The IPKat hasn't yet ventured from the homely comfort of his Microsoft Explorer in order to sample the untold pleasures of Chrome, the new Google-owned internet browser that has taken the world by surprise. Usually with anything to do with his computer, the Kat likes to wait till the software sorts itself out and the bugs are removed. In this case, however, it's not the software that has the bugs but the terms of the copyright licence under which users are permitted to use Chrome. According to the BBC today, Google has already rescinded one of the provisions of its user agreement. The initial agreement -- which presumably passed muster with the lawyers only two short days ago -- informed users that Google claimed rights over "any Content which you submit, post or display on or through" the browser. Yesterday Google reworded this text, kindly leaving those rights in the hands of Chrome's users. Apparently the rogue text was a bit of document that had been imperfectly recycled from another agreement; its inclusion was an "oversight".
The full text of the offending bit of the User Licence Agreement (EULA) originally demanded
"a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services."
The IPKat is soooo pleased that Google has changed its mind. If it had not, and the Kats had switched to Chrome, the entire content of this weblog would have been put at the mercy of Google for more purposes than they could twitch a whisker at. The amended version instead suggests that users "retain copyright and any other rights" that they already hold on the content they submit or display using the browser. Those with long memories, or with short ones that have not yet been wiped clean, will recall a similar controversy surrounding the EULA for Google Docs, its online word processing and spreadsheet programs. Google initially claimed similarly wide-ranging rights, but eventually reworded the agreement in response to users' concerns.
Merpel remains displeased. Presumably a lot of people agreed to the original term before Google tweaked it. If later Google should wish to cash in on its worldwide non-exclusive licence, what might happen ...?