The concern was about text advising that anyone uploading content to Google Drive will be granting Google “a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content.”
Fear grew about Google Drive undermining intellectual property. It’s easy to be fearful of Google and Facebook, as these sites that know so much about us and keep records of all our private messages, searches and activity on the internet. It’s an unsettling feeling knowing that every single thing you do when logged into Facebook or Google is recorded and stored forever. And now with Facial recognition technology, your privacy on the web, Social Media sites in particular, is further compromised. But back to Google, the search giant needs your permission to license “host, store (and) reproduce” your files. It sounds like they could take your film script and “reproduce it” into a movie of their own. But this is a bit extreme, it makes sense if you want to share a document with someone else and enable them to make revisions. This also explains the wording Google requires the rights for “translations, adaptations or other changes.” The occasions when someone downloads a document or video from Google Drive in a public place say a Coffee shop or University lunch room requires Google to retain permission to “publicly perform” or “publicly display” such content.
All the furore may have been easily avoided if people paid closer attention to the phrase before the ambiguous wording:
Some of our services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours. – Google