Writing About Ubuntu? Own Your Own Content

A friend of mine sent me a link from her "+" account last night, publicizing a fundraising effort...

Admittedly, I've never been impressed with "+", so I rarely (if ever) look at it. Because she was a friend, and I like to help friends, I decided to go in and see what the link was about. I ended up staying longer than I originally planned and took a look around.

What did I see? I saw a lot of people who used to make Planet Ubuntu a lively, exciting, and vibrant place writing prolifically on "+" instead. Sadly and disappointingly, they rarely post on Planet these days.

Are you one of these people?

Friends, do consider the effect of the following:

When you upload, submit, store, send or receive content to or through our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services ...
(Source: http://www.google.com/intl/en/policies/terms/)

Something smells wrong with this.

Friends, it's really not that difficult to host a blog and to use a more respectful service. I hope you'll consider that one small step in the sprit of not becoming the product, or even better, in the spirit of making Planet Ubuntu *the* place for Ubuntu happenings.

image by Terry O'Fee


We all know certain big companies are either bad now, or have the potential of quickly becoming bad because they 'own us and our content'. Like privacy issues, why bother making it so easy for them? Trying to deny that they will one day make you regret handing it over so easily is folly. Just make it a policy in your mind to maintain as much control over your own content as you can, or, if it's something you want to just 'throw out there to the world' do it with a free software, decentralized servers, and free license environment so it will always remain free for the world. It just seems very dangerous to me if the brains of the world are handing over their thoughts and lives to these big and clearly 'not angelic' forces.


Thanks Wayne. Please tell 3 friends :)


You do want your content modified if you use the "AutoAwesome" feature that automatically color balances and adjusts photos, creates trip slideshows, and other mildly interesting features that are opt-in. And, of course, Google+ has a "translate" button that will run comments through Google Translate when you click it.

So the license clarifies that they have the right to offer these features for their users. They are optional, but only possible if the license granted allows them to do so in the first place.


No thanks. I want my content as it was posted and modified by those who request explicit permission only.


The state of copyright law is such that those are the rights required for a web service to publish original user-generated content. That's why the policy states that the rights are "for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving [their] Services".

Note that copyright and ownership aren't mentioned because those remain with the content creator. The only thing in consideration is reproduction rights. Which is fair enough if you want them to reproduce your content.


I still smell a rat. Specifically with the following bolded words:

"...modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services..."

This sounds a lot like the following:
"If your content allows us to sell more advertising then we will use it, even with modifications if necessary."

Fair trade? Do you want your content modified, i.e. remixed?


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