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Google Owns Your UseNet Post 174

Posted by timothy
from the boiling-boilerplate dept.
michaelmalak writes: "Google Groups, the deja.com replacement, now supports posting of articles. But be careful, because in posting you grant Google a "royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive license." I noticed that UseNet volumes went down significantly when Remarq and then Deja went down. Then volumes went down again in the traditional slowing accompanied by college summer recess. If volume is to pick up, it will likely come from those using Google's posting service, rather than an unreliable or unavailable (esp. in the case of AOL) ISP news server. So it would seem UseNet is not going to die, it just got bought out like everything else these days."

The paragraph reads in full:

"By posting communications on or through the Service, you automatically grant Google a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, edit, translate, distribute, perform, and display the communication alone or as part of other works in any form, media, or technology whether now known or hereafter developed, and to sublicense such rights through multiple tiers of sublicensees."

Individuals also have the right to nuke their own posts, though, and to specify 'X-No-archive: yes.'

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Google Owns UseNet

Comments Filter:
  • CHRIST, man it's "non", not "none". You got it wrong every fucking time.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    http://www.salon.com/tech/log/1999/06/07/linux/

    no joke!
  • by Anonymous Coward
    A little Ot but I am hoping that maybe some google people may see this post; they sure as hell don't reply to email. I still extensively use my my-deja. email account. Besides offering existing my-deja account holders to close their accounts googles has said nothing about what will eventually happen to them. I know that there are a great many people still using these accounts and would like to hear some sort of answer on this.
  • This is great news, though! Maybe that'll keep the Internet from imploding upon itself from increased demand!

    --
    Forget Napster. Why not really break the law?

  • From the clause, I can see no change of copyright or any other IP, but Google is granted non-exclusive rights to the post. (Non-exclusive meaning the copyright holder can still do whatever he likes with it, even sell it on).

    Not quite. ANYONE can do anything with the post. Not just the "copyright holder". Why is that in quotes? Because there is no copyright on USENET posts!

    It's the nature of the beast. When you voluntarily post to a PUBLIC forum, you are then and there decreeing your words to be in the public domain, yes? Thus, copyright no longer applies. And neither does "default" copyright apply because you physically placed your words into a PUBLIC forum. You knew what you were doing. You clearly chose to relinquish eternally all copyright to your article.

    Wanna stay copyrighted and propietary? Post your words on your own web page and put a link in the newsgroup. Note that the link will be public domain, so don't whine about "deep linking" violations. Of course few to none may read your words then. Want a wide audience? Pay the price. Give up the (C). And welcome to real life.

  • Once again /. posts an article that is both inflammatory & innacurate.

    Why can't the readers rate the lead article postings the same as the follow-ups?

    In the meantime, is /. going through some sort of cash-crunch, gotta up those pageviews? It's almost as bad as when PC Mag's Fred Langa bashes Linux just to get some action going.

  • Really they should post "We don't understand legal terms, but it may be bad. ATTACK!!!", This is so f^#!ing par for the course here, the worst part though is that many of the readers are too lazy/stupid/ovine to actually get the facts straight, unless of course it is an already blessed company (google).
  • Google is essentially a web-based frontend for the newsgroups, which doesn't even explain to users what USENET is, how or why it's different from the Internet, or that USENET isn't just a bunch of chat room type thingies hosted at Google.

    Take a look at http://groups.google.com/googlegroups/basics.html [google.com].
  • Actually, why not just put a small Free Content license at the bottom of your post giving *everyone* the right to distribute and modify?
  • http://www.xtdnet.nl/paul/deja/

    I've already gone through this with Deja. Guess
    I will start again with Google.
  • Usenet is not fading away, you're just reading the wrong groups. The NGs that I read the most still have a fairly high signal/noise ratio without being moderated. As to which groups I read, I'll just say that I'm a model railroader, and I read and contribute in groups about trains, railroads and models.
  • Then scroll to the bottom of the page.
  • I admit the situation looks bleak. Most ISPs aren't in exactly the best financial state and text-only Usenet appeals to such a small number of users that it's almost inevitable it will go away unless folks call and complain when it does. (My news server went down for a week, which at least was an opportunity to go on record with my ISP).

    Furthermore, there's thousands of groups which get 0 traffic (.bork.bork groups which got a 5 second laugh from someone in 1993 and the like are still there!) and there's apparently no cabal going around and voting those groups out of existance. From the harried ISP SA point-of-view, the entire thing must seem decrepit and unmanaged.

    Maybe the easy solution for the binaries problem is to just press the Off button on the news server, but hopefully they'll have more insight than that. Binary distribution via news can work, but only if it's limited to a very small number of servers with large interconnects. Unfortunately, huge ISPs such as @home don't want to make a special case of binary news, probably because it would draw attention to the fact that almost everything there is illegal.
    --
  • So, how many universities out there ever thought to backup their news servers?

    Wouldn't it really frost Google if a distributed usenet archive were to rise from the ashes?

    I have some massive Hardware and Diskspace just sitting around gathering dust now that the internet bubble has burst. Anyone care to make some archived posting donations?
  • If you don't want Google to be the only one doing this, why don't you create your own archive? They're the ones spending the bucks for it, and obviously other companies didn't find it financially worth the effort. Just be happy that there's a company doing this instead of raising all these paranoid issues about them. They're not some fucking charity for you to leech off of, and if there's no way for them to make money off of it, they might as well shut the whole damn thing down. And the minute they did, I bet you would be here bitching about the lack of any good usenet archives. I'm really not trying to offend you, but this whole story is one of the more ridiculous ones that Slashdot has posted lately, and that's freakin' saying something.


