Advice: Run shrieking from Dropbox and move your stuff elsewhere

Dropbox has claimed ownership of all it stores according to my reading of their new Terms and Conditions.

Dropbox has been doing a great job of providing as file sharing and online storage service. I have not needed to use them as I have had my own server for a few years now, with its latest incarnation being a PogoPlug.

Now Dropbox are coming under fire for quietly changing their Terms and Conditions to transfer everything it has stored on its servers into its own ownership. Isn’t this the mistake Facebook made a while back?

The legal ‘I agree to’ that every user is require to tick sign before being allowed to join transfers any rights you held in your documents, photos, musical compositions, even that novel you have slaved over, to Dropbox.

Perhaps they are relying on the habit of many who agree to terms and conditions without reading them or not worrying if they are not understandable. The scary bit of the legally binding agreement is as follows:

“By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent we think it necessary for the Service. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission.”

That means you may still own your own stuff but once it is on their servers they do too and can distribute it worldwide. Forever!

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