving them the right to display things they're only supposed to store.

Then there's this little gem:


[Dropbox] may stop, suspend, or modify the Services at any time without prior notice to you. (emphasis mine)

So, they reserve the right to change their policies without telling you, and since you've given them rights to your work.... yeah... no, thanks.]


This basically leaves all of your stuff wide open for whatever. Also, given that there is nothing in the TOS saying how one might withdraw the license granted via the TOS, or when such a license might expire (one would assume it would expire upon the deletion of the account, but the TOS doesn’t say that). Dropbox’s ability to stuff with your stuff may well be perpetual.

Kitty27
07-03-2011, 12:13 AM
I completely agree and canceled my account yesterday. This doesn't sit right with me at all. Maybe I was being paranoid but I like to be the only one with access to my work. They are supposed to store only. Back to the old but trusty flashdrive for me.

Bookewyrme
07-03-2011, 12:15 AM
Considering that I use Dropbox as one of my primary forms of back-up for the most recent versions of my MSs, this part is terrifying to me.


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.

So, that means, if I have a complete, polished MS which I keep a copy of on Dropbox, they could go ahead and publish/display it somewhere and therefore burn my first rights for me? WTF?

Snitchcat
07-03-2011, 12:17 AM
Okay, my work is mine. I have an account with them but I haven't used it yet and with that TOS change, I'm glad I haven't. Time to cancel methinks. Thanks for the heads up.

Maxinquaye
07-03-2011, 12:20 AM
I don't have anything important with them. Lucky I don't, and now I won't ever give them access to anything important.

Chris1981
07-03-2011, 12:22 AM
Not cool.

Off to look at other options now.

Maxinquaye
07-03-2011, 12:26 AM
I checked this out. There's an update about this.

http://blog.dropbox.com/?p=846

We asked for your feedback and we’ve been listening. As a result, we’ve clarified our language on licensing:

You retain ownership to your stuff. You are also solely responsible for your conduct, the content of your files and folders, and your communications with others while using the Services.

We sometimes need your permission to do what you ask us to do with your stuff (for example, hosting, making public, or sharing your files). 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 reasonably necessary for the Service. This license is solely to enable us to technically administer, display, and operate the Services. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission.

dpaterso
07-03-2011, 12:27 AM
I'm kinda expecting someone in the company with a bit more common sense to step in, slap heads and modify this change to be more acceptable to users.

...Just saw previous post.

-Derek

Christine N.
07-03-2011, 12:27 AM
This update to the policy was on Dropbox's blog, with their bolding. I think it's interesting if you don't just pick and choose what you post, like the person on the OP's link did:



You retain ownership to your stuff. You are also solely responsible for your conduct, the content of your files and folders, and your communications with others while using the Services.

We sometimes need your permission to do what you ask us to do with your stuff (for example, hosting, making public, or sharing your files). 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 reasonably necessary for the Service. This license is solely to enable us to technically administer, display, and operate the Services. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission.



I think they have a reasonable understanding of what they're saying and not trying to rip anyone off. Like,it's up to you not to store your child pr0n on your DB account. That's covering their backsides. They've also CYA'd it with the 'we can change the services at any time' - probably meaning they can expand or shrink your space if you've got a free account, and or change how and when you upload and access files.

Besides, who's got time to go through all those files on all those accounts on the off-chance there's something worthwhile? It's like saying copyright your manuscript before you submit it, because an agent might steal it. Not worth it.

Does it sound scary? Sure. In practical application, probably not an issue. And I love my Dropbox. Now that the tech department has fixed my work computer, I'm downloading it to that one too, so I can have certain files on all computers. I usually just use if for Grad School stuff, and when the semester's over I move it to my laptop so I don't overstuff the box. And I DO use it for manuscripts, but someone would have to do some pretty hard digging to find out a)which is the version I'm submitting, and b) what the hell to do with it if they did find it.

I only use the public folder for anything not mine that must be shared with other parties.

Haggis
07-03-2011, 12:40 AM
Yeah, I'm still not comfortable with the terms. I've cancelled my account, but I'm still holding the files in one place where I can put them back, should they fix things.

Medievalist
07-03-2011, 12:58 AM
I'm not seeing a problem, frankly. First, you need to keep in mind their definition of Service, and remember that your content is what is, essentially "serviced," so to speak.

