Not Using Zoom

Not Using Zoom
Written by Techbot

Dear client,

Setting aside the earlier challenges of using Zoom under ChromeOS and Linux, I have mostly been declining invitations to Zoom calls because of the terms they introduced from April 2023 in section 10 of their Terms of Service which seem to force every user, with no opt-out to the Terms available and with recourse only via arbitration, to agree that Zoom can:

  1. Train their AI on anything uploaded or created on Zoom (including transcripts and recordings) and use the consequent model for absolutely anything;
  2. Have indefinite and ownership-equivalent rights to do so in the future and
  3. Be indemnified by me if it turns out someone else owns the IP or has their rights infringed (for example to confidential materials everyone on the call is entitled to review).

I prefer Jitsi instead; it has equivalent functionality, is platform independent, can be used without an account, is open source and can be self-hosted.


In the terms, “data, content, files, documents, or other materials” that you use in a Zoom session (“Customer Input”), as well as recordings and transcripts, and any other glitter Zoom sprinkles over them, is called “Customer Content”.

10.4(ii) then sees you granting a broad license to Customer Content “for the purpose of product and service development, marketing, analytics, quality assurance, machine learning, artificial intelligence, training, testing, improvement of the Services, Software, or Zoom’s other products, services, and software, or any combination thereof”

If the stuff you shared belongs to someone else, 10.6 sees you agreeing “you are solely responsible for the Customer Content” and notably for getting consent from third parties and providing notices according to whatever laws happen to be applicable to the combination of people involved.

In addition to all this, in 10.6 you “represent and warrant that you have the right to upload Customer Input and for Zoom to provide, create, or make available any Customer Content to you, and that such use or provision by you, your End User, or Zoom does not violate or infringe any rights of any third party.”  So according to 25(i) & (iii) you are basically indemnifying them if they train their AI with someone else’s IP you happen to have – for example, a client brief you are discussing internally, or a legal case you are working on under privilege.

There is no opt-out or scope control to use in the Terms for AI training. Zoom’s COO says the actual use of the AI features is opt-in, but that doesn’t seem relevant as the Terms grant permission regardless and the Customer Content exists whether you use the AI features or not.

My non-lawyer read suggests this is an exceptionally risky thing for anyone to agree if they are in possession of IP or under NDA concerning someone else’s secrets, and I will be avoiding Zoom (even if they revert the terms – can’t take the chance on future changes like this).

Notes, Tags & Mentions

  • I believe this analysis is correct as of August 7th 2023; please contact me at once if it is not, see my hub, especially if it’s because they changed the terms of use!
  • Here’s the immediately prior version of the terms. You can clearly see that the new section 10 has been introduced in the new version. The version in effect today (dated July 27) seems to differ only in to paragraphs about tax paperwork according to Copyscape.
  • #Proprietary #Video #Terms

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