Those currently living in the UK are probably used to seeing talk of U-turns, especially those mentioned in the papers. So news of the latest U-turn by file hosting company Dropbox may not come as too much of a surprise, especially if you saw the original changes to their terms and conditions and the furore it caused.
Earlier this month, Dropbox made amendments to their Terms and Conditions by adding the following:
“By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent reasonably necessary for the Service.”
Due to what Dropbox have now stated on their blog as language that was more “technical than it needed to be”, they have revised their terms and conditions to be more transparent. However, this mishap has come at the cost of a few disgruntled customers and possibly denting their credibility. A certain Pro User from the community let their feelings known:
“Dropbox needs to back down from this very, very quickly. … It’s almost certainly an idiot lawyer who drafted the terms without giving it enough thought but, if this gets imposed on the 15th of July, there’s going to be an awful lot of people leaving the service …”
Since their original Terms and Conditions update, Dropbox have stated that they’ve never been interested in “rights broader than what we need to run Dropbox”. However, it’s obvious that this wasn’t made abundantly clear in their original Terms and Conditions.
Dropbox have as mentioned updated their Terms and Conditions to be in what they believe “plain language” and have re-written the Terms “from scratch”:
“You retain ownership of your stuff. You are solely responsible for your conduct, the content of your files and folders, and your communications with others while using the Services.” They added that users only grant Dropbox license to use customer data “solely to enable us to technically administer, display and operate the services.”
As you can see, quite a dramatic change of words. Evidently worried by the loss and anger of their customers, they’ve made it as clear as possible in their amendment of the one vital point raised by their clients – whom the ‘stuff’ belongs to.