Thursday, March 1, 2007

More gotchas from ClickArt products


By David Gewirtz

Back in February, we ran an article, "ClickArt contains 1,200,000 images you can't use", that described how Broderbund's ClickArt 1,200,000 product contains both misleading marketing and unreasonable usage restrictions.

While we hate running negative reviews, we'll do so in cases where we think companies are behaving in a predatory manner and that's certainly the case with this product.

What about other ClickArt products?

Upon running the article, we got a number of interesting letters from readers. Jill Balsam asks:

David, would you have any idea if the issue regarding the use of Broderbund's ClickArt also pertains to prior versions of their collections? I've got the 950,000 but have long since discarded the box it came in.

Upon getting Jill's letter, I had no idea, only having looked at the 1,200,000 product. But a happenstance visit to a local CompUSA (which is closing in a few weeks, so sad!) gave me the answer. I took a look at a number of the ClickArt products and they each had the same microscopic usage restriction:

The images contained in this product may not be used in any product that is to be sold, and certain content contained herein may not be used in any print or electronic media of an editorial, commercial, promotional, or corporate nature. See CONDITIONS FOR USE.

What was so weird was that the same restrictions was on the ClickArt Fonts product, a set of fonts. The product is only fonts (although it does include "creative alphabet images"). So, since the restriction message says "The images contained..." and the product is a font product, does that mean you can use the fonts? Who knows?

Again, this is a case of lawyer overkill destroying an otherwise fine product.

No restrictions?

Craig Boudreaux sent us a nice note as well:

The Web site specifically lists: "No subscriptions! Receive unlimited access to all images without having to subscribe" which would seem to claim that the art is available for anything.
Though I see all the claims on the box (and even this one I mentioned) are really to being able to "search" for the art and not to "use" the art. (That's only obvious after reading your article though.) Since that's different than "normal" clipart packages, you are correct that the difference should really be made more apparent.