Intellectual Property Rights – Things You Should Know Before Using Google Drive

In fact, you should know about the intellectual property rights mentioned by Google before any of the Google products are used. Claims of Google using user data and violating privacy of its members is rife in the online world. Obviously, since Google Drive also deals with user – generated content, know these intellectual property rights and clauses clearly.

If you haven’t installed Google Drive yet, read this – Installing Google Drive: Step-by-Step Instructions for Windows users.

The inauguration of Google Drive has led privacy advocates to severely criticize Google. The Executive Director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), Marc Rotenberg says:

“The terms of service are bad, but even worse is that Google has made it clear it will change its terms of service whenever it wishes.”

expressed similar concerns:

“Privacy advocates voiced strong concerns today over how data stored on Google Drive may be used during and after customers are actively engaged in using the cloud service.”

Google Intellectual Rights Policies

On March 01, 2012, Google consolidated all its user privacy polices and terms of service into a one-page notification.

Google TOSI quote here from Google TOS about Content Copyright.

“Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services.

You can find more information about how Google uses and stores content in the privacy policy or additional terms for particular Services. If you submit feedback or suggestions about our Services, we may use your feedback or suggestions without obligation to you.”

What Does the Above Content Mean in Relation to Google Drive?

  • Whenever we upload or create any files or folders on Google Drive, Google will automatically get the license to to reproduce, modify and create derivative works from OUR content.
  • Not only Google, brands or service providers associated with Google gets the license to use OUR content.
  • The self-licensed content can be used by Google for public display.
  • Even if we stop using Google Drive, the information will still be used.

What Does Google Demand?

To get this license, Google demands that the users should have the permission and / or license to upload / create content on Google Drive. Well…well…don’t you think Google is going too far with this?

Positive Point

The only positive point I see in their user content policy is this line – “You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.”

Okay, so what belongs to me stays mine but who is accountable for user content modification and derivatives? Is it only me or is there someone else who thinks Google should look into its Content TOS?

What Google Does with All the Information?

With all the incoming user data, Google can use this to deliver targeted ads. After all, it is the advertisements that help make Google billions every year.

Google says its updated policies will help to deliver a more “intuitive experience” to its users.

Things you SHOULD NOT use Google Drive for:

After studying and writing on this issue, I am still going to use Google Drive but I think me and you will fare better if you don’t use Google Drive for these things:

  • Income Reports & Budgeting – If you are in the habit of recording earnings and expenditures on Excel, avoid uploading the same on Google Drive for privacy issues.
  • Exclusive Content – If you are writing any novel, stories or maybe just an eBook, avoid Google Drive again. You never know who is accessing those files.
  • Designs and Images – If you are a designer, Google Drive may not be the right place to store original works. Share freely available images but not your own works.

Did I miss anything? Please suggest if you feel there are things you shouldn’t be storing on Google Drive.

Google Drive Vs. Other Cloud Service Providers

Other cloud service providers are no better off either. All suggest the same thing that we do have intellectual property rights on our own work but if they are on public servers, they can enjoy similar liberties as Google Drive, in which case the three pointers above indicating when Google Drive shouldn’t be used applies to other cloud service providers as well.

Now, I would love to know your opinion. Please comment to share.


  1. says

    Violating intellectual copyrights can very much put you at a great and risk and can spoil your long earned reputation! But I feel many people don’t take this seriously enough :(

  2. says

    I think you should also not store your medical records except you want the world to be privy to your medical information.

    Thanks for this wonderful information; your write up is quite informative and at the same time an eye opener.

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