AOL Making A Grab At Customer IM Content

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UPDATE! 3/15/2005
There has been a clarification to the article in eWeek by a representative at AOL. Check out this link: Their waiver evidently pertains to content as it is posted into public sections and not to private IM messages. Whew!

Perhaps I should have chosen to become a lawyer. Who thinks of this stuff?

Take a look at this article from eWeek:,1759,1775649,00.asp

“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,”

“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,”

Open source is sounding pretty good about now when you consider all of the crazy things corporations are puting into their EULAs. Cant we all just get along? Perhaps not. In this legalized-to-the-max society, and in the land of the Patriot Act, AOL must want to be able to hand over the transcripts of all IM conversations with the minimum of hassels, if any government agency requests it.

It is a shame really. AOL has been doing some cool stuff lately. Bundling antivirus, PC Health checks, and internet telephone into their service. I thought those were great ideas. AOL charges a premium charge, and they were starting to bundle premium services. I imagine they are very welcome to people who write letters and want to surf the internet, but are not technically savvy. Bravo to AOL for that. This EULA stuff though. Oy.

I used to be an AOL subscriber in the days of Compuserve, Prodigy, and AOL. I left when they could not filter out the spam mail back in 1997. Wow. That seems like forever ago. (We still can’t filter out spam mail)

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