This is partially a cover your ass statement. It's not a rights grab; it's to avoid someone suing them for, say, having copies on a backup up, or because a user shared a file with another user--who then did something the first user doesn't like.

I'd worry more about their four-hour loss of password protection (http://m.ibtimes.com/dropbox-blog-security-password-account-sync-business-document-166804.html).

Margarita Skies
07-03-2011, 12:59 AM
When I read this thread, I freaked out, and first I deleted my files from the Dropbox folder, transferred them somewhere else in my Documents folder, and then I went to Dropbox's website and cancelled my account. Now I am going to uninstall their program from my computer. Seriously, OP, thank you so much for this warning. Downside is I am not sure if other internet file-storage services are safe, so until I acquire a flashdrive of the same size as my former Dropbox account (2 GB) my files will stay in my hard drive and go nowhere else unless something happens to my computer and I have to perform yet another out-of-box system recovery. I thank you a million times. You rule. You've saved our files!!

Maxinquaye
07-03-2011, 01:04 AM
Don't panic. Really. Dropbox had some clumsy lawyers, or non-lawyers that tried to speak legalese.

Little Ming
07-03-2011, 01:08 AM
Ah ha! So my paranoia was right!

*Prints out WIP and burns internet*

Margarita Skies
07-03-2011, 01:09 AM
Don't panic. Really. Dropbox had some clumsy lawyers, or non-lawyers that tried to speak legalese.



:ROFL:

Medievalist
07-03-2011, 01:10 AM
Don't panic. Really. Dropbox had some clumsy lawyers, or non-lawyers that tried to speak legalese.

I'm pretty sure it's the latter--they misuse several key terms and phrases, says she who is not an attorney, but used to write TOS statements working with a battery of really smart IP and contract attorneys.

These are attempts to cover their ass if disgruntled users are, well, disgruntled.

Soccer Mom
07-03-2011, 02:37 AM
I'm pretty sure it's the latter--they misuse several key terms and phrases, says she who is not an attorney, but used to write TOS statements working with a battery of really smart IP and contract attorneys.

These are attempts to cover their ass if disgruntled users are, well, disgruntled.

This. I'm not worried about my Dropbox account. It's nothing more than a clumsy TOS statement.

thothguard51
07-03-2011, 02:51 AM
I am not worried. This TOS is really no different that what you agree to with email accounts, or other websites that you are members of.

And if you don't go public, then there is no reason for DB to allow anyone to view your files, nor send it elsewhere. Use it what it was really designed for, (cloud storage), and you won't have any problems...

Amadan
07-03-2011, 03:13 AM
Jeez, freak-outs over badly-worded TOSes happen pretty regularly. Should Dropbox have been told (firmly) that their wording was problematic? Yes. But does anyone honestly think that their plan was "BWAHAHAHAHA! Now we can steal any unpublished screenplays and manuscripts our users are storing and sell them ourselves!"? (Or maybe, "Now any time an author publishes a manuscript that s/he stored with our service, we can demand a cut"?) Come on, people.

Maxinquaye
07-03-2011, 03:29 AM
Well, the earlier version of the TOS was pretty toxic. If Dropbox had insisted, I would have closed my accounts, and shouted about it. However, as I don't think that Dropbox is (or was yesterday) after my half-finished first drafts and my novel notes in order to sell them to Hollywood, and since they responded pretty fast to the criticism, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt.

Now that four hour open-season, I've screamed shrilly and with force about that. That warranted an over-the-top panic-attack.

Bookewyrme
07-03-2011, 03:40 AM
I'm glad they updated the TOS. I really like the service, and I'd hate to have to pull my stuff off of it.


Ah ha! So my paranoia was right!

*Prints out WIP and burns internet*

:ROFL:

Christine N.
07-03-2011, 04:01 AM
Jeez, freak-outs over badly-worded TOSes happen pretty regularly.

This.

jaksen
07-03-2011, 04:10 AM
You still have your files on someone else's server. That is what I don't like and never have liked. Their files were compromised some time ago. (I had a thread on it.) And every now and then you hear about an 'employee' who takes home work or a laptop or files either mistakenly or for other reasons. (Although this has never happened with the service in question; it has happened on other sites.)

I have trouble trusting my family. I am not going to trust strangers. I know many of you disagree with this and that's fine. And no, I don't think anyone's going to take my stories and publish them or whatever. I just don't like having my stuff...on someone else's server.

