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+ - Michigan State University Bans Online apps 1

Submitted by liquidvi
liquidvi (1184135) writes "To: Deans, Directors, Chairs

From: Vice Provost, Libraries, Computing and Technology
Assistant Vice President for Finance, CFO and Controller
Associate Provost for Academic Services
Assistant Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies and Executive Director, MSU Technologies

Subject: Avoiding use of online software tools such as Google Apps, Gmail, and Microsoft Office Live

Please share this message with faculty and staff in your units.

Google, Microsoft, and other companies are offering, at no charge, an increasingly diverse set of online, web-based software tools, many of which provide standard "office" functions such as document and slide deck production and management, spreadsheeting and communications, including e-mail. These tools run on company (vendor) servers, and user files and other content are stored on company systems as well. The no-cost option is attractive to many University units, faculty and staff. However, due to the terms of use and business models being applied to these tools, they MAY NOT be used in the conduct of University work.

To illustrate one concern, the terms to which you agree when you use Google Apps (http://www.google.com/accounts/TOS?hl=en) include the following; which compromises the University's intellectual property rights and the security of University records:

"You [user] retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. BY SUBMITTING, POSTING OR DISPLAYING THE CONTENT YOU GIVE GOOGLE A PERPETUAL, IRREVOCABLE, WORLDWIDE, ROYALTY-FREE, AND NON-EXCLUSIVE LICENSE TO REPRODUCE, ADAPT, MODIFY, TRANSLATE, PUBLISH, PUBLICLY PERFORM, PUBLICLY DISPLAY AND DISTRIBUTE ANY CONTENT WHICH YOU SUBMIT, POST OR DISPLAY ON OR THROUGH, THE SERVICES. . You agree that this license INCLUDES A RIGHT FOR GOOGLE TO MAKE SUCH CONTENT AVAILABLE TO OTHER COMPANIES, ORGANIZATIONS OR INDIVIDUALS WITH WHOM GOOGLE HAS RELATIONSHIPS for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services." (emphasis added)

Furthermore, neither Google nor Microsoft makes any promise to back up content, secure confidential or proprietary content, or provide free service for any particular period of time. If they change their minds about the business utility of this model, it may simply go away one day.

Contract terms like these do not provide appropriate protection for University business records or documents. If software tools like these are used in instruction, they may compromise student intellectual property protections. They may also adversely affect commercialization or publication of intellectual property created by faculty. Because individuals frequently do not know that they are creating University business records, including student records, in the course of doing their daily work at MSU, ANY use of these sorts of online tools must be avoided. Individuals or units contemplating use of any software tool or online service should carefully read and consider the terms of use, and seek appropriate legal or other review from University administrative offices when terms of use are incompatible with University policy or exceed the relevant administrator's authority."
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Michigan State University Bans Online apps

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