Um, there's one very, VERY big problem with the change....
(By the way, I have asked our attorney, who is an intellectual property specialist, about what I've written here, and he agrees this is how it looks to him as well.)
If you read the old agreement, AT&T's rights to content were restricted to what they defined as "publicly accessible areas" such as "message boards, forums..." and so on (see previous section 24 below). That definition did not include Personal Web Pages.
There was a separate section that covered content on Personal Web Pages that made it clear content on your personal page was yours alone, and you retained all rights to it, regardless of the type of content (graphics, text, video, etc.). Your personal web page was not considered a "publicly accessible area" (see previous Section 11 below)
Now, I think it's ridiculous anyway that AT&T thinks it's acceptable to grab ownership of materials posted in its forums.
But it's COMPLETELY unacceptable if, in fact, a subscriber's personal web page content is now being lumped in with publicly accessible material under the new Policy.
The most suspicious and disturbing part of the new Legal Policy is that it still refers to "publicly accessible material," but that term is NO LONGER DEFINED, nor is there any mention of personal web pages AT ALL.
I would hope that just means AT&T's attorneys have been careless and sloppy with their editing and proofreading.
If not, every AT&T customer should find out IMMEDIATELY if their personal web page is now considered a "publicly accessible area".
If Personal Web Pages ARE now considered "publicly accessible areas," then customers are suddenly required to give AT&T a legal license to any written content on their web pages - content that they previously retained ALL rights to - AND to any other individual's content posted on your site - meaning AT&T would be able to use materials that you posted with the creator's permission WITHOUT HAVING TO OBTAIN PERMISSION FROM THE ORIGINAL CREATOR EITHER.
Since AT&T is not required to notify customers of changes to the Legal Policy, this would mean that - unbeknownst to the customer - a story, poem, technical article, joke, script, etc. - could be used by AT&T in a television commercial, company brochure - or any other way AT&T wishes - with no recourse, no royalties paid, no use fee paid, whether the material is copyrighted or not, and whether or not the customer is even the owner.
AT&T needs IMMEDIATELY to edit the Legal Policy to restore the definition of "publicly accessible areas." A legal contract should not - indeed, usually may not - include an undefined term.
If the definition DOES now include Personal Web Pages, customers should then start writing, calling, and e-mailing AT&T to protest - or taking their web pages, and their business, elsewhere.
Until AT&T posts a policy with "publicly accessible areas" defined, I personally would delete any personal web page. And they can be sure I will never be posting in their forums, or any other public area there.
OK, AT&T, give us a definition and an answer!!!!!
BTW, I'm copying this note to every AT&T contact I can find, and let's hope they'll clear this up fast. If they've done this intentionally, and personal web pages are now considered publicly accessible areas, I also plan to copy every regulatory agency they are subject to. Considering companies' objections to having their own intellectual property stolen, that a company would attempt to do what appears to be essentially the same to its customers via what seems to be an unannounced policy change is a little hypocritical.
Also: any possibility the Policy change might have something to do with this? Yet another item to complain to AT&T about: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/18/eff_sues_bush/
OLD VERSION: 24. Grant of License
OLD VERSION: 11. Personal Webpages
AT&T may make personal Webpages available as an optional feature of its AT&T Internet Service. If you subscribe to such feature the following provisions of this Section shall apply (in addition to the other provisions of this Agreement):
a. AT&T may provide a listing/link to users' personal Webpages on its AT&T Internet Service gateway or other mechanisms. By subscribing to the personal Webpage feature, you authorize and grant AT&T the right to use your name, Website address and similar information in such listing or directory sites or applications. You may use the complete address (URL) granted to you as part of the personal Webpage feature (which may have names or marks of AT&T embedded therein) so long as you are obtaining the personal Webpage feature from AT&T hereunder, but only for the purpose of identifying the location of your personal Website on AT&T 's Service. Otherwise, you shall not utilize the name or any marks of AT&T or any of its affiliates in any press releases, promotional materials or other commercial manner without the express prior written approval of AT&T in each instance.
b. Ownership of all graphics, text or other information or content materials supplied or furnished by you for incorporation into or delivery through your personal Website shall remain with you (or the party which supplied such materials to you). Ownership of any software developed or modified by AT&T and all graphics, text or other information or content materials supplied or furnished by AT&T for incorporation into your personal Website, shall remain with AT&T (or the party which supplied such materials to AT&T ), and may be used only while you are obtaining the personal Webpage feature from AT&T . The domain name and address (URL) granted to you for use with the personal Webpage feature shall remain the property of AT&T , shall be used by you only so long as you are obtaining the personal Webpage feature from AT&T hereunder, and may be subject to change by AT&T or the InterNIC or other applicable Internet domain name registry or granting authority from time to time. AT&T reserves the right to approve the subscriber Uniform Resource Locator (URL's) that will be used in conjunction with a AT&T registered domain name and personal Webpage feature. URL's registered using a AT&T owned domain name are nontransferable by subscribers upon account termination and will be retained by AT∓T
c. You acknowledge and agree: (i) that the primary function of AT&T 's personal Webpage feature as it relates to your personal Website is to facilitate access by end users to the information provided through your personal Website; (ii) that AT&T has no proprietary, financial, or other interest in any of the content or information that may be described in or made available through your personal Website; and (iii) that you are solely responsible for the content, quality, performance, and all other aspects of the information or other content contained in or provided through your personal Website. You warrant that you will own or have the right to use and offer all such information or other content in the manner in which the same will be used, offered or provided in connection with your personal Website. You shall indemnify and hold harmless AT&T from and against any and all claims, demands, actions, causes of action, suits, proceedings, losses, damages, costs, and expenses, including reasonable attorneys fees, arising from or relating to your personal Website or an end user's use thereof, or any act, error, or omission of yours in connection therewith, including, but not limited to, matters relating to incorrect, incomplete, or misleading information; libel; invasion of privacy; infringement of a copyright, trade name, trademark, service mark, or other intellectual property; or violation of any applicable law.