Dropbox Terms And Conditions Update: Do They Own Your Data?

Soon after starting my studies at university, I discovered an excellent service called Dropbox. It’s like an online memory stick, which allows me to save my files to the cloud, and easily download it anywhere through the website. Best of all, the desktop client automatically downloaded my files to my computer when I got home. It saved me the hassle of having to keep track of a physical memory stick whilst travelling between home and university.

Earlier this week as a Dropbox customer I received an e-mail saying that they had changed their terms of service. As most people do, I simply gave it a passing glance and moved on. However, it was a few days later that I came across this article on Thinq which explains the complicated terms and conditions in a format that was easy for me to read and understand. It turns out that the changes that were made to the terms and conditions were actually more drastic than I had first realised.

The part of the terms and conditions highlighted by the Thinq article says that “By submitting your stuff to the Services, you grant us (and those we work with to provide the Services) worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licenseable rights to use, copy, distribute, prepare derivative works (such as translations or format conversions) of, perform, or publicly display that stuff to the extent we think it necessary for the Service. You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission.”

In simple terms, this reads as ‘we have the rights to all of your content, so we can use your images, documents, spreadsheets etc. as we see fit. Oh, and make sure that you have the rights to that content, because we don’t want to get in trouble for using ‘your’ content which is actually pirated content.’ My first reaction to this was simply to delete everything out of my Dropbox folder! I’m a university student, and the last thing I want is for some company to take my work and exploit it as their own!

However, checking out the blog post on their website you can see that they have updated their terms and conditions. The blog post on their site reads that “You retain ownership to your stuff. You are also solely responsible for your conduct, the content of your files and folders, and your communications with others while using the Services.” This now means that your content belongs to you, and you are responsible for your content. The company no longer has ownership over that content, which is a definite sigh of relief for customers.

In this case, consumers managed to escape having their data taken by companies and used by the company for whatever purposes they saw fit. If Dropbox hadn’t retracted their earlier terms and conditions, then they could have lost a lot of customers, myself included. Thankfully though it seems that it’s business as usual on this cloud based service so you can continue your usual file saving without any fear of them using your data at all.

Will you continue to use Dropbox after these changes? Are you relieved that they actually are not taking advantage of your data? Let us know in the comments below. For more tech stories that matter to you, click here.