Copyright Scott Bourne 2002 - All Rights Reserved

Copyright Scott Bourne 2002 - All Rights Reserved

Here’s an update to this post – written to help settle the confusion caused by trolls mischaracterizing what I said. Please read my words – not what the trolls say I said – and judge for yourself. Thanks.

Google is the company that started out with a simple mission – don’t be evil. I think they meant it when they started. They have grown to be one of the biggest companies on the planet. I am not so sure they remember their original mission. Their image search feature allows them to profit from other people’s work without compensation. Their TOS (terms of service) allows them license to images — that I find concerning. Why am I bringing all this up now?

There’s lots of talk about Google+. It is Google’s answer to social networking. It will probably be successful because Google has their hooks into everything – and everybody.

One of the things that has photographers excited about Google+ is their implantation of photo sharing. They seem to have done a good job of making it easy to share photos. For amateurs with no desire to turn pro or to license their work, this will be attractive.

My post today is not in any way aimed at amateurs. I am writing to professional photographers and aspiring professional photographers who hope to or do make money licensing their photos.

You need to be aware of what you are giving up if you decide to use Google+ or any other Google service when it comes to your photography. Please read the information contained at this link. http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS

Then, please carefully note these sections…

“By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services.”

“You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.”

“You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.”

I am not a licensed attorney and cannot give anyone legal advice. If you are concerned about making money with your photography, I urge you to seek legal council to get an interpretation of the passages I highlighted here.

As for me, there’s a reason I don’t have a Google Buzz account or a Google Picasa account. There’s a reason I won’t (at least while the TOS reads the way it does) be sharing any images on Google+. The reason is simple. If I do share images on Google services – under the current terms of service – I will risk genuine harm to my ability to earn income from those images. As a professional, I don’t see the reward of using the Google services as being worth more than the risk.

Oh and one more thing that is not photo related – the privacy issues services like these raise completely creep me out.

Your mileage may vary.

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Join the conversation! 55 Comments

  1. [...] submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content [...]

  2. [...] a few times a week as he usually has interesting things to say. Today’s post talks about the fine print in the Google Terms of Service, especially as applied to the new Google Plus and Photo S…. Scott quotes from the Google TOS “By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give [...]

  3. [...] a great little article on PhotoFocus warning everyone, and photographers in particular, to look carefully at the Google TOS before [...]

  4. [...] contain the kind of language that observers found objectionable with Dropbox. For this reason, the Photo Focus blog cautions professional photographers against uploading images to Google [...]

  5. [...] PhotoFocus has Google Plus – Read the Fine Print BEFORE You Sign Up [...]

  6. [...] contain the kind of language that observers found objectionable with Dropbox. For this reason, the Photo Focus blog cautions professional photographers against uploading images to Google [...]

  7. [...] Pointed out by online photography repository Photofocus, a photographers abilities to make income from their photography might be severely [...]

  8. [...] and the new Google+, have fine print that basically gives up the licensing to photos posted on their [...]

  9. [...] Pointed out by online photography repository Photofocus, a photographers abilities to make income from their photography might be severely [...]

  10. [...] Terms of Service. Pointed out by online ph&#111&#116&#111graphy magazine Photofocus, the photographers abil&#105&#116&#105es to make money from their photography may be [...]

  11. [...] Pointed out by online photography repository Photofocus, a photographers abilities to make income from their photography might be severely [...]

  12. [...] a few clauses in the service’s Terms of Service. Pointed out by online photography magazine Photofocus, the photographers abilities to make money from their photography may be greatly [...]

  13. [...] d’utiliser ces services.9 juillet 2011Je me suis inspiré du photographe Scott Bourne et son article pour écrire cette entrée de blog.Avez-vous lu les conditions d’utilisation pour Facebook et [...]

  14. [...] a few clauses in the service’s Terms of Service. Pointed out by online photography magazine Photofocus, the photographers abilities to make money from their photography may be greatly [...]

  15. [...] berichten der Shutters Inc. Podcast in Ausgabe 181 und Scott Bourne in seinem Blog PhotoFocus.com übereinstimmend über die Lizenzen für die Bildnutzung, die Fotos-uploadende Benutzer der [...]

  16. [...] Pointed out by online photography magazine Photofocus, the photographers abilities to make money from their photography may be greatly [...]

  17. [...] a great little article on PhotoFocus warning everyone, and photographers in particular, to look carefully at the Google TOS before [...]

  18. [...] out photographer who maybe one day will manage to earn a little back on all his photo kit spend this article linked from the OCA Flickr group had me a little worried so over to WordPress it [...]

  19. [...] soon it’ll be everywhere! There’s more here Guardian talks Google+ and Facebook here Google and Intellectual Property and a cool tool [...]

  20. [...] blogger Scott Bourne is no stranger to giving close reads to user license grants.  Scott has decided not to use Google services in connection with his photography because he’s rightly concerned [...]

  21. [...] Google Plus – Read the Fine Print BEFORE You Sign Up (photofocus.com) [...]

  22. [...] possibility that it can bring to my business. However soon after it launched, Scott Bourne wrote THIS article on his blog, talking about how you need to be careful when it comes to uploading your [...]

  23. [...] Photofocus has full coverage. Check it out (because I’m frankly too annoyed to go through this all again). For those interested in my extended thoughts on the matter, read this post on the Dropbox mess, this post on how the economics of free online services actually work, and this post on perpetual licenses. [...]

