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Content Use

Discussion in 'Debate Archives' started by Aero, Apr 14, 2012.

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    Aero Member

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    All right, so a conversation with a friend in the search for a board host has led me to a thought: should a free host be allowed to use whatever content is posted on the host royalty-free, however they please, etc? Do you believe it is immoral? Why or why not?

    As an example, a bit from Jcink's TOS:

    "Reproduction, modification, and other intellectual property rights to Content stored on the Jcink Forum Hosting will be subject to licensing arrangements that may be approved by Jcink Forum Hosting as applicable to such Content. With respect to any Content entered into and stored by Jcink Forum Hosting, the submitting user retains ownership of such Content. The submitting user grants Jcink Forum Hosting the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, distribute, perform, and display such Content (in whole or part) worldwide and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, all subject to the terms of any applicable license."
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    Lee blow up the outside world

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    It's fair enough in my eyes. Pretty sure the stipulation is less Jcink saying "IMMA IN UR FORUMZ, STEALIN' UR SUES I WANTZ THEM NAO MY PRETTIES. >:D" and more "What's yours becomes ours if you use our service because if said content pisses someone off, we must have the legal authority to take it down so we don't get our asses sued." I really doubt the Jcink people are looking to plunder your canon list for their next RPG.

    Getting back to the point. Don't like it?

    Get your own domain or whatever.

    Even if it's not an expensive proposition period, I'm aware that not everyone who wants their own domain space is in a position/has the means to acquire it. Fine. Next best thing is a free server, but since you're using the free webspace that someone else provides to you at no cost, you're obligated to follow their rules. End of story.
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    Joliene Member

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    If you don't like those term, I'd suggest never using gmail. Google's TOS gives them the right to go into your private email and post excerpts from it. Not that I've ever seen it, but it's there.

    As far as I can tell, most of these clauses (and every free service has one) actually give them the rights to use your material to promote and/or run the service better. And it is moral. If you don't want to agree, don't use it. That's why you should read a TOS. (I can't remember whether it was invisionfree's or proboard's, but I read one TOS and I will actually never join a forum on that host. It was terrible, and I won't risk anything I write there.)

    That said, I'm not convinced that these clauses would stand up in a courtroom. They are, in my opinion, over-broad and ask a disproportionate number of rights for the consideration. Courts in the US have been reluctant to completely uphold 'shrink-wrap' contracts like these. But litigating it out would be an awful lot of money.
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    The Codpiece Member

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    I thought most of the freehosts had similar TOS when it came to content.
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    Aero Member

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    "Don't like it, don't use it/get over it/whatever" isn't actually an argument so much as an attack on a person. It is basically saying, "We're going to do what we want when we want, so ***** off and get over it."
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    Lee blow up the outside world

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    ...

    Um, seriously?

    It's not an attack on anyone. It's one of the options presented to people in a scenario - as it pertains to the RP comm, an admin trying to find space to put their game - that includes rather limited choices. If you're looking to start a forum-based game, you're pretty much realistically limited to the following:

    (i) use a free commercial host and risk getting your content jacked by them. Unlikely, but whether you consider that a risk and want to do it depends on how territorial/protective/paranoid you are about your content.
    (ii) search out and find a free commercial host that won't jack your stuff. Good luck with that, by the way.
    (iii) get your own domain.
    (iv) make nice with someone who has their own domain and ask them for server space.
    (v) don't make a forum-based game.

    That's the nature of the beast. You either agree to a company's terms or you don't.
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    Aero Member

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    Yeah, actually, it is considered an attack, not an argument. I know a few people who have taken a debate class and they can certainly confirm it.
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    Darkfire Literally Voldemort

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    Aero. You have made a claim. It is your responsibility to substantiate it.

    Do so, please.
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    Aero Member

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    I have already said that it is basically saying, "Don't like it? Get over it." It does not solve the problem. If I do not like the free service's TOS, then why should I simply "sit down and shut up"? If I feel that the TOS are unnecessary, then why can't I criticize them and ask for a different TOS? Instead, I am being told "get my own domain or whatever." "Don't use it" is rarely a valid argument.

    I highly suggest searching "don't like it don't use it" on a search engine.

    http://socialmediaco...at-simple-orly/ I rather found this an interesting article.

    "What these statements have in common is that refusal is the only legitimate way to protest something one thinks is problematic, unconscionable, unethical, or immoral."

