Google Can Publish Your Content Freely

On Spring vacation in Hawaii, one's idle thoughts trip naturally to a close perusal of Google's Gmail license agreement.

The agreement grants generous republication rights to Google:

  • Section 11.1 states: By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence 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.
  • Section 11.2 states: You agree that this licence includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.

In other words, if you send a draft of an article or book you're writing, or a draft of a piece of music you've just composed, chances are that Google can republish these with impunity.

We don't doubt that Google is acting in good faith. Presumably, it's trying to protect itself from unreasonable litigation. All the same, the text reads very strangely.

Many thanks to our favorite psychoanalyst friend Steve Rush for pointing this out.

... David Ferris

One Comment

  1. Posted June 6, 2008 at 7:28 AM | Permalink

    Yet another reason not to trust web-based email with the exchange of sensitive information.

  2. Posted September 2, 2008 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t know about this until a recent post regarding the new Chrome beta mentioned this wording in the license. It scares me a bit. Even though I have no content of value, I don’t like someone else co-owning it just because I used their consumer email service or free web browser.

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