Or on gmail, which lost a ton of emails about a year ago.

jmo

Christine N.
07-03-2011, 04:14 AM
I'm a terrible one for misplacing jump drives. Which is why I love DB. I also have three computers that I work from, and I can never remember what's on what computer! LOL.

I don't have anything important --like medical/bank/personal information on there, so I think I'm safe. It's saved on my computers as well, so I have three backup copies as well as the stored copy. And a portable HD.

But it works for me and not for everyone.

Jamesaritchie
07-03-2011, 05:35 AM
They aren't trying to rip anyone off, but by agreeing to this, they now have the legal right to rip off everyone who uses their service. This means you're fine, as long as only good, considerate, honest people are in charge. You're screwed if anyone bad, inconsiderate, and dishonest gets in charge.

Medievalist
07-03-2011, 05:42 AM
They aren't trying to rip anyone off, but by agreeing to this, they now have the legal right to rip off everyone who uses their service. This means you're fine, as long as only good, considerate, honest people are in charge. You're screwed if anyone bad, inconsiderate, and dishonest gets in charge.

No, actually, you're not. Read it again.

Look at the definitions, Mr. Ritchie.

Pay attention to the pronouns and relative clauses.

And there's always PGP, if you're worried.

Snitchcat
07-03-2011, 09:55 AM
Still reconsidering here and debating if I should fork out for a SSD backup instead, or as another backup to a backup.

Plot Device
07-03-2011, 05:08 PM
Sounds to me like they really only want to be able to do promotional advertizing of their site by incorporating actual specimens of archived material from actual customers. But they also need to legally cover their butts to be able to do that. So they're writing themselves a blank check to force all members to give unfettered permission for them to produce promotional materials which include their work.

And yet whichever boneheaded lawyer it was that wrote up these new guidelines stupidly isn't seeing that these new caveats all essentially mean that DropBox can STEAL people's work.

And since when is "stuff" a legal term?

Christine N.
07-03-2011, 08:25 PM
LOL, it does say 'stuff' in the official TOS. But like 'party of the first part' - hereafter known as 'Joe Blow', your files becomes hereafter known as 'your stuff'.

Jstwatchin
07-03-2011, 08:40 PM
Frankly, their TOS does not seem out of the ordinary. Let's look a t Google docs:


11. Content license from you
11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
11.2 You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.
11.4 You confirm and warrant to Google that you have all the rights, power and authority necessary to grant the above license.


(Emphasis mine) I suppose it's up to us do decide what we are and are not comfortable with. Thus it is also our responsibility to be informed about the respective TOS.

areteus
07-03-2011, 09:06 PM
For those looking for USB drives, you can often get great quality 100 - 500GB USB external hard drives for not very much at all. I got one a couple of years back (500GB for about £30) and it has been useful.

benbradley
07-03-2011, 09:41 PM
...
And there's always PGP, if you're worried.
I was gonna mention that. I could see their next big ad: "Ben Bradley uses Dropbox to store his PGP-encrypted files!"

Sounds to me like they really only want to be able to do promotional advertising of their site by incorporating actual specimens of archived material from actual customers. But they also need to legally cover their butts to be able to do that. So they're writing themselves a blank check to force all members to give unfettered permission for them to produce promotional materials which include their work.

And yet whichever boneheaded lawyer it was that wrote up these new guidelines stupidly isn't seeing that these new caveats all essentially mean that DropBox can STEAL people's work.

And since when is "stuff" a legal term?
So if someone uses Dropbox to save drafts of a novel that becomes the next best seller, Dropbox can use a couple paragraphs of whatever version is saved on it in an ad?

Frankly, their TOS does not seem out of the ordinary. Let's look a t Google docs:

(Emphasis mine) I suppose it's up to us do decide what we are and are not comfortable with. Thus it is also our responsibility to be informed about the respective TOS.
These huge Terms Of Service agreements are a legal hassle for the users of just about any online service (and likely a lot of other products and services) thesedays. The problem is that most people "agree" without even reading a small portion of the TOS, much less understanding the whole thing The general online public has ended up relying on crowd-sourcing and the few who are actually interested in the legalese and who actually read these things to find out what's in them (much like this actual [almost] quote from a member of Congress, "We have to pass the bill in order to know what's in it (http://www.google.com/search?q=%22We+have+to+pass+the+bill+in+order+to+k now+what%27s+in+it)" </derail>)

I looked at the then-current PayPal agreement maybe seven years ago, loaded it into a word processing program and did a word count. It was 90,000 words. Do people really have to read 90,000 words of legalese (NOT entertaining, quickly read, or easily understood reading as a novel is intended to be) to use such as service? The "I Agree" checkbox usually has the wording "I have read and agree to the TOS." I wonder if that part is enforceable in court.

