Time to abandon AIM and iChat?

I’ve just read in John’s blog the rather worrying news that AOL have changed the Terms of Service for their instant messaging service, in a way which basically gives them carte blanche to do what they like with any content sent over AIM (and hence over iChat, which uses the same service).
The terms of service can be found here and does contain the rather blunt phrasing about content you post:

AOL owns all right, title and interest in any compilation, collective work or other derivative work created by AOL using or incorporating this Content. In addition, by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.

This will stop a lot of people from using AIM, including me, which is a real pain. The logical alternative is Skype, and while it has better audio facilities than iChat, it’s markedly inferior for chatting. I really miss iChat when I use anything else.

This can’t be allowed to slip by unnoticed. If it gets enough publicity, AOL may be persuaded to change their minds. Tell your friends – bring it up with Apple, etc and see what we can do. Until then, I don’t think I can continue to exchange draft documents with my colleagues using iChat… or at least, I’ll have to be very careful that I’ve got a direct connection rather than one going via AOL’s servers.

See follow-up

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