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Mixi revises ToU to exploit users March 4, 2008

Posted by fukumimi in Internet, Japan.

New (revised) Mixi Terms of Use have been announced as coming into effect on April 1st. (Mixi is of course Japan’s #1 SNS site with 10million+ users)

By agreeing to the ToU (which all users implicitly do by continuing to using the service):

1. Users grant Mixi a no-royalty, non-exclusive rights (of replication, broadcasting, public transmission, display, distribution, translation, alteration, etc) to any content uploaded onto Mixi servers.

2. Users agree not to assert their moral rights against Mixi. [Moral rights include the right of attribution, the right to have a work published anonymously or pseudonymously, and the right to the integrity of the work. source:Wikipedia]

When the new ToU comes into effect, the terms will apply retroactively to content uploaded before the changes to the ToU.

What this means is that Mixi can take any content (not just diary or community posts but also private correspondance via the message feature), ignore any access controls which are in effect within Mixi and potentially profit from content created by users.

However, the responsibility for the content remains with the original content owner….

I wonder if the user community will revolt and cause Mixi to back down on this blatant attempt to exploit its user base. In any case, my Mixi account will be deleted by the end of March unless they reconsider this change to their ToU.

As a publicly traded company, you would think they’d think things through before they dropped a bomb like this which would alienate their users. I can see why Mixi wants to leverage (exploit, given the currently proposed terms) the potential of the user generated content created by its 10million+ community, but this seems to be a heavy handed and ill-thought out way to achieve it.

But I guess they are in good company. Gree (Japan’s #2 SNS)’s ToU isn’t much better in this area. Facebook’s ToU in this area is similarly dubious.

What part of “users should own their own data” don’t the SNS operator community not understand? Just imagine if ISPs or phone companies or the post office asserted similar rights….