Margarita Skies
07-03-2011, 10:23 PM
I looked at the then-current PayPal agreement maybe seven years ago, loaded it into a word processing program and did a word count. It was 90,000 words. Do people really have to read 90,000 words of legalese (NOT entertaining, quickly read, or easily understood reading as a novel is intended to be) to use such as service? The "I Agree" checkbox usually has the wording "I have read and agree to the TOS." I wonder if that part is enforceable in court.



My goodness, you have got to be kidding!! 90,000 words of a TOS? A novel-length TOS? I mean I am not doubting your word, it just seems unheard of to me. It doesn't make sense. I would rather read a novel than a stupid TOS. Well guys, I guess we're going to have to buy a flashdrive and external hard drives for our files because from what I see, we can't trust online-storage services. And I know it's stupid to think those people are going to steal our drafts and manuscripts, but I am just not comfortable with the things they're saying in their TOS's, that our stuff is theirs to do whatever they please with. I don't think so. My stuff is my stuff. I am going to look into obtaining my 2GB flashdrive this month. External hard drive may have to wait a couple more months, since it's more expensive but the flashdrive I am most definitely getting.

Once again thanks for your warnings and opinions. No more online-storage services for me!!

Medievalist
07-03-2011, 10:37 PM
And I know it's stupid to think those people are going to steal our drafts and manuscripts, but I am just not comfortable with the things they're saying in their TOS's, that our stuff is theirs to do whatever they please with.

That's not what it actually says, but hey, whatever.

Make sure you have multiple backups; do incremental as well as monthly/weekly/daily.

Rotate your USB drive/hard media backups.

Margarita Skies
07-03-2011, 11:05 PM
Oh, then how would you guys interpret the following statement:


By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.

I seem to have misinterpreted it and now I am confused.

Medievalist
07-03-2011, 11:52 PM
I seem to have misinterpreted it and now I am confused.

Go back and look at how they define Services.

That said, again, I'm going to point to PGP. It's always smart; anyone online is vulnerable to attack or catastrophe.

Jstwatchin
07-04-2011, 12:33 AM
Given the implications of what is discussed above, does anyone here know if there is like or similar wording to be found in the TOS's for hotmail, gmail, yahoo mail... ?

jimbro
07-04-2011, 12:47 AM
They aren't trying to rip anyone off, but by agreeing to this, they now have the legal right to rip off everyone who uses their service. This means you're fine, as long as only good, considerate, honest people are in charge. You're screwed if anyone bad, inconsiderate, and dishonest gets in charge.

More importantly, they've been less than completely forthright or consistent about... about anything, really. They have changed their terms of service frequently, without what I consider clear notice. Also, they once claimed to encrypt your files such that they themselves cannot read them. They have since admitted that is not true.

We don't know what the truth is, and for me, that is a problem.

Susan Littlefield
07-04-2011, 06:55 AM
I downloaded Dropbox but never really used it. I uninstalled it last week. My external hard drive is much better for me.

PEBKAC
07-04-2011, 08:46 AM
If you think about what is involved in some of these services, the companies are asking for the rights they need to provide you with the service. They make backups (rights to copy), they may work with partners that provide portions of the service (may need to grant some rights to others), the files may be encrypted, saved in a different file format or compressed (that could fall under adapting/modifying/translating), etc. I understand the concern when you look at that terminology, but when you think about what they're actually doing with your data in order to provide the service, it seems more like CYA on their part.

Wordwrestler
07-04-2011, 10:21 AM
Am I the only one who's never heard of Drop Box?

I do have Carbonite online back-up, because I'm paranoid that my house will burn down, and my USB and hard copy back-ups will be destroyed.

Maybe I should buy a fire-proof safe instead . . .

Medievalist
07-04-2011, 10:33 AM
Multiple off-site backups are Very Smart.

All magnetic and optical media will fail.

All of them. It's the nature of life in the digital realm.

Email yourself a copy regularly, and also, spontaneously to a free Web email account.

Occasionally give a trusted friend or relative who lives Far Away a copy via a CD-ROM.

