Twitpic Apologises for the wrong thing
Controversy continues in the Twitpic Terms of Service rumblings with the company responding to complaints about content ownership; though it seems they didn’t quite understand what they were responding to, or they chose not to.
The original complaint that has been buzzing around Twitter over the past couple of days, relates to a change of their Terms of Service that was unannounced and undiscussed by the company in any official, or unofficial capacity. The instance was reported on in several places, with the quote that most angered people being:
by submitting Content to Twitpic, you hereby grant Twitpic a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the Content in connection with the Service and Twitpic’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business…
The reason this got so many people riled up, is because this clause effectively gives Twitpic the right to sell and utilise your images in almost any format, without even the need to inform you or get your consent. Naturally many people began jumping ship, some being quite vocal about their reasons, so it was inevitable that Twitpic issued an official response.
To clarify our ToS regarding ownership, you the user retain all copyrights to your photos and videos, it’s your content. Our terms state by uploading content to Twitpic you allow us to distribute that content on twitpic.com and our affiliated partners. This is standard among most user-generated content sites (including Twitter). If you delete a photo or video from Twitpic, that content is no longer viewable.
However, while this appears quite cut and dry, some are saying that this apology doesn’t cover the points of concern they raised and in-fact addresses a similar clause Twitpic also added to the TOS on May 4th. They read:
You may not grant permission to photographic agencies, photographic libraries, media organizations, news organizations, entertainment organizations, media libraries, or media agencies to retrieve from Twitpic for distribution, license, or any other use, content you have uploaded to Twitpic.
It also doesn’t help that the original TOS that angered people so can still be found in Twitpic’s Terms page.
Ultimately, while it seems that Noah Everett and friends may be running damage control right now, they havn’t taken the big step necessary to really show their users that they’re apologetic for the move. If the offending terms had been immediately removed and some half assed mistake had been blamed, then perhaps they could have saved face enough to maintain their user base. As it stands, it seems that Posterous and others will be gaining a fair few new account holders in the coming weeks.