But, scroll down to the bottom of any of those blogs and you'll see something interesting and familiar. Alerted to this issue by Boing Boing, a visitor to any of the Spaces blogs will see the following:
All contents of the MSN Web Sites [previously defined in the agreement as "any Web site or Web page operated by Microsoft"] are Copyright © 2004 Microsoft Corporation and/or its suppliers, One Microsoft Way, Redmond, Washington 98052-6399 U.S.A. All rights reserved. Bracketed remarks added.
Golly, Mr. Gates, don't you have enough stuff already without claiming the rights to whatever writings or photos these unwitting bloggers put up?
But wait, there's more. See paragraph 4.
You will not use the MSN Web Sites in any way that is unlawful, or harms Microsoft, its affiliates, resellers, distributors, service providers and/or suppliers (each, a "Microsoft Party" and collectively, the "Microsoft Parties") or any customer of a Microsoft Party, as determined in Microsoft's sole discretion. Microsoft may tell you about certain specific harmful uses in a code of conduct or other notices available through a MSN Web Site, but has no obligation to do so.
Since this post that you are now reading is not friendly to Microsoft, and enough people read it, then Microsoft could construe the text as harmful to Microsoft. And, if this blog used Spaces, then Microsoft could delete it or modify it. See paragraph 6.
For materials you post or otherwise provide to Microsoft related to the MSN Web Sites (a "Submission"), you grant Microsoft permission to (1) use, copy, distribute, transmit, publicly display, publicly perform, reproduce, edit, modify, translate and reformat your Submission, each in connection with the MSN Web Sites, and (2) sublicense these rights, to the maximum extent permitted by applicable law. Microsoft will not pay you for your Submission. Microsoft may remove your Submission at any time. For each Submission, you represent that you have all rights necessary for you to make the grants in this section. To the maximum extent permitted by applicable law, Microsoft may monitor your e-mail, or other electronic communications and may disclose such information in the event it has a good faith reason to believe it is necessary for purposes of ensuring your compliance with this Agreement, and protecting the rights, property, and interests of the Microsoft Parties or any customer of a Microsoft Party.
Heck, they could do all of that under the agreement even if it wasn't harmful to Microsoft. And, in the event they liked it and thought it was worth something, they could sell it without giving the author a thin dime.
I suspect that many users will simply click an acceptance of the terms without reading the agreement. After all, it's long, and if you want the service, it's not optional. Besides, there are always more pressing things to do, like attending protests of the Patriot Act.
Then there's always a venue clause. Suppose a user wanted to litigate this agreement. It's off to King County, Washington you go. Take your check book. And send a postcard when you get a ruling.
For me, I'm still a huge fan of Typepad. It costs a nominal fee, but it's a small price to pay for what they provide. Speaking of Typepad, here's a Typepad site containing comments from some Spaces users: The Social Customer Manifesto.