UPDATE: Apple Changes iTools Terms of Service

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Date: Monday, February 1st, 1999, 00:00
Category: Archive

Late last week, we reported on Apple’s egregious terms of service associated with the use of its iTools product. Since then, Apple has changed the agreement to much more reasonable terms. The new terms read:

    “You hereby grant Apple a worldwide, royalty-free, non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish any such public area content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting the area on which such content is posted. Said license will be in effect only as long as you are an iTools member, and will terminate upon removal of such content from the public area or when you are no longer an iTools member, whichever happens first.”

The older paragraph had read:

    “You hereby grant Apple a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise all rights, under copyright, publicity and related laws, in any media now known or not currently known, with respect to any content you post in any public site within iTools.”

The new paragraph changes the scope of the license you are granting to Apple. The revised license grants Apple only certain rights–the right to reproduce, modify, adapt, or publish the material you post on iTools. Apple also states that this right can now only be used solely for the purposes of displaying, distributing, or promoting your site as a whole. The old license had granted Apple the unlimited rights to anything in your site?either in your site as a whole or in any particular content?and for any purpose.

Furthermore, the new license you grant to Apple is no longer “perpetual.” Apple’s new terms of service makes it clear that the license remains in effect only so long as you are a member of iTools. Because the license is no longer perpetual, you may revoke the license at any time, though the limited license serves a critical purpose as the means by which Apple can actually deliver your content. Since the license you grant to Apple is now drastically limited, revocation of that license should be much less of an issue.

It seems as if Apple was quick to respond to consumer complaints on its iTools Terms of Service. Its new terms, with respect to this issue, are hardly objectionable. The remaining question, however, is just how enforceable these “click wrap” agreements are when disputes do arise. Already, companies are finding that they must write their agreements in plain english or their rights under sweeping “adhesion” contracts such as these can be limited. Clearly, however, some of Apple’s customers are taking the time to read the agreements, despite the time and effort it takes to scroll through many pages of legalese.

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