tos

Terms and conditions of service are a part of daily life now in the technology era, yet hardly anyone ever takes the time to read them or even think about them (I myself cannot remember reading a single one in my entire life). Most haven’t considered how these agreements could negatively affect them. For example, in an examination of the 8 worst terms of service ever published on May 13th, 2014 CNN Money highlights LinkedIn, which is an extremely well-regarded and highly used professional networking social network, as having one of the most extreme terms of service out there. Basically the terms give the company the right to claim anything shared on the site, directly or indirectly, and use it however they like (including for profit). In the articles summary of LinkeIn’s terms of service, the author states that “A 91-word sentence of legal mumbo jumbo in LinkedIn’s terms of service, says the social network has permission to do whatever it wants with your stuff.”

Many different applications and different types of software are used by students and educators both inside and outside of the classroom. Many of these are obligatory for certain classes, and students (and teachers) are therefore obligated to agree to the terms of service that accompany them. While federal law states that students possess the rights to all content they create, the terms of service that students agree to could possibly claim the right to use the students content in any way they see fit. Due to this, I believe that it is a schools responsibility to ensure that students maintain the sole rights to all of the content that they create and that companies are not allowed to “steal”, albeit legally, students’ works. If for some reason this is not possible, then schools must at least state so very clearly at a bare minimum.

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