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"What I know has concerned some people though is the rider at the end of Dropbox's clause about 'You must ensure you have the rights you need to grant us that permission.' Does this mean that you can only store content on Dropbox if you either created it or have licensed it on terms that allow you to copy it?
I think that the practical answer to this is that you are probably fine so long as you don't go beyond the implied scope of what you are supposed to do with the material in question. To take an example, I quite often use my Westlaw access to download a case report or journal article. Westlaw give me the option to email it to myself - an activity which necessarily creates transient and, via webmail, not-so-transient copies of the copyright work in question. But nobody else has access to those, and they are incidental to my approved use of the service. I consider that saving such reports or articles to my Dropbox folder is equally legitimate. What would not be legitimate is sharing or publishing links to them - that would be outside the scope of what Westlaw is letting me use the service for."
He specifically mentions the journal article scenario. Saving the journal articles would be legitimate in his opinion but obviously not sharing or publishing links to them.
" …By using our Services you provide us with information, files, and folders that you submit to Dropbox (together, “your stuff”). You retain full ownership to your stuff. We don’t claim any ownership to any of it. These Terms do not grant us any rights to your stuff or intellectual property except for the limited rights that are needed to run the Services, as explained below.
We may need your permission to do things you ask us to do with your stuff, for example, hosting your files, or sharing them at your direction. This includes product features visible to you, for example, image thumbnails or document previews. It also includes design choices we make to technically administer our Services, for example, how we redundantly backup data to keep it safe. You give us the permissions we need to do those things solely to provide the Services. This permission also extends to trusted third parties we work with to provide the Services, for example Amazon, which provides our storage space (again, only to provide the Services).
The new version is much clearer, I think, in stating what they're going to do and how things are affected. Does the new version assuage our concerns about synching copyrighted materials, like journal articles with the service?
"In order to enable Evernote to operate the Service, we must obtain from you certain license and other rights to the Content you submit (so that our processing, maintenance, storage, technical reproduction, back-up and distribution, and related handling of your Content doesn’t infringe applicable copyright and other laws). Accordingly, by using the Service and posting Content, you grant Evernote a license to display, perform and distribute your Content, and to modify (for technical purposes) and reproduce such Content to enable Evernote to operate the Service. (You also agree that Evernote has the right to elect not to accept, post, store, display, publish or transmit any Content in our sole discretion.) You agree that these rights and licenses are royalty free, irrevocable and worldwide, and include a right for Evernote to make such Content available to, and pass these rights along to, others with whom Evernote has contractual relationships related to the provision of the Evernote Service, solely for the purpose of providing such services, and to otherwise permit access to your Content to third parties if Evernote determines such access is necessary to comply with its legal obligations."
That's a mouthful but essentially the same idea. Earlier, Evernote's terms also say:
"Please ensure that you are mindful of the legal rights of others in copyrightable works, trademarks and service marks and their individual privacy, and do not reproduce or upload or publish Content that will violate their rights or subject you to legal liability. Evernote cannot and will not provide you legal or other advice on these issues, but will act in accordance with applicable law and in the best interests of Evernote and, in its discretion, the interests of those who use the Service. There are many legal reference sites available to you on the Internet and otherwise, and we encourage you to obtain advice from a lawyer familiar with such issues if you are unsure of your rights to upload, distribute or publish any Content."
I believe GoogleDocs also has similar terms. As far as I know, the same Dropbox terms apply whether you are paying for the service or not. It's not because the service is free. It more seems to be a poor way of phrasing things that's suddenly been noted by people but was probably there before in intention if not wording.
"The user agrees, that by making data public, the user grants LaCie a free, worldwide, non-commerical right of use of such data as well as the right of commercial use for marketing purposes in connection with Wuala. [Without agreement to the contrary, a copyright notice is to be applied and the modification of data is prohibited.]"
I suspect that was more what was intended and the whole problem arises because the Dopbox ToS is attempting to apply in one fell swoop to the variety of uses people can use Dropbox for.
I see also that people are still commenting on Dropbox's blog post that expands on their thinking and where they admit they've modified the terms in response to user feedback. The comments number over 2000 now.
I'm self-funded and working part-time on my Ph.D. Perhaps that might be an option for you to pursue? It is very difficult but people do succeed at it and it offers you the opportunity to work on a Ph.D. without needing a grant or taking on a huge debt burden. Good luck with your aspirations!
1) Do I need to have taken TT381 or the other Web Apps Development courses already?
Technically speaking, I don't think that's required, but I would prefer someone familiar with the course(s). Nevertheless, I've already had one very enthusiastic application from someone who has not taken the courses, but made a pretty compelling case for themselves.
2) How many hours are involved?
I suspect, like many OU contracts, no set number of hours are stipulated in the contract, but there's an expectation that you will be checking and reacting to the Café and other forums on at least a daily basis.
3) Is there a formal job description?
Since the jobs have never been formally advertised, I haven't seen a formal job description and I haven't seen a copy of the contract, which might have a job description attached. The job is roughly as I've described, but possibly with the addition of being a sympathetic ear too. The Café has a tradition of offering chocolate and other delightful things from time to time too.