    I found that to be a particularly good quote, but I suggest reading the whole thing.
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    Darkfire Literally Voldemort

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    I agree that there are other ways to request change aside from refusal. That's not what I'm disagreeing with. I'm disagreeing with the notion that "don't like it; don't use it" is, by default, a personal attack. I, too, have taken "a debate class." In a scenario regarding policy decisions, yes, it's a useless argument. But in a scenario regarding completely voluntary, free commercial services? It's completely valid as an argument. It says "there are alternatives present, one of which is non-participation." Contrary to what you're/they're saying, "don't like it; don't use it" does not imply that there are no other options.

    If someone makes a claim that is not mutually exclusive with other claims, then it is not, by default, rejecting those other claims.

    You can quote me on that one. It's literally a tautology.

    Examples:
    Mutually Exclusive Claims: "I think abortions are wrong and should be banned!" "I think abortions are a necessary medical procedure that should not be banned!"
    Non-mutually Exclusive Claims: "If you don't like it, don't use it!" "If you don't like it, try to change it!"
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    Aero Member

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    I did not say I took a debate class myself. I said I had friends who took a debate class.

    Anyway, it is an attack in the sense that it is telling the opposition to "sit down and shut up." A personal attack? No, I would disagree with that, since I don't believe it was targeting a specific person in general, but the opposing side of the argument.

    It is saying, "Well, you just have to live with this one way of doing it." It does imply that it is the only option.

    It is entirely unrealistic, especially considering the vast majority of free hosting do have TOS like this. If I'm being told, "Don't use it," then that's basically telling me just get over it. So what if it is voluntary? There are a lot of things that are voluntary, and "don't like it; don't use it" does not solve the problem at hand: that I want to make a board on the forum's hosting, but do not want to because I do not like the idea of the service being able to do whatever they want with the content I posted without my consent. Sure, never making the board keeps the service from being able to use the content, but that leaves me with not having the board I wanted to roleplay on.
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    Darkfire Literally Voldemort

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    I didn't say, or imply, that you'd taken a debate class.

    I'm getting mixed messages, here. For our purposes, I'll assume you're going to go with your more recent statement.

    My last post addresses this explicitly. As in directly:
    So what if it's voluntary? That's tremendously important to the validity of the "don't like it; don't use it" argument. If it's not voluntary, then opting out is not an option. If it is voluntary, then you are under absolutely no obligation to use a service that has terms that you disagree with. And there are services that lack that kind of section in the TOS. Big services! Forumotion, for instance, doesn't claim any ownership or usage rights to your material. Hell, even Invisionfree! So, now that we've established easy alternatives that would still allow you to have a free RPG forum without the transference or ownership or usage rights, where is the serious argument? Why insist upon this?
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    Aero Member

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    I'm not sure where you got the idea that I'm saying that "don't use it" isn't an option. I'm saying "don't like it; don't use it" implies that not using it is the only option. In no place did I state that there was no option whatsoever. The phrase implies that opting out is the only option.

    Did you even read that blog I linked? If not, I must question why you asked me to substantiate an argument if you weren't going to read it. It does answer this question, particularly "The Civic Responsibility to Critique" and "The Cost of Opting Out."

    You seem to be assuming that these services are all equal. InvisionFree does not have as many desirable features as other forum services, nor is the tech support good, if I recall correctly. I'm trying to find information on Forumotion, not really seeing any features that stand out.
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    Darkfire Literally Voldemort

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    I'm out. I can only have circular conversations for so long. I state that it doesn't imply what you say it's implying, with a logically sound example (that is, an example in the form of a consistent logical statement). You say that it implies it again, without actually responding to the example. I repeat the example. You ignore it again.

    And yes, I did read the article, breaking my usual rule of "if you can't state the argument yourself, don't state the argument."

    EDIT: I may return if there is a discussion to be had.
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    Aero Member

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    Well, at least your condescending self is out.
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    Ruffian Beast of All Saints

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    Woah, I could see all the fun pouring out of this thread from the topic list!

    Few things.

    "Don't like it, don't use it" is a valid argument. The premise states that you find something unsavory and you have the option of opting out. The conclusion suggests that you consider that option.