    Cheers,

  • Why don't you just use the X-No-Arvhive header instead of messing around with all that bullshit you just wrote?


    Cheers,

  • I think Google uses about 3600 servers, maybe 4000. Good luck.


    Cheers,

  • Yep, I think you're right. Thinking about it some more, I believe they recently bought 3600 systems, which was supposedly a doubling of how many they already had. Thanks.


    Cheers,

  • Don't be so sure that it's not a valid contract.
    Contracts are made in many ways, sometimes by custom. Custom, by the way, would be something like unjust enrichment: You watch a housepainter paint your house by mistake, never saying a word for the three days that he comes and works. When he presents the bill, you tell him about his mistake and refuse to pay. He could take you to court and win.

    First, though, your stuff doesn't become public domain unless you explicitly make it so. Google only claims a non-exclusive license, which is a sort of IP "default" in the absence of explicit agreements.

    All of the necessary elements for a contract arguably are there. There certainly are multiple parties. In the case of posting through Google, it's Google. Consideration comes in the form of being allowed to post to the newsgroup and having your posting accepted -- even if its fully automatic. Somebody is running those servers.
    By posting something, you agree by implication, to make your posting available to anyone who reads the newsgroup postings.
    That's pretty close to the definition of a non-exclusive license to distribute your posting.

    I suppose you could even try the house-painter's argument: It would be unjust if you could take advantage of all those services for free, without granting that minimal level of rights (in the form of the non-exclusive license) needed to make the service reasonable.
  • Google does, however, choose to provide a service whereby people who affirm that they were the author of a post may have that post 'nuked'. See Google's Usenet help [google.com], item 13.
  • No... but Google is good cause it uses linux while microsoft is evil..
  • UseNet has grown to the point that smaller ISPs seem to offer quite sucky newsfeeds on account of the volume. A couple of years back, a group of us had problems with articles expirng before they made it off the ISPs news spool. The only way to reliably propagate articles was to go via Deja. This suited the ISPs because it was a lot less hassle to them than chewing more disk/bandwidth.

    Now we already have the situation where UseNet is Deja (Google) for most people. Where does Google get its news from now? How about a year from now when (hypothetically) they have the lions share of traffic? Will they resist the urge to set up policies that cement their position?

    For example, giving preference to articles originating from Google or affiliated ISPs (negating the need for ISPs to maintain their own spools)?

    I am concerned that we'll see a UseNet where posting outside Google affiliated channels is as good as posting to /dev/null, and a public infrastructure becomes a private asset. Taking the cost of maintaining news spool from ISPs is a great way of achieving just that. Imagine if M$ then bought UseNet from Google and "enhanced" it.

    NOTE: I am *NOT* saying that this is happening now, but I cannot see why it couldn't happen.

    On a side note, can I set up a web-proxy that honours "no proxy" and claim that any Google traffic passing through it is using my faciltiies to improve their customer's enjoyment of the service, and therefore I get a non exclusive licence to Google/usenet too?

    Xix.
  • Usenet is exteremly popular, if a profit can be made from it, then Google has the right to make one. They can charge you a fee if they want, you don't have to go there. An example, if you decided to post an entire prog that you yourself created, Google owns it. What you say on Google, they own it.

    So if you post the DeCSS code via Google, whom do the laywers target? If not Google, what if we _all_ posted it using Google?
    --

  • If you have something that you want to post but maintain the copyright to, I sugest you post your article (and copyright notice) on the web and then make a usenet post with a URL.
  • > GOOGLE GROUPS is an anagram of LOG RUSE: GO GOP!

    Of course it's a plot to make all our pr0n belong to the $epublicans! Why else would English professors be obsessing about phallic symbols and bathroom tile? :)

  • Ontopic site worth a look.

    10 Big Myths about copyright explained [templetons.com]

  • google is not asking for a transfer of copyright or anything of the sort -- they are simply asking for a license to publish your post.

    it seems to me that google is doing the minimum possible to make sure that they have the right to publish your post. what's wrong with that?

    nobody

  • Oh my God! You're kidding! [tuxedo.org]
  • Uh, huh. Usenet is an open protocol. There is nothing to stop anyone at any time from hooking into it however they want. Have we all forgotten how to set up our own news servers? Is everyone clueless enough to think they have to depend on an ISP or a particular "portal" to do something so very basic?

    If we become people who are that clueless then we will deserve to have Usenet be "controlled" by some one company.

  • Ah ok, I had missed that part.

    Still, this is not nearly as problematic as them actually *owning* your posts would've been. If Google had claimed ownership, that brings up a host of bad situations, such as you having to obtain Google's permission if you wanted to release a book containing your posts (which would now be posts owned by Google).
  • When you voluntarily post to a PUBLIC forum, you are then and there decreeing your words to be in the public domain, yes?


    I suspect the radio and television networks would disagree with you here...


    Only the private broadcasters. Giving up copyright has nothing to do with the medium being a boradcast one. I never said that. It all comes down to the charter of the forum you are posting in.


    The newsgroups were CREATED AS PUBLIC FORUMS. Accepting this is a precondition of participating.


    Fox was created as a PRIVATE BROADCASTER.


    When the newspaper editorial section states that "all your submission are belong to us" and you write something to them, you have no copyright protection because you knew you were waiving them before you sent them in. Ditto your words on RADIO AND TV call-in programs.


