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Chrome licence amended after copyright concerns

Google scraps 'borrowed' section 11

Following concerns over copyright implications, Google has announced it is to scrap some of the licencing agreement for its new web browser, Google Chrome (reviewed here).

The search engine has decided to remove the section from the end-user licencing agreement that gave the company "a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive licence to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any content which you submit, post or display on or through the new browser".

Several web users raised copyright and privacy concerns about portions of the licensing agreement shortly after Google launched Chrome earlier this week. Some critics suggested the language would allow Google to use any web content displayed in Chrome without getting copyright permission.

Google said it borrowed language from other products, "in order to keep things simple for our users" when it inserted the copyright provision in the Chrome licence.

"Sometimes, as in the case of Google Chrome, this means that the legal terms for a specific product may include terms that don't apply well to the use of that product," Rebecca Ward, senior product counsel for Chrome, said. "We are working quickly to remove language from Section 11 of the current Google Chrome terms of service. This change will apply retroactively to all users who have downloaded Google Chrome."

In addition to the perpetual copyright granted to Google in section 11, the licence allowed the company to "make such content available to other companies, organisations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such content in connection with the provision of those services".

That language comes from Google's universal terms of service, the company said.

The wording lead to a copyright debate on Slashdot.org, although one poster noted that Slashdot's parent company, SourceForge, uses similar language in some licence agreements.

NEXT PAGE: More implication of Chrome's licensing agreement

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