    If this were my topic, I'd be more concerned about it if anyone left it at that, without explanation -- since the point of the topic wasn't to say "What should I do about this?", but to prompt a discussion as to whether or not anyone thought it was okay that it was being done. I feel like that's an important consideration to make: Aero is not asking for advice on what to do in this situation.

    However

    By the general bylaws of being a good debater or just a good conversationalist in general, you should try and follow a basic rule of generosity, where when faced with a vague answer, you should assume the best of it before the worst when you reply to it, if you want to paint yourself as a strong debater. That means that when I read the first couple of replies saying "Don't like it, don't use it," I didn't think "GOD why are they MISSING THE POINT OF THIS TOPIC!" -- because they are clearly responding to the OP's prompt on whether or not they think such a TOS is immoral. What they are saying is "No, I don't think it is immoral because--" That means that they are responding to your prompt with their opinion on the matter.

    Instead of a single line accusing them of being bad arguers or whatever because of a so-called personal attack, it would have been more conducive to the discussion at hand to respond to the actual content of their posts. Because simply pointing out that someone is making what you consider to be a logical fallacy is not partaking in a discussion. Hell, it's not even winning the argument. It's basically saying, "I have no real response here, so instead I'm going to point out a mistake I thought you made and leave it at that."

    You can't respond to an entire argument just by saying: "I detect a strawman!" or "OMG Ad hominem!"

    That is weak debate skills. If your friends taught you that, then I have to wonder what exactly they learned in that class of theirs. Because I promise you that if they'd been involved in an actual debate, the buzzer didn't sound and declare them a victor just because they sniffed out a fallacy. I'm just bringing this up because it's a very annoying thing to do and when people do it, it makes their stance look weak.

    Just because someone presents an option ("opt out") does not necessarily imply that they think or even that you should think it's the only option. If you respond to it as though that were their intent -- when intent by that party was not made clear -- then you are the one creating the false dichotomy, not them.

    It's also pretty funny that someone would complain about personal attacks and then call the opposing team condescending when they bowed out of the debate.

    To respond to the actual prompt:

    No, I don't think it's immoral. In the free world of capitalism, when you provide the service, you dictate the parameters of that service. There is nothing crucial or vital about having a forum on Jcink, or being a part of Facebook. If you want to remain dependent on a social construct that supports itself using these services, that is a personal choice. Will you get less members or not have quite the forum you invisioned by staying away from Jcink? Maybe. But that's not a social injustice by any stretch of the imagination. It's the nature of business. If anyone believes that they are truly hampered or being otherwise socially oppressed by the business tactics or the idea of "opting out," then I'd be very impressed by the fact that the quality of their life is so amazing that they have the time and energy to be really put out by the idea of opting out.

    They provide the service. You, as the consumer, make the decision to use that service or not -- and by not using the service, you send a clear message to them that some people won't be using that service. I don't think it's a question of morality so much as a decision based on the mutual needs of both parties. Does your need for the ideal forum trump your desire to have protected content? Apparently, for most people here in this thread, the answer is "yes."

    I'd be much more willing to buy this issue of morality/immorality if there was any part of Jcink's TOS that infringed upon my rights as a person. Unfortunately, there's nothing I know of out there that protects my rights to having ideas put on a forum that might be appropriated by the service provider -- and in terms of rights I'm willing to fight for, that's definitely at the bottom of my list.
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    Elijah One thing begets the next.

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    I have to agree with the "don't like it, don't use it" crowd.

    I actually feel that using the "don't like it, don't use it" argument is a bit hasty, but in this case is accurate; there is no exchange of money, you don't have anything that the host wants, and they have everything that you want (presumably). In this case, it very much is a "let the buyer beware" situation - it's free, and you get what you pay for.

    Free hosts aren't providing their service for free, they're providing their service to you so that you serve as essentially their clientele for whatever other thing they also have (ads, or whatever, depending on the company).

    In a way, you have to think very literally about what you're doing - you're putting up information that they are storing on their physical hardware on their own personal property. To make a physical comparison, even rental storage properties that you pay a monthly fee to host your physical belongings in eventually have the right to go through your belongings - to take them and sell them, even - if you fail to meet their terms. That's no different than what's going on here, really. That's the beauty of the division of labor - you don't have to host it yourself, but you do have to deal with someone else's terms as a result.
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    Chele Writer:odd being that transforms caffeine to books

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    I am also going to jump on the Don't Like it, Don't Use It band wagon and state that in this day and age, this is a completely fair option. It is not an attack on the user, it is not an attack on anyone, it is a choice based on the options given.

