Friday, December 03, 2004

Spaces: The First Frontier

No doubt, most of you are aware that Uncle Redmond has gotten into the blogging business.  MSN Spaces is the name of a new free blogging service.  I've looked at some of their blogs.  Nice enough.  But the Terms of Service are repulsive:


Microsoft reserves the right to change the terms, conditions, and notices under which it offers the MSN Web Sites, including any charges associated with the use of the MSN Web Sites. You are responsible for regularly reviewing these terms, conditions and notices, and any additional terms posted on any MSN Web Site. Your continued use of the MSN Web Sites after the effective date of such changes constitutes your acceptance of and agreement to such changes.
So they can put a change in the terms of service on any MSN site (there must be thousands) and you are responsible for seeing it and adhering to it. 


For materials you post or otherwise provide to Microsoft related to the MSN Web Sites (a "Submission"), you grant Microsoft permission to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat your Submission, each in connection with the MSN Web Sites, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. Microsoft will not pay you for your Submission. Microsoft may remove your Submission at any time. For each Submission, you represent that you have all rights necessary for you to make the grants in this section. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Microsoft may monitor your e-mail, or other electronic communications and may disclose such information in the event it has a good faith reason to believe it is necessary for purposes of ensuring your compliance with this Agreement, and protecting the rights, property, and interests of the Microsoft Parties or any customer of a Microsoft Party.

Anything you post their becomes their property.  If they want, they can reformat what you write.  They may monitor your e-mail, and disclose its content.  Why would anyone consent to this?

There are other nutty provisions, but those are the most egregious.  They have some clever features.  You can put up a list of your favorite songs.  Your readers can click on the titles and are offered a chance to download the song for 99 cents.  I suspect all the profit goes to Microsoft, though...