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CHAT: Yahoo and Geocities (Fw: )

From:Gustavo Eulalio <guga@...>
Date:Thursday, July 1, 1999, 16:08
        I received the following message this morning.

        Gustavo Eulalio

Forwarded by Gustavo Eulalio <guga@...>
---------------- Original message follows ----------------
 From: John Walker <jwalker@...>
 Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 00:07:50

Breaking News: Yahoo: Your Homestead's Your Own (US)

by Declan McCullagh

In response to a boycott and criticism from outraged customers,
Yahoo late Wednesday abandoned rules that had given it eternal
ownership of all Geocities Web sites.

"We're seeing how we can clarify our intentions, given the recent
outcry," said Tim Brady, Yahoo vice president of production.

The new terms of service, which took effect 3 p.m. PST Wednesday
after executives spent the morning huddling with lawyers, now stress
that "Yahoo does not own content you submit."

The company said that Yahoo will use customers' intellectual
property only when displaying it on Web sites and for promotion and

Many Geocities homesteaders worried that Yahoo could take their Web
pages and republish them -- even in another form, which the contract
allowed, such as books or CD-ROMs. Customers still had the right to
publish or distribute their intellectual property themselves.

Experts say the changes are poorly drafted, but conclude that Yahoo
has seriously constrained its ability to republish members' content.

"The addition is a significant limitation on what they can do. They
can still reproduce, publish, translate, but can only do that for
certain purposes," said David Post, professor of law at Temple

"If they took my Web site and printed it out and published it as a
book, they can't do that on the basis of this license," said Post,
who teaches intellectual property law.

That's exactly what Yahoo has said all along. "Clearly our intention
is not to publish books," Brady said. "Hopefully, with the language
we're looking at, it will be very clear to our users that that is
not the case."

Brady said Yahoo's rules were in place before it bought Geocities,
though he conceded they were not written with Web hosting services
in mind.

"If we took a snapshot of our business today, we could make
paragraph eight [in the terms of service] more narrow," he said. "But
we all know how quickly the Web moves and everything's in flux. We
need the flexibility to adapt our services."

When Geocities homesteaders recently learned that Yahoo said it owns
all Web pages, articles, and images on member sites and has
"irrevocable" rights to them for all time, the response was quick
and furious.

"I did not spend the time to create unique content for my friends,
family, or anyone else who might be interested in my home page only
to have the fruit of my efforts appropriated by Yahoo/GeoCities,"
Geocities member Wes Kim wrote in an email to Wired News. "What
incentive is there for home page creators to generate rich content?"

Some disappointed homsteaders launched a boycott.

"Stop using Yahoo. Boycott them, and all of their properties. This
includes, and Don't buy
products from merchants at and let them know
why!" the organizers said.

Under the old terms of service, site owners had to give Yahoo a
"royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully
sublicensable right and license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt,
publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute,
perform and display such content" in any form or media.