Do you know who’s using your pictures online?

Or rather, did you realize what rights you’re giving up when you print your digital pictures?

It’s been a while since I got hardcopies (always useful for frames on the wall, wallets, and grandparents) of some Roxanne pictures, so I looked at local places I can get 1 hour prints (I’m impatient once I start).  I thought I wanted to find the cheapest major printer that I can get to easily – the two obvious choices here are CVS and Ritz.  CVS was a little cheaper (19cents with no restrictions), so I started signing up.  Fill in your email and password and get yet another darn account…  CVS outsources the photo site to a place called to do all the work, just leaving the CVS banner there.  Then I read the TOS (Terms Of Service).

Of course by default, the TOS pops up in a separate window that’s much too small to read, without a scrollbar.  And it’s an onClick link, not an href, so you have to look in the page source to see where the terms really live (hint:  Plenty of the usual legalese about their lack of responsibility for anything, which is fine.  Then I read on to this section:

You grant to the Web Site and its service providers and licensees a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, unrestricted, world-wide right and license to access, use, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, display, perform, communicate to the public, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, and otherwise use such Materials (in whole or in part) in connection with the Service, using any form, media or technology now known or later developed, without providing compensation to you…

You also grant to the Web Site and its service providers the right to use your name in connection with the Materials.

So my non-lawyerly reading of that means that any photos you upload to their site, they can then use as they wish, for any purpose ever, and even use your name.  Don’t hold your breath, but you might someday be featured in one of their ad campaigns for photo printing in the future.  Including your name, Mr/s. Blog Reader.  Sound fun?

Not liking the sound of that, I surfed over to  The TOS there at least comes up in a normal window, and has a normal URL of which states:

As a condition to your Membership, you hereby grant and the Site Host (LifePics, Inc. Based out of Boulder Colorado d/b/a/ LifePics) a perpetual, universal, non-exclusive, royalty-free right to copy, display, modify, transmit, make derivative works of and distribute your Content, solely for the purpose of providing the Service.

Here, you give up the same basic rights, but “solely for the purpose of providing the Service”, which sounds almost reasonable to me.  Obviously if they outsource bits, or display your stored pictures, they want to CYA with the basic rights there.

Contrast this all with other sites, like what flickr uses, which is for photo printing nowadays, TOS at

You hereby grant to QOOP a worldwide, transferable, nonexclusive, royalty-free, right and license to use such Content, in all media existing now or created in the future, as QOOP feels appropriate in its sole discretion, to allow you to deploy the QOOP Services to create, manufacture and purchase Products for so long as you maintain a Content QOOP LINQ to QOOP Services, house your Content in the QOOP Content database, or remain a member of QOOP. QOOP may sublicense the rights granted to it in this Section to a third party subcontractor where QOOP deems it necessary or advisable to facilitate QOOP Services. We reserve the right to excerpt your Content and make minor modifications to the Content for technical reasons and for marketing and sales materials.

Ooops, they explicitly say they can use your stuff for marketing materials.  Oh, well, I guess there aren’t many safe places anymore.

Is it just me, or does anyone else think about this stuff for licensing in their daily life?

Cassius was right

We must not confuse dissent from disloyalty. We must remember always, that accusation is not proof, and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another, we will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason. If we dig deep into our history and our doctrine, we will remember we are not descended from fearful men. Not from men who dared to write, to speak, to associate, and to defend causes that were for the moment unpopular. This is no time for men who oppose … to keep silent or for those who approve. We can deny our heritage and our history but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of the republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom where ever it still exists in the world. But we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home. The[se] actions … have caused alarm and dismay amongst our allies abroad and given considerable comfort to our enemies. And who’s fault is that? Not really his, he didn’t create this situation of fear he merely exploited it, and rather successfully. Cassius was right, the fault dear Brutus is not in our stars, but in ourselves. Good night, and good luck.

Trick quiz: when was this said?  50 years ago, or today?  Either almost works, which is a little bit scary.

We voted! (or excercised our franchise!)

Early and often!

Actually late: we usually vote after work.  In our precinct I think the only wait is the brief before-work rush.  Only 3 people ahead of us at about 6:30 tonight – we’ve never had to wait around here.

Roxanne was a hoot tonight.  We all carried flashlights – so cars can see us, as mom says – and she was very careful to remember it all night.  She actually sat with mom to vote since there was only one open spot right there.

Thank the gods for bubble-in-below paper ballots with sturdy, recognizeable optical scanners.  And many thanks to the regular crew of polling workers, some of whom I’m starting to recognize from voting here over the years.

Ballot #1136!

Your Mother is watching what you listen to

Mother – Mother USA, that is – is now offering a service to tell you when your favorite songs are coming on the radio.  I suppose this isn’t breaking news, since the company that does it is ‘patent pending’ and has a number of clients.  But it was still an interesting real world “Duh!” moment about how technology changes our world.
Basically, you subscribe and set alerts on your favorite songs, so that right before W-insert-client-station-logo-here -FM plays one of your songs, you get a text message.
Personally, I’d be happy to sign up if they paid me, since the real win is for their listener stats and advertising revenue.  But slap an enterprise-level filtering mechanisim on it (don’t text me at night, or when my phone’s on mute) and it’s an excellent example of just-in-time information delivered where the user wants.

See: (and various other branded URLs)