    Ditto USENET.


    It's the same thing.

  • The only issue I see is that Google can modify your posts, which most free sites do anyway (adding advertizing blurbs, etc).

    If Google wasn't allowed to publish (etc) your posts, they couldn't propagate your posts. In fact, Google does most of those things to posts made through other news servers, too, since they reformat them in HTML and serve them to Google users.
  • "We have seen the effects of this already. Frequent posters who relied on deja.com were suddenly silenced."

    And thank god for that! The signal-to-noise ratio on usenet *immediately* skyrocketed.

    There would be nothing better than to get rid of web interfaces to Usenet. It allows dumb people to get access. There was a time, oh so very long ago, when Usenet was a high-quality information exchange media: there were interesting, informative discussions where most everyone knew what s/he was talking about. These days, it's about as intelligent as a Lowtax ICQ prank...

    --
  • I think that because I perceive someone as being dumb, it's a *PERFECT* reason to kick them off the Net, the Web, *AND* Usenet.

    Yes, that's elitist. Tough.


    --
  • That was a really good list; I was on it, and as I remember he worked really hard on it and deserved the rights he's upset about not having.

    Read his message more carefully, and you'll understand exactly why he should have added similar terms of service.

    Today's world may be way too obsessive about terms of service and the like, and there are about a billion clauses that are most likely too extreme to pass through a court. Sadly, that doesn't mean at least basic terms are not necessary. There are, after all, about a billion lawyers out there, and settling a dispute is extraordinarily expensive.

    D

    ----
  • But Stephen King would not post his latest bestseller on USENET, and neither would you. Anything you're willing to share using USENET is a free contribution you are not expecting to be paid for.

    If that's not so, then the whole world tilts on its axis and USENET archives cannot exist anymore. Surely this is a bad thing?

    D

    ----
  • Back in the early-90s, "in the know" people would tell their AOL using friends "The Internet is sooo cool! Check out Usenet - there's everything!". Usenet was the premier Internet application (next to e-mail), and therefore every luser ended up there.

    Now, nobody's on Usenet execept the people who know about Usenet. Not even the spammers are on usenet anymore (well, maybe in the porn groups still). J.Random AOL doesn't even know what Google is, much less groups.google.com.

    I dunno. Maybe you are just reading different groups than me. Usenet seems in the best shape in ages - the endless september seems to have ended.
    --
  • It's usenet! Any concept of 'intellectual property' is fairly flimsy.. if you post something to a global, uncontrolled, multi-jurisdiction, uncentralized anarchaic discussion forum like usenet, how can you possibly be so silly as to think you can demand what people do and don't do with you work? Sheesh. Gimme a break.

    Next thing you know, people will want money for my repeating the jokes they tell at parties...
  • It seems to me that Slashdot has been consistently posting stories that misrepresent the facts in the case in order to attract postings to it's site.

    This story - Google now owns your post - in actuality no such thing - Google actually is only taking a license to use your post, and the recent story on the TIVO patents both grossly distort the true situation.

    The major misrepresentations seems to consistently involve intellectual property issues, which we know that editors have a strong bias against.

    It is time for the Slashdot editorial staff to wake up and present their readership with a more factual repesentation of these issues. They are not serving their readership or their cause with these stories.

  • They just have a licence to use it. Big deal!
  • This is really simple, and it doesn't stem from the place you think it does.

    Whenever someone asks Google to see a message, Google must redistribute the message . In order to do this legally, they must have license to redistribute it, copy it, etc. The easiest way to do this is to put it in their TOS that this license is implicitly granted. It absolutely boggles me how people expect others to honour their copyright on original works one day, then turn around and demand that they break copyright later.

  • "royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive license."

    It was not so long ago that we were ridiculing authors of postings for asserting their copyright in public postings; and ridiculing participants in disputes for suing one another for defamation. First amendment uber alles, we said.

    All Google seems to be demanding here is the utterly reasonable proposition that, if you use their systems, you can't sue them for using the fruits of that use. True, you can't post there and then keep them from incorporating your posts in a book. Your solution? Don't post there.

    Why is that unreasonable?

    Seriously, it seems like we are taking highly inconsistent positions these days, depending more upon whose ok is gored than upon the merits or principles at hand.
  • Bull.

    I regularly read comp.graphics.rendering.renderman, and while there are people posting "I am wondering how I can make toy story graphics with renderman?", there are still interesting discussion about antialiasing, algorithmic considerations and various RIB exporters.

    And Larry Gritz posts regularly. That's good enough for me.

    -grendel drago
  • I use
    Claranews [claranews.com]. It's a good server with an annual fee.

    You get what you pay for.

    Supernews [supernews.com] is pretty decent, too. It's a bit more expensive now than when I last subscribed to it (used to be $10/month), but my cable-modem service provider [lvcm.com] outsources Usenet to Supernews so it's part of what I pay for that.

  • ...doesn't Google *need* to do this, so that when we scream that our record of internet history needs to be preserved, that Google actually has the *right* to sell/give away/transfer/maintain/whatever the whole collection? If Google didn't have the rights to the collection, we'd all be digging in our hard drives to reconstitute it.
  • > Usenet seems in the best shape in ages - the endless september seems to have ended.

    While it's better than it was in 1998-9, I wouldn't go that far... A full feed now saturates an OC-3 (~260G/d), and the types of cluelessness now exhibited is the type that hurts.