    When you buy a mobile phone (cellphone for Americans) you are given the choice of whether you pay for insurance. If you choose not to pay for insurance then you have no protection if someone steals your phone/it breaks/you accidentally drop it in the toilet. In a way, this is exactly the same as TOS in regard to content rules. They are telling you... there is a chance someone could take your phone/content. We're not saying it's going to happen, but we're saying it COULD happen. In the case of someone taking your phone/content, you can either pay to have protection against that by having insurance so they will send you a replacement phone/getting your own host and copy writing all content to you meaning you can sue etc. Or you can take the risk and you can not pay for insurance if your phone gets stolen, fork out your own money to buy a new one/use our free hosting without the protection.

    Unfortunately, content use TOSs are everywhere. Ever see those copy and paste statuses that zoom around Facebook every month or so regarding Facebook being able to use your photos to advertise facebook? Well it's true, they can. Same with Myspace, twitter, photobucket, tumblr, twitpic... everywhere. You are using their free service. Nobody forced anyone to agree to those TOS, but we did, therefore we can either like it, or lump it.

    However, the likelihood of them actually taking our content is miniscule. With the number of people on facebook, the number of accounts on tumblr, the number of sites on Invisionfree/proboards/Jcink, we are talking about being the one in millions, and most likely, you would never even know they did it.

    Also, Lee brought up a very good point that the content hosted on a Free host's server NEEDS to belong to them because they MUST have the authority to remove it if it is reported.

    Nobody is saying that if someone doesn't like these terms they can't have a board, what they are saying is that someone would either need to search for a host that doesn't have these TOS... or they should host themselves.

    Again going back to my mobile phone analogy... if you don't like that Orange (English mobile phone company) are going to charge you £1 a minute to call someone in America, it doesn't mean you can't have a mobile phone... it means you have to look at the other mobile phone companies like Vodafone and see if they will only charge you 50p per minute.

    In no case, whether talking about mobile phones, facebook, or a freehost board, is someone pointing a gun to someone's head and saying "Take this deal or you can't do what you want." Actually, what is happening is that every host/phone company/internet social website is laying their TOS flat out on a table for you to look at, to compare with other offers, and find the one you like best.


    Personally, they're paying for it, I think it's completely fair that they decide their own rules. Mobile phones would be a hell of a lot more expensive if you needed your own cell tower to make it work.
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    Lee blow up the outside world

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    If there was forum provider out there that offered all the perks of the licensed version at zero cost, everyone would be using it by now. :/ You get what you pay for.

    The basic problem isn't so much THE MAN IS KEEPING ME DOWN AND STEALING MY STUFF. It's more the fact that server space and software don't grow on trees. Software doesn't write itself, internet infrastructure doesn't build itself, and servers don't maintain themselves. Actual people work to create, build, and maintain a product we use for a hobby and for the most part we don't pay for it. Revenue has to come from somewhere so we can have our fun and the people who ultimately make it happen get compensated.

    Am I wild about the possibility of someone who isn't me profiting from my intellectual property? Not really. But I'm not into web design or writing as a career (in that case, the content could be part of a portfolio or something) or anything like that, I'll be the first to admit that I'm not realistically looking to profit from RPing endeavors either.
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    bohemianRHAPSODY Member

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    I'm raising the 'don't like it, don't use it' flag here, because hello--we are role players, are we not? And isn't the basic rule of being a role player that if you don't like x about a forum (say something in the rules, the genre, the plot) you don't join that forum and instead search for one to join? And if you can't find a forum that fits your terms, make your own! Same basic principle with free hosts. They are providing this service for free, which they don't have to do. But because they are, they get to lay out the ground rules of their sandbox, and if you don't like those rules then don't play in that sandbox. As has been said, you get what you pay for. That's not to say there aren't options, there are, but kicking up a stink and trying to, what, get them to change their TOS? Ain't gonna happen. Just like whining at the admins of a forum won't get them to change whatever rule is preventing you from joining. Either put up with it, or find somewhere else to play, it's that simple, and it's not an attack of any kind--it's a simple statement of fact.

    Also basically everything Darkfire, Ruffian, Elijah, Chele and Lee have said. I wanted to sound smart ok. I like my two cents.
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