March 2005


I am The Cyberwolfe and these are my ramblings. All original content is protected under a Creative Commons license - always ask first.
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AIM Terms of Service update

I told you when I wrote the first post on this topic that I was knee-jerking, and I was right.

Posted earlier today was a response from the folks at AOL, claiming that the section of the TOS that was quoted in the Slashdot article referred, in fact, to their bulletin boards and forums, and that they did not monitor the Instant Messaging conversations.

This brings things a little more into perspective. Still, I am glad to be quit of any and all things AOL. I created the account originally to converse with one person, who also uses Y!Messenger, so there is no need to keep my AIM account active.

Still, there is a good bit to learn about this: if you plan on making money from an idea, be very careful who you tell it to and where you tell them. For the price of an envelope and postage, you can irrefutably stake your claim to any original work. Write it down on paper, stuff it in an envelope, and mail it to yourself. The cancelled postage will have a date stamp you can use as proof of prior art in court (provided the seal is intact until you get it to court).

For those truly worried, most banks offer free or nearly-free Notary service. Once again, you write everything down and take it to your bank to have a Notary witness and stamp the work. Voila, almost as good as a patent.

For the rest of us out there, it pays to remember something I read in a David Eddings book:

“No crime is complete until you’ve tidied up.”

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