    Current record-holder: Someone who posted 1.8G of MP3s in a single day through his brand-new cablemodem. "75M/d recommended posting limit in absmp3? What limit? They can't possibly mean me! I've got a cablemodem! I'm cooler than that!"

    The scary bit is that this guy was a drop in the bucket - there are groups where 600M DivX'd movies and ISO images are thrown around with regularity.

    Meanwhile, transit servers continue to drop articles on the floor as the load escalates. Bad enough to try and justify to the Board of Directors why you need another terabyte of storage, but another OC-3? :-)

    Yeah, USENET was never designed for large binaries , but if the binaries cause ISPs to drop all USENET support, the text groups may go with 'em. Google's archives aren't much use without a backbone of transit servers to propagate the articles. If Google becomes the only way to access USENET, the distinction between USENET and any other "message board" web site goes away.

  • > Currently, it is rather difficult to post something anonymously to a newsgroup. Especially if your only newsgroup access is via your ISP.

    Mail-to-News gateway. St00pidly-adminned Sendmail 8.6 box (just read your spam to find 'em!) or a cypherpunk chain of anonymous remailers. Library or university.

  • > why has the RIAA etal left news alone?

    Well, under DMCA, if RIAA mails you (if you're a US ISP) and tells you that Message-ID: $FOO1 .. FOO45 represent parts 1-45 of a copyright violation, you still have to delete it or issue (forged) cancels.

    Of course, no other USENET server has to accept the cancels. And it's likely that by the time you received the DMCA complaint, the articles will have expired anyways :)

    More interestingly - absmp3.beatles isn't carried at my ISP. Rationale - the Beatles don't want their work posted on USENET. This newsgroup charter implies that the content of the group would exclusively consist of copyright violations. So my ISP (wisely, IMHO) chooses not to carry the group. But absmp3 has no such charter. Could be indie groups posting their own work. Could be the Grateful Dead, who don't mind sharing. Could also be a lot of copyrighted stuff too. But because absmp3 is "all of the above", my ISP chooses to carry it, because it's not clear that every post is intended to be a copyright violation. (It's just a lucky coincidence ;-)

    Anyways, RIAA hasn't left USENET alone. They're no doubt logging NNTP-Posting-Host: headers and keeping track of who the largest posters are, and sending mails to various ISPs asking them to either nuke the poster or fork over the info for a lawsuit. Nuking the poster for TOS violation is probably cheaper (one mail to abuse@), and has much less negative PR impact (than a lawsuit), so that's probably the way they're going.

    Thankfully, just as reading USENET is like drinking from a fire hose, so's suing MP3 posters off of USENET. At least for the time being. I'm amazed it's lasted as long as it has with the increase in the size of a full feed. What the hell, at least I can say I was there during the Golden Age, survived Endless September, and still managed to get enough out-of-print music out of it during the "My God, It's Still Alive!" stage to last me a lifetime.

    (Actually, that may be the other reason RIAA has left USENET alone - RIAA makes most of its CD sales revenue off the latest teenybopper band single, not the back-catalogue. Napster's loaded with top-40. USENET's the exact opposite - the top 40's there, but the balance has shifted to favor the rare/obscure/OOP stuff. Much more interesting mix of stuff, IMHO.

  • by joq (63625)

    Didn't slashdot touch off on this a few months back http://slashdot.org/articles/01/02/22/0124253.shtm l [slashdot.org] ... IMO, I think Usenet is solely trying to protect another company from ripping something they purchased, they have every right to, however for them to even attempt to go after every nickle and dime site mirrorring archives would be costly for them.

    So I see this solely as something of a warning to companies who may think of making money of some sort in the future nothing more. Aside from worthless jokes, cheesy porn, and millions of 31337 hax0r3r posts 98% of which make no sense, I've found Usenet useless 95% of the times, and have found better private mailing lists for my needs, so I see no big deal with this news.

    Murder, Genocide, MKUltra, and stolen Uranium [antioffline.com] .. born in the USA
  • If you post to usenet, and think your messages aren't being submitted to the public domain, you are crazy. You can probably copyright your post, so others cannot claim it was their own or reword it in anyway, but good luck enforcing it. You certainly cannot prevent anyone from using your post pretty much at will.

    Anyway, if you have the arrogance to think your post is important enough to be valuable and you can't find your own news server to post to (including the other free servers like newsone.net) you probably shouldn't be posting to usenet anyway....

    -Moondogy
  • There are plenty of other services that allow you to post to usenet without licensing your text to them (ie. most Internet Service Providers). Google shouldn't be kicked in the face for not being the company you - or anybody else - (probably) thought it was or expected it to be.

    Currently, it appears that Google has no formal business plans to financially exploit what its users write. This contract/license just happens to give Google the legal wedge should they find a way to do this. There's nothing that obligates you to agree to the contract -- just don't use their service.

    Microsoft, on the other hand, has nothing in its Windows licences specifying that you must agree to licence work created for the Operating System (OS) to Microsoft. If they did, it would be awfully foolish, given their previous Anti-trust difficulties -- let's not also forget that it is the software authors who help Microsoft keep many of their users. Although, Microsoft may own some system and dll files your app may need - including the OS, itself - it owns no more of your app than, say, the authors of GTK do (if your app makes use of the GTK).


  • Relevant post [slashdot.org]

    If you use their service to post to Usenet, you ARE agreeing to their contract, and are obligated to follow it.

