Blog content ownership

Hubby brought home this Information Week article for me to read: The Weblog Question.

When Mark Jen started working for Google Inc. earlier this month, one of the first things he did was create a Weblog where he discussed, among other things, his impressions of a Google sales meeting. It was too much information he soon learned, and within two days, Jen removed the sensitive material from his Web site, explaining, "I goofed."

As more professionals create Weblogs, those opinion-filled Web sites where a mix of anecdote and insight can stir interest in one person’s observations or an entire company’s strategy, the complexities and questions are beginning to surface. Who owns Weblog content? What are the risks? And how far should employees go in sharing their thoughts?

Who owns your weblog content? Do you use RSS and how does that impact copyright? Bloglines is mentioned in the article, as is Microsoft’s blog area MSN Spaces. Mark Jen was terminated by Google because of his blog content referring to his employer. I make a point not to mention my employer on my blog, the site is hosted on web space I pay for and backed up onto my home machine. Mildly freaky is the fact that the Internet Archive Wayback Machine has captured my website from March 2001 and my blog from April 2002 (though they do offer an exclude option).

Typepad’s terms of service say "You understand that all information, data, text, software, music, sound, photographs, graphics, video, messages, goods, products, services or other materials ("Content") are the sole responsibility of the person from which such Content originated. This means that you, and not Six Apart, are entirely responsible for all Content that you upload, post, transmit or otherwise make available via the Service." Blogger’s Terms of Service say "Unless stated otherwise for specific services, Member will retain copyright ownership and all related rights for information he or she publishes through Blogger or otherwise enters into Blogger-related services."

I couldn’t find terms of service for MSN Spaces (using MSN search, poking about on MSN, and the help link on MSN Spaces), only this on MSN Terms of use which may or may not relate to MSN Spaces: "For materials you post or otherwise provide to Microsoft related to the MSN Web Sites (a "Submission"), you grant Microsoft permission to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat your Submission, each in connection with the MSN Web Sites, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law." If anyone has a link to the MSN Spaces Terms of Service, please leave it in the comments as I’d like to check it out.

It’s worth checking what you signed up for when you started your blog. My stuff is mine. Whose is yours?

Update:

I signed up for an MSN Space to take a peek, and the only thing I found was in their Code of Conduct:

Microsoft is not responsible for the content or activities in any user-created, non-Microsoft managed communication service. We reserve the right to terminate your access to any MSN communication service or delete content, without notice, found to be in violation of the Code of Conduct.

Still nothing about copyright, and a search for the word copyright in their help files came up blank. The site wouldn’t let me sign up using Firefox, I had to go in with Internet Explorer.