Questionable TOS

In February 2007, Eric Auchard who coordinates Reuters’ technology news coverage, worldwide reported that Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen was to tackle social networking with his latest start-up company Ning. Ning provides free tools that allow users to build their own social networking sites. Some 75000 social nets have been created on Nig.

What Eric Auchard did not comment on was the fine print of the terms that pretty much gives control over the content we submit.

Presently, the Ning Terms Of Service state “By uploading Content to a Network in which the Content is designated as Public Content, you grant to Ning and all other Users a nonexclusive license to reproduce, create derivative works of, distribute, publicly perform, and publicly display such Content on the condition that the Content is attributed in a manner specified by its author, if at all (a “Public Content License”).”

This license gives Ning and Ning users the rights over any content we submit. Content being user profiles, comments, recommendations, forums, photos, videos, sounds, images, text, files, listings, postings, messages, or other materials posted on or transmitted through the Ning Platform.

I have a problem with terms that state that anyone can create derivative works from my content.

Once we post any content to any Ning network , Ning or users can do what they want with it, throughout the world, without paying us.

I noticed that many writers/authors also use the service and I bet they are not even aware of these unfair terms.

If an author were to submit a piece of writing to the network, anyone could create a derivative work from that story without compensation to the original author.

If you recall Myspace change their terms and conditions after songwriter Billy Bragg withdrew his songs from the website in protest.

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