    I suspect that this clause of their contract is the exchange of "property" required for any contract to be considered legally binding. You receive their service in exchange for licensing them your posts. This would validate other parts of the contract, as well, in the eyes of the law.


  • You can get there via SafeWeb [safeweb.com].

    All Your Base Are Belong To Us!!!
  • This is the problem:

    Suppose I am Stephen King. Suppose I'm writing my next bestseller, and I decide to post it, part by part, on the usenet. Using google.

    What this means is that google can now take my story, and resell it, denying me my rightful royalties. As a result, my family and I now starve to death.
  • I generally agree with you. However I thing the idiot-gateway which Google is poised to reopen could be beneficial if managed correctly (which it won't be of course, but let me dream...)
    Imagine if every newsgroup could create a quiz (authentication of who represents a newsgroup left to imaginiation) and lodge that quiz with lamebraingate, henceforth Google. Now when Joe Lamer wants to post his javascript question to comp.lang.perl.misc, Google would ask him three questions about the charter of clpm. When he answers them wrong, Google would show him the group faq and pointers to other newsgroups based on the words in his proposed post.
    Also, newsgroups could enforce forms for certain types of newbie questions. Using clpm as an example again, It would be great if every querent had to answer:
    1. What OS is the program running under?
    2. Do you have shell access to the machine or are you only able to FTP scripts to it?
    Enough daydreams. As always, Death of Usenet Predicted; Film at 11

  • All your hellmouth post are belong to JonKatz [optushome.com.au].
  • But, do you have to read that disclaimer before it will let you get anywhere near the USENET services? Nope.

  • When it was still DejaNews, they blocked access from Anonymizer addresses. Don't know about other anonymizing services, though.
  • If you don't pay to use their service, you're not a customer.
    --------------------------------------- -----------
  • It's quite possible that you could use the DMCA against Google, if you posted to USENET by means other than Google, and Google then appended advertising to your posting. Sending a DMCA "notice and takedown" order to Google's backbone provider might be interesting.
  • Work does not go into the public domain unless (1) the content wasn't copyrightable in the first place, (2) the copyright runs out

    Do copyrights even run out anymore? I thought Congress and Disney Co. had a deal [pineight.com]: every 20 years, Congress retroactively adds 20 years to all copyrights.

  • A while ago people were all concerned that the "valuable usenet archive" hosted by deja had dissapeared. Now people are concerned about their usenet posts being owned by the company who brought the deja archive back...you can't have it both ways. If you want an archive of usenet, let google do what you want with the posts. After all, it's not exclusive rights.
  • What a troll! As has already been pointed out by numerous others, Google is claiming a non-exclusive license to your usenet posts. It doesn't own them. I'd only add that it's irritating in the extreme (a) to see this coming from /., which of all organizations should know a lot more about Licensing than this stupid story indicates; and (b) to see this crap slung at Google, the company which freely provides the best search engine on the web, and which is no doubt the first choice of basically everyone reading this story. Time for me to go back to K5 [kuro5hin.org].
  • Are you too lazy to read the bottom of every single page on this site too?

    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. Comments are owned by the Poster. The Rest © 1997-2001 OSDN.


    sheesh...
  • http://webreference.com/roadmap/map08.html

    That should answer your question.

    TTYL + HAND!
  • Well, I can't possibly think of a solution to THIS little dilemma. Perhaps you should just use your ISP's news server instead, hmm? You know, you don't have to use Google for posting any more than you have to use AOL Instant Messanger to chat online. Sheesh people, this is NOT the end of the world.

    --

  • "I noticed that UseNet volumes went down significantly when Remarq and then Deja went down. Then volumes went down again in the traditional slowing accompanied by college summer recess.

    Do these volumes include binaries? Working for an ISP that handles 90gig of new volume a day, I'm more than a little surprised.... The biggest attraction for usenet now are the binaries posts it seems, 90Gig isn't just students posting Linux support questions. Also, as we're on news server issues, why has the RIAA etal left news alone? I guess because it's de-centralized?

    Seriously where do the news service providors stand legally, they own the servers and people download copied software / music off those servers. I realise the articles don't orginate from a single news providor and I guess news providor's are counted legally the same way as telephone companies, but if 2600 can be found guilty of something for just linking how long before this changes. I recall a case in the UK where a news providor was found guily of libel for just carring an article, how much safe ground does usenet have against the MPAA & the RIAA?

  • It seems that there is a knee jerk reation to licenses on /. if we put this in English it isn't that bad:
    By posting communications on or through the Service, you automatically grant Google a:

    Royalty-free = You're posting it on usenet, if you wanted royalities in the first place this isn't such a good idea.

    Perpetual = Its on going, they don't have to renew this "license".

    irrevocable = You can't take this license away from google, of course there going to put this in there.

    non-exclusive = You can license what you post to third parties regardless of google's license.

    reproduce = As soon google's news server distributes it to it's news peers, it's reproduced.

    modify = One of the same freedoms the GPL grants.

    publish = In essence when someone does a search on google and your post is returned, they are publishing it and again if you didn't want people to see it why post it?

    edit = Correct your spelling.

    translate = Provide an additional service so the article you posted can be seen and possible help more people.

    distribute = Send to other news peers.

    perform = If you post guitar tab / a play for people to perform, why can't google do the same?

