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March 14, 2005
IM as performance art
AOL raised a few eyebrows recently with some quiet changes to its Terms of Service. Although it has attempted to 'clarify' its position that the ToS don't apply to AIM, the fundamental problem still remains - the content belongs to AOL, not to you. You have no copyrights to your fiction, no trademarks in your online business ideas, no patentable notions in your invention drawings, if you put any of it onto AOL's net. AOL owns it all and can "reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote" it at will.
My intuition is that the other big online services have ToS that are equally privacy- and IP-hostile but today is AOL's turn under the kleiglight.
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