In the meantime, it's perfectly possible to write less inflammatory agreements. Compare Google's language with the terms for Microsoft, which offers a very similar SkyDrive service: “Your content remains your content, and you are responsible for it. We do not control, verify, pay for, or endorse the content that you and others make available on the services.” Boom. Done.
Surely these companies realize that normal people aren't lawyers. Why can't they say what they mean? Then again, we should be careful what we wish for. If these companies really said what they meant, they'd say, “We're here to exploit your creativity. If you don't like it, leave.”
SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN ONLINE
Why your stuff on Facebook stays yours: ScientificAmerican.com/mar2013/pogue
This article was originally published with the title Term of Confusion.