You can always encrypt it.

Hardcopy is A Good Idea as well. Date it.

Nick Blaze
07-04-2011, 10:52 AM
I've never heard of this... and am glad I don't make the mistake to sign up under these circumstances.

Bartholomew
07-04-2011, 01:11 PM
Dropbox is not, has not, and will not steal from you or infringe on your intellectual property. Can this ridiculousness please die?

AmsterdamAssassin
07-04-2011, 04:08 PM
As I reported, June 3rd, in this post (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6210100&postcount=75), Dropbox is far from secure.

I'll just stick with my hard drives and flash drives, thank you very much.

Christine N.
07-04-2011, 04:15 PM
And again, unless you're keeping bank statements or credit card numbers or naughty pictures on it, is this a huge deal? I have nothing on there I wouldn't want others to read. Several manuscripts, versions of manuscripts, grad school work, work work, pictures I use often- like book covers - and some guest blog posts and interviews I've done that I needed to work on over days and on multiple computers.

Nothing anyone would want or could use. The service is useful and convenient, but I don't treat it like a safe. Someone would have to do some pretty deep digging to find something worthwhile to steal. And because of it I have copies of certain work on two (three when I get back to work in the fall) computers. The server is just an additional copy and the conduit through which I save on multiple computers. I have jump drives and a portable HD too, but I use DB mostly so that I don't have to continually move things around and wonder which drive I put what on. It's just that - a helpful service.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Torgo
07-04-2011, 04:42 PM
I do not for a minute believe that this is anything to worry about. Dropbox is never going to assert ownership over your data. I think this is just about making sure they are covered for things like backups of your data and format conversion (e.g. using the Dropbox iPad app to read various different file types.)

Bufty
07-04-2011, 05:34 PM
Wacky - just plain wacky.

Ever read the small print on the back of a bank statement or a credit card agreement or in the terms of an insurance policy......

Medievalist
07-04-2011, 08:36 PM
I do not for a minute believe that this is anything to worry about. Dropbox is never going to assert ownership over your data. I think this is just about making sure they are covered for things like backups of your data and format conversion (e.g. using the Dropbox iPad app to read various different file types.)

It really is a CYA statement.

The notion of a TOS being largely a CYA statement is so ubiquitous in the software industry that we call 'em CYAs, instead of EULAs and TOS.

BenPanced
07-04-2011, 09:00 PM
awl ur filez r belong 2 us?

juniper
07-04-2011, 09:11 PM
So, a search for PGP led to this page here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pretty_Good_Privacy

And about 5 seconds later, my eyes started to glaze over, my head lolled to the side, and I nearly knocked my coffee cup off the desk when my hands started flailing around.

Simple explanation on PGP, anyone? Not so much how it works, but how to get it and use it.

I use DropBox on a casual basis, mostly when I travel, and am not paranoid about it. But I am paranoid about a lot of other stuff.

cbenoi1
07-04-2011, 09:40 PM
> Oh, then how would you guys interpret
> the following statement:

Never interpret text snippets taken out of clause. Please read the full clause. Better, talk to a lawyer. That same lawyer you consulted for your argenting / publishing contract would do fine.

> The "I Agree" checkbox usually has the wording
> "I have read and agree to the TOS." I wonder if
> that part is enforceable in court.

They are in US and Canada (to the extent I'm aware of) as long as you can prove clicking this button is the only method to through which you can have a working Software on a customer machine. Most software packages license are activated this way nowadays. Just click "No" if you don't like what you read. Or revert to pen and paper.

-cb

Darkshore
07-05-2011, 12:05 AM
Freaked out there for a second but it seems that it's been all cleared up. I still have a free Dropbox account, but I've been thinking about upgrading since I plan to be writing a lot on my Ipad during my down-time at college and syncing it to my home computer.

Bartholomew
07-05-2011, 12:42 AM
As I reported, June 3rd, in this post (http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6210100&postcount=75), Dropbox is far from secure.

I'll just stick with my hard drives and flash drives, thank you very much.

Which has nothing to do with the clause this thread is about.

JSSchley
07-05-2011, 02:14 AM
Not concerned.

And frankly, I wasn't concerned before I saw someone like Medi, who knows WAY more about this s&%# than I ever possibly could, also saying "not concerned."

Really, if Dropbox wants to use my term papers for advertisements...I send them my apologies in advance.