Terms of Service: “Contradictory” & “Confusing”

We just read the updated Terms of Service for nationalgeographic.com, and we must confess that we’re totally baffled. Here’s why:

Sentence 1, Section 5 of Intellectual Property Issues, says (and this is a paraphrase): All the stuff you share on the Society’s web site still belongs to you.

Sentences 2 through 5 (paraphrased): All the stuff you share on the Society’s web site really belongs to us, and we can do whatever we want with it, now and forever, in this universe, and in all alternate or parallel universes, and in every existing or yet-to-be created space-time continuum. We can also take your pictures and plaster them on t-shirts, or greeting cards, or the side of a fondue pot — and all you can do is watch. Or buy the pot. Your call.

Here’s the original legalese:

5. For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in material you upload, comments you post, or other content you provide to the Site (“User Content”). By uploading User Content, you grant National Geographic (which includes its subsidiaries, affiliates, joint venturers, and licensees) the following rights: a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual license to display, distribute, reproduce, and create derivatives of the User Content, in whole or in part, without further review or participation from you, in any medium now existing or subsequently developed, in editorial, commercial, promotional, and trade uses in connection with NG Products. National Geographic may license or sublicense, in whole or in part, to third parties rights in User Content as appropriate to distribute, market, or promote such NG Products. An NG Product is defined as “a product of National Geographic, a subsidiary, affiliate, joint venturer, or licensee of National Geographic, in any language, over which National Geographic has “Editorial Control.” For the purposes of this Agreement, “Editorial Control” means the right to review, consult regarding, formulate standards for, or to exercise a veto over the appearance, text, use, or promotion of the NG Product. You also agree that National Geographic may make User Content available to users of the Site who may display and redistribute it in the same way that National Geographic makes all other Content available.

If there are any lawyers out there who can decipher what this really means, please let us know. (We’d especially love someone to explain those first two words: For clarity….)

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≡  clip art via The Mouth Marathon

  • Ethel Starbird

    Well how else do you expect them to afford to produce best of NGM.com cute kitty books, calendars and toilet paper? Selling Weezer flying dogs is the goal.

    • David Jeffery

      Ethel: Perfect! Now if Mary Smith would only weigh in.

      • I love this idea, Dave. Various commenters could assume the identities & personas of various NG legends (the flesh-and-blood kind). Ghosts of Geographics Past….

        WWLS? (What Would Luis [Marden] Say?) And how would Ethel respond? “Also starring: Al Royce & Larry Kohl as… Themselves.”

        Let the conversation begin!

  • Ethel Starbird

    Well how else do you expect them to afford to produce best of NGM.com cute kitty books, calendars and toilet paper? Selling Weezer flying dogs is the goal.

    • David Jeffery

      Ethel: Perfect! Now if Mary Smith would only weigh in.

      • I love this idea, Dave. Various commenters could assume the identities & personas of various NG legends (the flesh-and-blood kind). Ghosts of Geographics Past….

        WWLS? (What Would Luis [Marden] Say?) And how would Ethel respond? “Also starring: Al Royce & Larry Kohl as… Themselves.”

        Let the conversation begin!

  • Ethel Starbird

    I can see an entire National Geographic “Christmas Carol”

    Alexander Graham Bell as the ghost of Geographic past

  • Ethel Starbird

    I can see an entire National Geographic “Christmas Carol”

    Alexander Graham Bell as the ghost of Geographic past

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