IT Excuse Generator

Add to Google

March 12, 2005

Goodbye AIM

AOL has changed their Terms of Service for AIM. They now include the right for AOL to use anything and everything you send through AIM in any way they see fit.

A sample passage: posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy.

I'm refusing to use AIM from here out. If you AIM me you will get this message: Since AOL has changed their Terms of Service to allow them to use anything and everything you send through AIM in any way they see fit, I can no longer use their service.

Update Mon, March 14, 2005: Slashdot has posted the following:
America Online tells the Houston Chronicle's TechBlog that, despite a recent Slashdot posting to the contrary, AOL Instant Messenger's terms of service do not imply that the company has the right to use private IM communications, and the section quoted in the Slashdot article applies only to posts in public forums -- a common provision in most online publishers' terms of service. AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein says flatly: 'AOL does not read person-to-person communications.' He also says AIM communiques are never stored on AOL's hard drives.

But it couldn't have been put better than maotx put it, "We're not evil. We promise. Trust us. Just because we say we can doesn't mean we will."

Update Tue, March 15, 2005: Slashdot has posted the following:
AOL has responded to the recent slashdot attention. America Online Inc. plans to make three small but significant modifications to the terms of service for its AIM instant messaging product to head off a firestorm of privacy-related criticisms. The tweaks to the terms of service will be made in the section titled "Content You Post" and will explicitly exclude user-to-user chat sessions from the privacy rights an AIM user gives up to AOL.

AOL has done the right thing for once and I now have no reason to be afraid to use the AIM service.

Posted in Main by usrbingeek at 2005-03-12 12:30 ET (GMT-5) | 4 Comments | Permalink


Are you sure none of the other services don't have a similar clause buried somewhere in their license agreements too?

Posted by: Joe at March 12, 2005 05:11 PM

As of yet, the other services have not added clauses that grant them the non-revokable ownership of your words. AOL is taking an extreme position that no one should have to accept.

Posted by: C. Doctrow at March 12, 2005 11:24 PM

Hey usr,

I was following this one as well...

Still a little scary. Seems you are a few paces in fromt of me agian. Thanks for the enlightenment... again.


Posted by: Lumpy at March 19, 2005 08:03 AM

big brother is watching you, but at least they ain't kicking you off of the AIM network.

Posted by: J. R. Hartley at March 20, 2005 07:48 PM

This web site is provided "as is" with no representations or warranties, and confer no rights. We are not liable for omissions or typographical errors contained in the content. Use at your sole risk.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily represent any other entity or party we may have a connection or affiliation with.
usrbingeek, usr bin geek,, #!/usr/bin/geek are trademarks of usrbingeek LLC. All other trademarks and tradenames are property of their respective owners.