David Kravets writes at Wired about AOL’s demand that an app called People+ stop using a complete replica of AOL’s tech company database.
AOL’s CrunchBase is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution:
We provide CrunchBase’s content under the Creative Commons Attribution License [CC-BY].
However, the terms of service for the same product say, with my emphasis:
CrunchBase reserves the right in its sole discretion (for any reason or for no reason) and at anytime without notice to You to change, suspend or discontinue the CrunchBase API and/or suspend or terminate your rights under these General Terms of Service to access, use and/or display the CrunchBase API, Brand Features andany CrunchBase content.
Actually, as AOL attorneys should know (but apparently don’t), the company cannot reserve any such right at all, at least as to any data accessed, used or displayed while the Creative Commons license is still in effect, which it is as of November 6, 2013.
AOL can legally prohibit future access, use and display, but once content is under a Creative Commons attribution license one reserves no rights whatsoever, except the right to attribution.
It’s baffling that AOL lawyers would assert otherwise.