Rephrasing Case 183 "You maintain ownership of your data"

The current title of the case is You maintain ownership of your data and is in the Topic Ownership (ToS;DR Phoenix)

I suggest changing it to "You maintain ownership of your content"

and adding the following description:

This service does not claim ownership over user-generated content and the user doesn't need to waive any moral rights by posting owned content.

The topic and the weight would remain unchanged


Services like Facebook and Google do not claim ownership over user-generated content, although in my opinion they collect incredible amounts of data and excessively use and share it.

As a result, I’d say using these services means loosing ownership of your data, but not of your content.

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I agree with everything, except with the last sentence here.

What is the distinction between “data” and “content” here? Is there a clearly agreed upon definition of data and content, or even a legal one, that can be evoked here?

Some jurisdictions, like in the European Union and in Brazil, do have a sui generis database right, so that could be the one governing data, while copyright governs content. Some licensing schemes like Creative Commons attempt to cover all grounds in a single license.

What services from Big Tech usually do is not to claim ownership of your data, but require in their ToS that the user gives them a very generous license to the data. That is the legal ground that allows them to do what may be considered shady practices with the data, but that is different from claiming ownership. When you license out your content or data instead of handing over ownership, you too can still use your own content or data (in the legal sense, although it might be technically difficult to extract the data out of the service, but that is another matter), you can license it out to other third parties (if the license was non-exclusive), you keep your moral rights over it (many jurisdictions prohibit waiving moral rights), etc.

So I’d say you don’t lose ownership of the data, but you do completely lose control over how the data is used.

To make it clear, I do agree with the proposed change of wording of the case. When a case is changed like that, does it mean that we have to evaluate every point that uses that case? I suppose so.


I’d say that ‘content’ implies an ownership; ‘data’ not necessarily so. If I write down on a piece of paper “so-and-so has red hair” that’s my data, in that all errors (for instance) can be attributed to me; it doesn’t become so-and-so’s just because it’s about them. On the other hand, if they hand me a piece of paper that says “I have red hair”, the entire sentence therein is their content, even if it also encodes a piece of data.

I think the sweat of the brow rights are a separate issue. But I also think you are right that grounding any distinction we make in more univerally-accepted terms would be helpful for reuse of ToS;DR’s annotations; Agnes’ recommendations seem aligned with that since they simply make less assumptions about the relationship between the service and the user (so I support the edits).

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I applied the change and re-evaluated each point linked to it.

The topic has raised an interesting debate! I’d keep it open for now to let other people express their opinion on this. :wink: