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Are you a podcaster who was wary of the Anchor podcasting app due to their terms of service? I’m happy to report that they’ve made an important change.
Last April I was looking for a new place to host my podcast. Several people recommended the Anchor podcasting app, and while I really wanted to try their platform, their terms of service made me really uncomfortable. I would be uploading three years of almost-weekly content to my new host, and according to Anchor’s terms, not only could they do whatever they wanted to with my content, they could keep using it however they wanted even if I took my content down and stopped using the service. That seemed completely unreasonable to me, so I kept looking. And I wrote about what I’d found in their TOS in order to warn others.
Well, the terms must have seemed unreasonable to other people too, because I’m happy to report that the Anchor podcasting app has made a significant change to its TOS.
Most notably, the company no longer claim that it can continue to use your content if you take it down and stop using the service (or if the service itself ceases to exist).
Here’s what the terms said on April 5th, 2018, as I was preparing to write my original post:
“Such license shall survive the termination of your Account or the Services.”
Here’s what they’ve now added:
“However, you are free at any time to remove your User Content from the Services, in which case the above licenses with respect to such User Content stored in the Services or otherwise controlled by Anchor will terminate within a commercially reasonable time after such removal from the Services.”
I’m not sure when this particular change was made. The TOS was last changed on August 9th, but I haven’t looked at it since I wrote the post in the spring. At any rate, it now says that you can remove your content and that will cancel licenses you had given for them to use your content however they wanted. I didn’t check into the process of removing your content, since I’ve never used the service, but the inclusion of that language implies that removing your content is possible.
I also found this addition to the TOS interesting, since it echoed a lot of the pushback that I got from other podcasters:
“The above license grant is very similar to and generally modeled after the terms of many established content platforms that you have likely used. We encourage you to contact us if you have any questions about what our license grant means or how it impacts you.”
I agree, the license is similar to many other established content platforms…now. It wasn’t before (and that claim wasn’t there before, either). Other podcasters would argue with me that I’ve given away those same rights on multiple platforms. But as someone who reads the terms before signing, I can tell you that there was always an important difference in the TOS that made me OK with it. Either I was signing away rights in exchange for monetization, or I could change my mind later if I didn’t like how my content was being used. Now, Anchor falls in line with the second one: if they do something I don’t like with my content, I can scoop up my marbles and go home. I think that’s reasonable, and am now giving the Anchor podcasting app a second look.