Victory in People vs Yahoos!

Anitra Freeman (anitra@speakeasy.org)
Thu, 8 Jul 1999 18:51:43 -0700 (PDT)


A great public outcry *does* get results.  Last week Yahoo attempted to
change the Terms of Service at Geocities, a large fee-webspace provider
that they had recently acquired, to the most exploitative terms that had
ever been attempted on the Web.  An immediate uproar among long-time
Geocities users got media attention and created a great deal of heat for
Yahoo.  On Tuesday, July 6th, Yahoo changed their ToS entirely.  The
relevant clause now reads:

"Yahoo does not claim ownership of the Content you place on your Yahoo
GeoCities Site. By submitting Content to Yahoo for inclusion on your
Yahoo GeoCities Site, you grant Yahoo the world-wide, royalty-free, and
non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the
Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting
your Yahoo GeoCities Site on Yahoo's Internet properties. This license
exists only for as long as you continue to be a Yahoo GeoCities
homesteader and shall be terminated at the time your Yahoo GeoCities
Site is terminated."

This changes the Yahoo ToS from one of the most abusive to one of the
best, ranking along with Tripod as one of the few Terms of Service that
explicitly acknowledge ending with the closing of the account.

Many low-income web-users, grassroots groups and other non-profits use
free webservers.  Please read your Terms of Service carefully  to make
sure that you retain control of what happens to content you post on
your website, or through your email provider.  And never think that your
only options to bad terms of Service are to accept it or cancel the
service.  Yahoo's ToS amendments were suggested for them by homesteaders
on Geocities who organized a protest boycott.  Every person *does* have
an effect.  "Free services" want youraccount, beuuase they make money
from it.  You are important to them.  Make sure their service stays
honest.


Write On! / Anitra L. Freeman /
"Never doubt that a small group of imperfect people can improve the
world--indeed they are the only ones who ever have." Not Margaret Mead