Google Chrome and that damned EULA

Submitted by Gold on Wed, 09/03/2008 - 14:21

Chrome LogoSo, Chrome has been released and from all reports it's a pretty impressive piece of software.  There seems to be a lot if debate over the EULA and its rather God-like claim of ownership of any and all content sent or displayed in the browser.  In the context of a Web browser the EULA is just insane.

From the article at ReadWriteWeb:
The terms include a section giving Google "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." That seems pretty extreme for a browser, doesn't it?

I have two main thoughts on this;

  1. Looking at the EULA (check the above links for the relevant clauses) it looks like it may have been pretty much cut, paste, search and replace from their standard SaaS offerings.  e.g. Docs, Gmail, etc.  The EULA makes sense in that context. 
  2. There seems to be little focus on the term "display" in the above snippet of the EULA.  Doesn't this mean that most websites will be unusable?  Picture this; I'm using Chrome to browse CNN.  By virtue of browsing the site and displaying it's content using Chrome I am giving Google "a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute" this content.  The only relationship I have with CNN is that of a reader.  I have no account there, no employment status, no right to transfer copyright on their content at all.  Does this make it illegal for me to browse their site using Chrome?

This raises another interesting point.  If point 2 is correct does this mean, that in order to retain our own copyright on our own content we're going to have to start checking to see if Chrome is the browser being used, and if so, present a splash page explaining about our desire not to give Google the rights they're demanding on our content?

My personal opinion on this is that I'd like to think that Google have just stuffed up a little here and that all the hoo-hah over the EULA will draw their attention to it pretty quick and that they'll agree with the masses when we say "The Chrome EULA is insane".