Just caught this story over at Slashdot – AOL have modded the TOS for AIM, and if it goes over their network, it’s theirs. So if tonight I’m chatting to OFJ again, and we discuss an innovative use for blogging and politics, AIM claims ownership. If someone mentions that they have a great design for a petrol-free engine and they transfer a jpg, AIM own it. Just what in this increasingly stupid world IS OURS ANY MORE ?
We don’t own music, we are permitted to play it. We do not own programs, merely the CD’s on which they arrive on, Bill Gates can walk into your house and stop you using your Windows machine if he wants, EULA’s get longer and longer. As someone in the /. thread points out, this is equivalent to the telephone company saying that what you say over their line becomes theirs. WTF ? hang on …… so if tonight I transfer a jpg of a bomb to someone, and then next week use that same bomb to blow up parliament (or Congress), then are AOL responsible ? Are they hell. So it’s a case of wanting to keep what they want, but screw you if they do not want their hands dirtied ? There is of course a very very simple answer to al this – stop using AIM. Okay, so it’s not like I am going to be trading corporate secrets, but that just is not the point – yet another company in this increasingly wierd world is saying that what is yours is NOT yours. (Imagine a banner above a Starbucks: “All emails, IM’s and documents written, sent or even contemplated while you are on our premises are ours too”). Where does this stupidity end ? When does someone call these people for what is effectively corporate theft and abuse of position ? And the stupidest / scariest part of all this is that no-one will say they took this position. The Corporation did, the company did, but an individual did not.
AIM will be removed from Miranda here later.