Widget Creators, you have nothing to lose but your chains!

May 6, 2007

One line of questioning we have been asked on our Forum relates to understanding the rights of widget creators over their created widgets once they are submitted to the Chumby Network. 

Simple: you own them and have total control over what happens to them.  Completely. 

Here’s where this specific issue is addressed on our Terms of Use:

“3. Proprietary Rights

Chumby does not claim ownership in any Content that you post on the Website, that you provide or make otherwise available to us, but in order to provide you and the other Registered Users with the Services, we need certain rights to such Content, as set forth below in Subsection 3.1. In return, we also grant you certain use rights to the Content that Chumby (or its licensors) owns and uses to provide the Services to you, as set forth below in Subsection 3.3.

3.1 Your Content. By posting any Content through the Services (either directly or by providing a link to such Content) or by providing or making available such Content to Chumby in any way, you hereby grant to Chumby, an unrestricted non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, perform, display, and distribute such Content throughout the world. For each Widget you post, this license will terminate when you remove your Widget using the process described in Section 3.2 and it is no longer available via the Chumby Network; otherwise this license is perpetual and irrevocable. No compensation will be paid with respect to the Content that you submit, upload, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services. You should only upload, provide or make available Content to the Services that you are comfortable sharing with others under the terms and conditions set forth herein. You acknowledge and agree that Chumby may create Content that is similar to the Content that you have created, or based on your Content.

3.2 Removal of Your Widgets. You may remove Widgets you post through the Services at any time. To remove your Widgets, visit the Uploaded Widgets page of the Website and select “delete” with respect to the Widget you are removing. Within a reasonable time after you make that election, the Widget will no longer be available to other Registered Users via the Chumby Network. ”

So, in other words, when you post your created widget to the Chumby Network so others can view it, you issue us a non-exclusive license to enable this distribution.  And, if you elect in the future not to make your widget available over our network, you can simply delete it and, poof, it’s gone.  The reason it’s this easy is because, outside of temporary local caches that refresh from time-to-time, chumbys never actually retain copies of your widgets — when a chumby device fetches a widget for display, it has to pull it down from our servers on the Chumby Network.  And if you’ve deleted it, it’s gone automatically.

Compare this to other widget frameworks where you are sending actual copies of your widget into the world.  You really can’t get them back, you can’t change them without convincing everyone who has a copy to upgrade, and you can’t reconsider and change the terms on them (say you find a way to make money on a widget and want all of the previously distributed free ones to go away — good luck.)

With widgets on the Chumby Network you own your work and have total control of it at all times.  This is the way it should be.  Make sure other “widget systems” that ask for your support give you the same level of ownership and immediate control.

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