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The Great Chrome EULA Conspiracy

Great product - shame about the paperwork

Almost immediately after the launch of Google Chrome a storm started brewing about a part of the user agreement that claimed rights over "any Content which you submit, post or display on or through" the browser. Specifically, the End User Licence Agreement (EULA) claimed "a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."

To say this was broadly worded would be an understatement and indeed, on Wednesday, Google altered the text, leaving those rights in the hands of Chrome's users.

Incredibly after such a high profile product launch the problem had arisen because Google apparently reuses the broadest form of its EULA for the majority of its products, quoting senior product counsel for Google Chrome, Rebecca Ward, "in order to keep things simple for our users".

For 'simple' read 'catchall' which, for the company who's motto is "Do No Evil", is hardly a good place to start. It's the kind of thing that Microsoft has been roasted for in the past and it does Google no credit to repeat the same kind of thing. Unfortunately Google has got form on this as they pulled the same stunt originally with Google Docs, which is particularly unfortunate when you stop to consider just what Docs is supposed to be used for.

Anyway, the offending section in the agreement has now been amended to state that users "retain copyright and any other rights" that they already hold on the content they submit or display using the browser.

So, hopefully that's the end of this particular conspiracy theory but may I suggest that in future they give their 'legal counsel' rather than their 'product counsel' a chance to look at their user agreements first otherwise Google are going to start diverting some of that Bill Gates/Microsoft vitriol onto themselves.


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