The next site I looked into was LinkedIn. I was surpised that it’s legal to do extensive updates to your terms of service but not have to rewrite the terms of service. They have a page of updates referencing line items in the original document so not only do you have to read a complex original document but you have to refer to the new changes on a separate page. What I determined is that you essentially own your content but they have full rights forever by licence. You can request material is deleted but have no control if someone else has used it. It has pretty much the same legal access as Wikispaces and it is also an American site but there is also part ownership in Ireland. This is a site that I would encourage my students to use because of the network of people involved in related communities of practice that they could connect with.
I moved on to FaceBook where I was surprised and maybe a little disappointed with the complexity and detail of their terms of service and privacy information. This definitely is not a site that you should request that students be members of for a course. There are a number of privacy controls but the users information is accessible through their friends and there are quite a number of third party applications that can access your information. Like the other sites Facebook has a full licence to use your content however they like, royalty free of course. I found the terms for this site the most confusing because of the amount of information. I was wishing for the simplicity of the Wikispaces terms.
All in all this was an informative but tedious exercise that I have been putting off for a long time but glad I’ve made my way through it!
As part of some background research for E512 I went to sign up for an account with a social learning website “Babel” and read the terms of service more thoroughly than anything I’ve signed up for to date. I was quite uncomfortable about a couple of statements. The first was that they seem to shift more responsibility to the user for security and access. Specifically they state that the user is responsible for blocking third party applications from accessing their registration information and that the user is responsible to make sure that none of their content has any virus, worms, trojans or the like. They also make it clear that they have full rights to repackage and redistribute any content the user uploads. This is a paid service site so I found this quite concerning because it gives the impression that the corporation can ‘steal’ from the users to repackage and format their ideas for sale to other members. I’m not sure this would happen but they’ve written it into their terms of service and I’m sure it’s not by accident. This is the first German terms of service I looked at so I wonder if this has anything to do with some of the differences.