Hipstamatic have responded to criticism from users over their Terms of Service – the Hipstamatic 200 update brought a highly anticipated new lens, to get it one had to sign up for an account which meant that a lot of people were seeing the Terms of Service for the first time.
The main troublesome passage is as follows:
You grant to Hipstamatic the unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual fully-paid and royalty-free right and license to host, use, copy, distribute, reproduce, disclose, sell, resell, sublicense, display, perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, modify, make derivative works from, retitle, reformat, translate, archive, store, cache or otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content to which you have contributed, for any purpose whatsoever, in any and all formats; on or through any and all media, software, formula or medium now known or hereafter known; and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed and to advertise, market and promote same.
Understandably some users took issue with the all encompassing license Hipstamatic were being granted, but Hipstamatic are on top of the situation and have been responding to questions and posts on the matter.
They are a team of six, mostly artists and creative types, and they actually seem quite taken aback that anyone would think they were trying to pull a fast one.
They cobbled their Terms of Service together by examining the ToS of larger sites, and as such have covered all their bases, the result being a little overkill.
I for one forgive them, and praise their handling of the situation.
If you have been worried by the kerfuffle regardin the ToS, rest assured Hipstamatic have stated that you always remain the owner of your photos no matter what, and secondly the over-arching license only applies to content uploaded to contests or the HipstaMart for printing. You can sign up for an account, download the FreePak and as long as you don’t upload to contests or HipstaMart the license never comes into effect.
I don’t for a second think any of this was caused by ulterior motives of any kind, but that said, the Terms of Service could definitely do with improvements.
Hipstamatic are having their legal people review the ToS and hopefully improvements will be made. Personally I would very much like to see the legalese simplified (perhaps they should talk to Alan Siegal!) and the license restricted to the specific requirements of competitions and printing. Competitions have a requirement for display and distribution for their online leaderboards and the real world exhibitions, and according to Hipstamatic printing requires a license to reproduce and sell the work (back to you).
With printing in particular, I would like to see the required license to be restricted to the duration of the print job, ending when the package is shipped to me.
Competition licenses could be similarly refined, certainly I see no need for a license for creation of derivative works under any circumstance, but for me the printing license is the more important one to get right. I have had Hipstamatics printed by a few places, but the best results I’ve had so far were via the Hipstamart. I would love to have peace of mind that the only license I was giving Hipstamatic was to print my photos, charge me for the service and post me the photos. Nothing more.
I look forward to seeing what comes of the review of the terms.