  24. [...] Google Plus – Read the Fine Print BEFORE You Sign Up « Photofocus (tags: google g+ privacy copyright intellectual-property law internet ict) [...]

  25. [...] photo albums. While that’s still true, its policy when it comes to your images deserves mention. Photofocus points out that part of its terms more or less say that when you share photos, “you give Google a [...]

  26. [...] to see how they handle the TOS for entity profiles compared to personal profiles. For now, if you share a photo on Google Plus, you basically forfeit all rights to that image. Hopefully some changes are made when they let businesses in to protect those [...]

  27. [...] photo albums. While that’s still true, its policy when it comes to your images deserves mention. Photofocus points out that part of its terms more or less say that when you share photos, “you give Google a [...]

  28. [...] photo albums. While that’s still true, its policy when it comes to your images deserves mention. Photofocus points out that part of its terms more or less say that when you share photos, “you give Google a [...]

  29. [...] photo albums. While that’s still true, its policy when it comes to your images deserves mention. Photofocus points out that part of its terms more or less say that when you share photos, “you give Google a [...]

  30. [...] photo albums. While that’s still true,its policy when it comes to your images deserves mention. Photofocus points out that part of its terms more or less say that when you share photos,“you give Google a [...]

  31. [...] print albums. While that’s still true, a routine when it comes to your images deserves mention. Photofocus points out that partial of a terms some-more or reduction contend that when you share photos, [...]

  32. [...] Initially I was very shocked, and proceeded to read the cited blog posting by Scott Bourne on photofocus.com. “Google Plus – Read the Fine Print BEFORE You Sign Up“ [...]

  33. [...] photo albums. While that’s still true, its policy when it comes to your images deserves mention. Photofocus points out that part of its terms more or less say that when you share photos, “you give Google a [...]

  34. [...] since google+  TOS has caused some ripples because there was a brief flame on the interwebs regarding the posting [...]

  35. [...] Facebook has gotten a bad rap for using user-generated content, but if you’ve read Google+’s fine print, you know you’re selling your soul. Google owns the right to everything you post and has the [...]

  36. [...] Facebook anymore, but just, because, well you know…it’s new stuff. And then I ran into Scott Bourne’s blog at Photofocus and that made me think a bit. Specially when reading Google Terms of Service and [...]

  37. [...] who should be most worried about this last question are professional photographers, according to Photofocus, an online magazine about photography. While photographers are excited about the new photo sharing [...]

  38. [...] over the world is a “fine print” in a Google+ license agreement. Originally admitted in this article by Scott Bourne, it [...]

  39. [...] Bourne in Google Plus – Read the Fine Print BEFORE You Sign Up: As for me, there’s a reason I don’t have a Google Buzz account or a Google Picasa account. [...]

  40. [...] First of all, Google says: Everything you have uploaded is mine and I can do with it whatever I want. [...]

  41. [...] you’re sharing your photographs. Recently there has been plenty of press on sites including Fotofocus and the Washington Post about Google +. It ‘s always important to realize that once you post [...]

  42. [...] when you’re sharing your photographs. Recently there has been plenty of press on sites including Fotofocus and the Washington Post about Google +. It ‘s always important to realize that once you post your [...]

  43. [...] die neue Konkurrenz von Facebook. Fotografen, die dort aktiv sind, sollten zum einen auf die Nutzungsbedingungen aufpassen und zum anderen die Standard-Auswahl bei den Privatsphäre-Einstellungen deaktivieren, [...]

  44. [...] of original material.  I cannot directly attest to this, but I have heard that G+ may have some policies that I would not necessarily approve of, especially on the possible ownership and/or use of photos.  For that reason, I will refrain from [...]

  45. [...] also been a huge amount of discussion on Facebook and photo rights, and more recently on Google +. It’s a minefield for [...]

  46. [...] sharing my photos on Facebook and Google releases me from any protection of my photos. Scott Bourne dissected the G+ licensing rights fairly well last summer and we’ve all heard — ad nauseum — how loosey-goosey [...]

  47. [...] sharing my photos on Facebook and Google releases me from any protection of my photos. Scott Bourne dissected the G+ licensing rights fairly well last summer and we’ve all heard — ad nauseum — how loosey-goosey [...]

  48. [...] Plus is het sociale netwerk van Google als antwoord op Facebook. Dat is wel bekend. Maar een blogger van Photofocus kwam met het volgende bericht: You need to be aware of what you are giving up if you decide to use [...]

  49. [...] und sinnvoll ist. Es werden juristische Fragen gestellt und letztlich sichert sich auch G+ die Nutzungsrechte der Online-Inhalte seiner User. Die Aufschreie diesbezüglich bleiben aber aus, sicher auch, weil das neue Netzwerk [...]

  50. [...] photographer Scott Bourne shared his thoughts in Google Plus – Read the Fine Print BEFORE You Sign Up. His comments on Google’s current terms of [...]

  51. […] newly updated TOS (Term Of Service) of Dropbox or the fineprint in Google´s TOS. You can read them here, here, here and here. Even the Washington Post commented it. Fellow Photographer Rolando Gomez […]

  52. […] • Scott Bourne — Google Plus: Read the Fine Print Before You Sign Up […]

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About scottbourne

Founder of Photofocus.com. Retired traveling and unhooking from the Internet.

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