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On January 19, the Naver buy of Wattpad was reported. I am concerned. To my knowledge, Wattpad has allowed users to retain the copyright on their content published on the site, as supported by this Quoara. The linked article says "acquisition expected to close in the second quarter of Wattpad’s fiscal year."

More sources: https://www.reddit.com/r/toronto/comments/l0yq3y/toronto_startup_wattpad_to_be_acquired_by_south/ https://www.reddit.com/r/Wattpad/comments/l0uz9e/wattpad_sold_to_south_korean_giant_naver/ https://betakit.com/wattpad-to-be-acquired-by-south-koreas-naver-corp/ https://www.reddit.com/r/Wattpad/comments/l0uz9e/wattpad_sold_to_south_korean_giant_naver/

However, I am highly concerned with the effects of the deal, as I found out from my friends. Reading the Naver terms of service, it seems that when the sale goes through, Naver will now own all user content. Once you delete your content, Wattpad no longer retains it. it is gone permanently, or so I think.

Some of my friends have already done it, and fear that I will have to delete all of my content so Naver cannot own it. How will it affect the copyright of user-made content? We already suspect that Naver is probably probing the site, and maybe even cataloging it for "data collection. Also, when exactly is the "second quarter of Wattpad’s fiscal year."?

It doesn't help that the Wattpad Help Ceneter has been suddenly and explicitly shut down.

The relevant section of Naver services, I think, says all this.


We will value all contents provided by you. Naver hopes your posts shared with other users through Naver Services will enrich the lives of all of us. Posts refer to various contents or files composed of signs, texts, voices, sounds, pictures, photographs, videos, links, etc. that you post on Naver Services in order to show them to yourself or others.

Naver promises to safely protect the contents that express your thoughts and emotions. Of course, you have your own rights such as intellectual property rights regarding the posts that you create and post.

Meanwhile, in order to duly provide the posts that you have posted through Naver Services, Naver needs to have a legitimate right to use your contents such as a license to store, copy, reproduce, modify, publicly transmit, display, distribute, and create derivative works (only limited to translation) of such contents (license without any restriction on term or territory and royalty free). Since you will be granting Naver such license by posting the content, you must have the necessary rights to do so.

Pursuant to applicable laws such as the Copyright Act of the Republic of Korea, Naver will exercise such license granted by you, to use your contents, only to the limited extent of exposing the contents within Naver Services, utilizing them for promotion of Services, conducting research and development on service operation, improving and developing new services; complying with legal obligations such as web accessibility; allowing search, collection and links from other sites. If Naver unavoidably needs to use your contents for other purposes, we will explain it to you and receive your consent in advance.

Moreover, valuable contents that you provide may be used by Naver and its affiliates for purposes of research and development related to artificial intelligence technology, etc. in order to improve Naver Services and offer new Naver Services. Naver will do its best to provide you with more convenient and useful service through continuous research and development.

Naver is committed to providing various means of making it easier for you to manage Naver or other users’ use of or access to the contents that you provide. If management functions to delete or make your contents private are provided within the Naver service, you may directly control others’ use of or access to your contents. Also, you may request measures to delete, make your contents private, or exclude your contents from search results to the Customer Center. However, for some Naver Services, it may be difficult to delete or make your contents private, so please check the details provided by Information and Notice sections under each Service and Help section under the Customer Center.

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    I'm not sure how you conclude that Naver would own the content. The agreement says you are granting them a license, not transferring the copyright itself. They get very broad permission to use it but they don't get ownership. Jan 22 at 3:16
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The Current Wattpad TOS says:

When you post content to Wattpad, we need the legal permission under applicable copyright laws to display that content to users of the Wattpad Services. Legally this means you give us a nonexclusive license to publish your content on the Wattpad Services, including anything reasonably related to publishing it (like storing, displaying, reformatting, and distributing it).

The wording is different and shorter than the Naver terms quoted in the question, but in both cases the poster grants the service a non-exclusive license to the content.

Naver specifies that this includes the rights to "store, copy, reproduce, modify, publicly transmit, display, distribute, and create derivative works (only limited to translation)" while Wattpad gives the more general "anything reasonably related to publishing" and specifically includes "storing, displaying, reformatting, and distributing". The other rights listed by Naver seem probably included in "reasonably related to publishing" with the possible exception of a right to "create derivative works (only limited to translation)". It dopes not seem that the rights claimed by Naver will be very much more extensive than those already granted to Wattpad.

Nothing in the Naver terms quoted says that Naver will "own" the content uploaded by users.

In addition although Naver will purchase Wattpad, one news story says "Lau confirmed Wattpad will continue to operate independently" which may well mean that its TOS will be unchanged -- it is not unusual for different services of the same owner to have different TOS documents and terms.

Moreover, if the Naver terms did grant Naver significantly greater rights in the content uploaded by users, it is not clear that they could unilaterally obtain greater rights in content previously uploaded without some form of consent by the uploader-owners.

In short, I think the concerns expressed in the question are overstated.

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