    All of the above are things would would expect to happen if you posted information to usenet, I think Google are just ass covering a bit here. Maybe it's to stop newbies complaining that don't understand usenet. For people that post to news and understand it, you generally know what you post is for the world to do with as they please.
    Furthermore, you still retain the copyright to whatever you post, so they don't "own" it, you've just given them a license to use it as they please. The only problem I could see is that Google could license your post to third parties without your consent but really if you had get rich plans by licensing something would you really post it for the world to see for free? Is this such a small price to pay for a good free service and guess what, if you don't like the license, don't use the service.

  • Well since many/most folks here do not access Usenet via Google . . .

    Each post made outside of Google should have a signature file specifically prohibiting use by Google, specifying costs to be assessed for licensing by google, etc. (say $500 per incident) and in general prohibiting any "license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, edit, translate, distribute, perform, and display the communication alone or as part of other works in any form, media, or technology whether now known or hereafter developed", and prohibiting any effort to "sublicense such rights through multiple tiers of sublicensees" without prior agreement of the original poster or their heirs.

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [eplugz.com] comic strip

  • Why would Google make this request? I would guess to defend themselves legally - too pull a CYA in a sense. But it doesnt make sense. Surely I can post to news servers WITHOUT using Deja. If I post to news.someisp.com it is available to DejaGoogle users - WITHOUT the AYBABTU-License... so, here Google has the AYBABTUGoogle posts mingled w/ the 'other' posts.

    Now, Ive never used Deja - so it may be more than a interface to the NNTP network that I am accustomed to using w/ PAN and whatnot*.

    How does Google possibly need to make this AYB-Style Land Grab when it wont do them any good because the rest of us can go on posting our aol-suckzors libel-insipiring posts from elsewhere && google serves them up to their users JUST AS IF THEY HAD BEEN POSTED via DejaGoogle....

    This dosnt make sense*. Google dosnt appear to gain much by doing this - except a shitload of pissed off users wondering how the heck they get off making demands of the users who are supposed to be 'customers.'

    *Is Deja not simply a NNTP client?

  • Seriously. This is the dumbest one yet. I mean, come on - if Google didn't have a "non-exclusive right" to your posting, it couldn't post it on usenet!

    Harrumph.

  • Because your rhetorical newsgroup charter does not prevent me from posting to the newsgroup, it does not bind me against posting there and keeping ownership of my post.

    It's not a contract unless I sign it and/or otherwise agree to it.


    --

  • IMO, i believe Google is doing this to prevent somebody from suing them for distributing someone else's information, and making it available in a format it was not originally intended. By posting information on Usenet through, you're relinquishing your claim to that information.

    Just playing it safe when anybody will suee anybody for any reason whatsoever....
  • From the clause, I can see no change of copyright or any other IP, but Google is granted non-exclusive rights to the post. (Non-exclusive meaning the copyright holder can still do whatever he likes with it, even sell it on).

    Google is protecting their backside. If they don't ask for a non-exclusive right when you post through this service, there is a potential for a lawsuit later if they create archives or do other things with that material. If I were in their shoes, I'd ask for a non-exclusive license, too, in order to continue be able to post.

    Slashdot has at least an implicit (if not explicit) non-exclusive right to your words when you post here.

    When I ran an early Internet marketing mailing list from 1994 to 1996 (www.i-m.com), I foolishly didn't initially make a condition of posting, and this, in turn, led users later to threaten me with lawsuits if I produced any for-profit or for-free versions of the list outside the archive. I eventually shut down the list, as I had better things to do than hire lawyers and sort out copyright issues.

  • Just curious, and too lazy to dig through whatever terms of service I didn't read when getting an account... but does Slashdot 'own' my postings here in this manner?

  • I read the license grant and all it translates to is "If you are as anal retentive as the Church of Scientology and decide that your self incriminating usenet post should no longer be found in our archive or published in our future "best of usenet" miniseries, we will have a leg to stand on.

    The key term to look for in there is "none exclusive".

    That term essentially means you still own your post and you can sell or give it to anyone else as you see fit. It also says that if someone else builds a competitive service we can't challenge them on the notion that your posts belong to us because the license grant is NONE EXCLUSIVE.

    In short Google is not behaving badly and have simply written up the bare minimum document needed to save their asses.
  • by PureFiction (10256) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:30PM (#194460)
    Currently, it is rather difficult to post something anonymously to a newsgroup. Especially if your only newsgroup access is via your ISP.

    So, by using anonymizer.com or something similar to log into google groups and then using google to post to a newsgroup, you have a much better chance of remaining anonymous.
  • I've noticed the same thing, both on /. and in newsgroups I've been reading over the years. The problem is there's only a finite number of things to say about Topic X, and once the flamewar has been had and everyone knows what the positions are, it's pretty much over and the interesting people drift off. You have to have a dedicated group of flamebots to keep the same argument rolling (see abortion arguments or OS advocacy groups).

    To keep things going, you either need a steady supply of news (which is how /. does it), or a willingness to go waaaay off-topic in interesting ways (see alt.folklore.computers for example).
    --
  • by mindstrm (20013) on Monday May 28, 2001 @02:22AM (#194462)
    Folks, what they are saying is not that they own your data. You are still free to do what you will with said data....

    They are (it looks like) simply covering their ass, so if they one day build a new database they don't get SUED by some yahoo who says 'you don't have the right to do that'.

    They are saying that if you post through them, then they can do what they want with the posting, basically. Yes, it cuold have some negative ramifications.. but then, I doubt peopel would be posting sensitive IP to usenet anyway.

