[iDC] Terms of Agreement: The Internet as Playground and Factory

Cynthia Beth Rubin cbrubin at risd.edu
Mon Jun 15 23:56:53 UTC 2009

I want to return to the issue of ownership of posts on web sites.

Would it be possible to use this discussion to define reasonable terms  
of agreement for users on all social networking sites?

I do believe that this is possible, because of a real-life experience  
with changing Terms of Agreement.  The alumni association of Antioch  
College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, signed an agreement with iModules to  
provide a kind of "Facebook" experience for those of us who are  
alums.  When some of read the "Terms of Agreement", it turned out that  
we agreeing to give everything away. Some of us freaked and asked for  
new terms (we worked together to write them).  It worked.  Quite  
honestly, I suspect that the ridiculous terms were written by  
attorneys with little understanding of social networking sites.  No  
one at iModules thought that we were wrong to ask for new terms.

Below are some phrases from the current Terms of Agreement on the  
Antiochians.org site (our alumni site -- and yes -- we are still in  

7. Content submitted to this site
We do not assert any ownership over user content; rather, as between  
us and you, subject to the rights granted to us in these Terms and  
Conditions, you retain full ownership of all of your content and any  
intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights associated  
with your content.  . . .

xxxxxxxxxx(lots of stand stuff) - xxxxxxxxxxx

If you wish to grant other users or the general public additional  
licenses to your content, you may include such terms with your content  
such as:
Usage granted under Creative Commons License

Cynthia Beth Rubin

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