Scary New AOL IM Terms of Service

From the new AOL Instant Messenger terms of service:

“In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.”

This is, of course, BS. First, many users (like me) have never been prompted to agree to this new TOS and therefore cannot be bound by it. Second, software terms of service are not binding contracts anyway. Third, despite AOL’s claims, terms of service do not trump copyright law and authors retain unlimited right to control distribution of their works—even over IM. But the fact that AOL even claims these rights (even though they wouldn’t last 16 seconds in court) is very, very disturbing.

Scott Bradford has been putting his opinions on his website since 1995—before most people knew what a website was. He has been a professional web developer in the public- and private-sector for over twenty years. He is an independent constitutional conservative who believes in human rights and limited government, and a Catholic Christian whose beliefs are summarized in the Nicene Creed. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from George Mason University. He loves Pink Floyd and can play the bass guitar . . . sort-of. He’s a husband, pet lover, amateur radio operator, and classic AMC/Jeep enthusiast.