    Regardless of 'posters rights' I think it's silly to post something to a public, global, uncontrolled and uncentralized forum like usenet and expect to have any sort of control, legal or otherwise, over what happens to the data you posted.
  • by p3d0 (42270) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:56PM (#194463)
    Deja/Google is an NNTP archive, not just a client. Google wants the right to archive and distribute posts made using Google's own service (ie. resources). I think that's a fair trade.

    Nothing to see here folks. Move along.
    --
  • by tjwhaynes (114792) on Monday May 28, 2001 @03:40AM (#194464)

    The 'cluedness' of the average USENET poster has gone down the tubes. Sure, it's always been a great place for newbies to get some help from the veterans, but lately things have gotten out of control. Cross-posting is rampant, trolls are everywhere, and spammers think folks care about their offerings.

    Then get a better newsreader. I see hardly any spam, annoying posters never hit my radar, and posts from people whose expertise I value reading are moved up the lists so I read the threads they have posted to first. You need a scoring newsreader rather than a kill-filing one for really good post sorting - Gnus is my preference.

    Technical discussion has given away to politics.

    Blind assertion does not equal fact. Various newsgroups see their readership change over time. In almost any group, you can start to answer all the newbie questions after six months, simply by being exposed to all the responses. Politics does occur on the newsgroups, but so does technical discussion. If a group no longer serves your needs, find a better/different one.

    Less than 18 months ago comp.sys.sgi.* was full of interesting chatter, these days half of the posts are by folks asking how to install a (completely unaccelerated and very unfinished) Linux port on an SGI MIPS machine they bought off eBay for $50.

    So? You obviously don't value these posts, which is probably fair enough. For a new (or nearly new...) SGI owner, asking about difficulties with a Linux port is a reasonable question. If the answer is "Read the FAQ", then educate the new users. Thats a part of the UseNet community.

    The true engineers, developers, and scientific users have pulled completely out and rely on private mailing lists.

    Hmm. Staring at the poster lists, I'd say your claim was pretty far from reality. There seems to be a reasonable clue-to-noise ratio rattling around the sgi groups.

    Some people will give up on Usenet, often because local resources to them give more select information. I've knocked around on Usenet for about the last 8 years or so, and I don't really see any great signs of changes in clue-level on the newsgroup levels. (except on alt.fan.pratchett, which went from a fun place to hang out to a disaster area simply because of a massive increase in posting levels making it difficult to keep up with or maintain any solid contact with. The price of success..) There are more people now who are playing with Linux and making their first steps with an unfamiliar OS than I remember being the case four years ago, but that is hardly surprising. Don't get frustrated at new users for asking questions you already know the answers to - either help them or offer new sections to be added to the newsgroup FAQ. New users have always been a part of the UseNet postings - getting them clued up is part of the UseNet tradition.

    Cheers,

    Toby Haynes

  • by bmasel (129946) <(bmasel) (at) (tds.net)> on Sunday May 27, 2001 @07:16PM (#194465) Journal
    What they're getting fo now, is clear authority to append their selfpromotion, and any outside advertising payload, to your post.
  • by electricmonk (169355) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:35PM (#194466) Homepage
    Now, they could be planning to take all the Star Trek porn fanfic that's being posted through their interface and make millions selling it in their own compilation, but I think that's unlikely...

    Yeah, that only happens on little pissant sites like Slashdot. *cough*JonKatz*cough*

    --

  • by rassie (452841) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @09:51PM (#194467)
    On their posting terms page [google.com], they permit you to view and download a single copy of the posts for personal use. - That's fine.
    However, then they continue to say you can't reproduce or distribute the "Materials" for public purpose without the written permission of Google.
    This means you can't reply to a post if you include anything from the post you are replying to.
    I wonder if it also applies if you are not replying to a Google post through Google, but with your own news-agent...

    I would have included the relevant part from the posting terms page, but I am afraid to, because I havent't got their written permission.

  • by Anna Gram (455420) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:56PM (#194468)
    Since GOOGLE GROUPS is an anagram of LOG RUSE: GO GOP! It's obvious this whole thing is a republican plot. GOOGLE GROUPS is also an anagram for GO SPLURGE GOO. obviously something to do with Usenet porn.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:42PM (#194469)
    As you noted in the write-up yourself, this agreement merely forces you to grant Google a non-exclusive license to use your post (in exchange for them allowing you to posting it via their service free of charge). This explicitly means that Google does not claim to own your UseNet posts; you still retain ownership and full rights to do whatever you want with it. They can just also use it without your permission (but as they don't own it, they can't do things like force you to pay them to use your own post, or sell your post to someone else, and so on).
  • Sorry guys, it was just way too tempting.
  • by s20451 (410424) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @05:03PM (#194471) Journal

    I thought Google were the good guys, because they used a Linux server farm. Now it turns out that they're acting like a business, which makes them the bad guys, right? Can one of the mages at Slashdot please tell me what the orthodox line is on Google? Still clean? Or worse than Microsoft?

    And are there any incensed iconoclasts out there pledging to create an Open Source, GPL'd search engine and news directory?

  • by Gumber (17306) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:29PM (#194472) Homepage
    Just because I grant Google a license to my post, doesn't mean they own the post, just like the fact that I have a license for Microsoft Office 200 doesn't mean that I "own" Microsoft Office 2000.

    That google demands a license in order to post using their service may be unfortunate, but it isn't really suprising given the state of Intellectual Property law in the world today. Without the license, they would be subject to unreasonable liability.

    And yes, what about posts made elsewhere that end up on Google groups. I really have no idea. Maybe Google will claim that they assumed the post was redistributatble given the nature of usenet an assumption they couldn't necessarily reasoably make for a posting made through their own service.
  • by GrBear (63712) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @06:13PM (#194473)
    I'm not one to usually get excited about spam.. usually quite the opposite, however I received one advertising eTin.com [etin.com] a, free & totally anonymous, Usenet service. They have a decent interface, and very fast server(s).

    They don't retain binaries for much more than 3-4 days, but they keep everything else indefinately.

    Like all good things, I'm sure they'll start charging after they get you hooked.. but it's a much better alternative to Google in the interm.

    Cheers.

    GB.
  • by outlier (64928) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @06:07PM (#194474)
    This [timesofindia.com] can either calm or fan your paranoia.

    The CIA has invested $1 Million in Safeweb, and uses it for its own agents (and I believe they use triangleboy [triangleboy.com] when in the field.

    So, if they trust it, then why shouldn't you... Of course, if they have a stake, whose to say they don't have a bit of insider access...

    "The issue is not whether you are paranoid, the issue is whether you are paranoid enough."
    - Max, "Strange Days"

  • It's alive and quite well...

    Usenet did fine before deja.com, it'll do fine after google.com is gone.

    Somehow, I don't think it's a problem that some ISPs don't allow newsgroup access.

    As long as you can find people like Dennis Ritchie [google.com],John R. Mashey [google.com](actually, he seems to have abandoned Usenet in January, but his Farewell is there...),John McCarthy [google.com],Bjarne Stroustroup [google.com] and Larry Wall [google.com] posting frequently, I'll keep reading.

    Somehow, it doesn't bother me much that what passes for common wisdom here is that Usenet is effectively already dead. I don't read much about sporks or petrified women on Usenet.

  • What exactly is the problem here?

    The problem comes in only if the prediction I made comes true: that Google Groups grows to become the primary way for people to post to UseNet due to continuing decay of ISP support for UseNet. UseNet is supposed to be distributed, not centralized in a corporation. We have seen the effects of this already. Frequent posters who relied on deja.com were suddenly silenced.

    And now that Google can take posted articles out of context and publish them without attribution -- and if Google becomes the dominant UseNet entryway in the same way Windows is the dominant OS -- then it puts a chill, or at least a corporatized spin, on UseNet.

    So, yes, there are alternatives to Google Groups today, but tomorrow UseNet may be nearly fully controlled by and dependent upon a single company.

  • The 'cluedness' of the average USENET poster has gone down the tubes. Sure, it's always been a great place for newbies to get some help from the veterans, but lately things have gotten out of control. Cross-posting is rampant, trolls are everywhere, and spammers think folks care about their offerings. Technical discussion has given away to politics. Less than 18 months ago comp.sys.sgi.* was full of interesting chatter, these days half of the posts are by folks asking how to install a (completely unaccelerated and very unfinished) Linux port on an SGI MIPS machine they bought off eBay for $50. The true engineers, developers, and scientific users have pulled completely out and rely on private mailing lists.

    Google didn't kill USENET, lamers did.
  • by jmsaul (209095) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @06:27PM (#194478)
    It's the nature of the beast. When you voluntarily post to a PUBLIC forum, you are then and there decreeing your words to be in the public domain, yes? Thus, copyright no longer applies. And neither does "default" copyright apply because you physically placed your words into a PUBLIC forum. You knew what you were doing. You clearly chose to relinquish eternally all copyright to your article. No. Work does not go into the public domain unless (1) the content wasn't copyrightable in the first place, (2) the copyright runs out, or (3) the author explicitly states that it is in the public domain. Posting to a public forum does not put your work into the public domain. It does give other people an implied license to do the kinds of things you might expect them to do with your posting -- such as quoting part of your message in a response, like this one -- but it does not make your posting public domain.

    ...And welcome to real life.

    Welcome to the way the law actually works.
  • by mech9t8 (310197) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:32PM (#194479)
    ...from potential lawsuits. Any one of the millions of posters on Usenet could potentially sue them for including their posts in their archives. Including that clause just make it less likely that something like that will happen.

    Usenet posts are a fairly grey area when it comes to copyright law... Google's just being safe. Now, they could be planning to take all the Star Trek porn fanfic that's being posted through their interface and make millions selling it in their own compilation, but I think that's unlikely...
    --
    Convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies.
  • by Nurgster (320198) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @05:40PM (#194480) Homepage


    And now that Google can take posted articles out of context and publish them without attribution -- and if Google becomes the dominant UseNet entryway in the same way Windows is the dominant OS -- then it puts a chill, or at least a corporatized spin, on UseNet.


    Where does it say it can publish them without attribution? The copyright doesn't change hands, and even under license, the copyright holder must be credited.

    The clause in question only means that Google has automatic permission to re-use the post without having to ask the copyright holder, not claim ownership of it.
  • by Nurgster (320198) on Sunday May 27, 2001 @04:28PM (#194481) Homepage
    "In exchange for using this service, Google can re-use your post."

    From the clause, I can see no change of copyright or any other IP, but Google is granted non-exclusive rights to the post. (Non-exclusive meaning the copyright holder can still do whatever he likes with it, even sell it on).

    What exactly is the problem here?
  • As a broken bootleg toy, I judge that google is henceforth to be considered:

    evil, but still cool

    You know, like George Lucas or Sony. So we should all continue supporting them individually while loudly proclaiming collectively that nobody should support them.
    --

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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