This has become more of an issue with farmers over the past year, as they realize their data is a commodity just like what they raise--whether crops or livestock. How much of an issue? Two examples.
First, the Iowa Power Farming show was last week. One of the largest ag shows in the nation, and the back of the program had an advertisement from Ag Leader which started with the line: "Settling for a precision farming partner that wants control of your data just doesn't cut it." Additionally, several vendors in the precision ag and sensor/drone areas were stating similar lines. Whether BS or not, they wouldn't be saying it if there wasn't a need for them to.
Second, the January 17, 2015, edition of Iowa Farmer Today also addressed this issue in their editorial page article "Who own precision technology data?".
It's not that I'm against using technology for ag. It's I'm against others using my data about my farming operations AND MY LAND and making money off of it without cutting me in--or selling/providing it (raw or as a "derivative work") to other entities I may not want to have it.
That said, it looks like we aren't doing a good enough job making it obvious in our ToS. That page has not been updated in a very long time. I am going to be sure to update it to more accurately reflect our values.
Until the investors/board say otherwise. :)
Been there. Experienced it. Resigned rather than comply.
Understand FarmLogs is the whipping boy here because you're the thread's subject (and your TOS clause 7 really is scary), but my concerns are also with the others, including for example Deere.
And as your TOS are updated, things might want to consider:
1) Who owns the data--the landowner or the tenant? Which data specifically? Who can order it removed?
2) What happens when a farm changes owners and the new owner wants
all data regarding his land removed?
3) What happens when the data is subpeonaed in a clean water lawsuit for agricultural nitrate runoff?
Not to derail the topic but I'd love to hear that story. Have you published it anywhere?
1) Is this actually a concern to the people you want to be selling to, as evidenced by talking to a number of them? Don't bother with surveys, just straight-up have a non-sales conversation about it with 10 people who match your target customer model.
2) Lots of people don't read a ToS. Or if they do, they're not going to be 100% confident that their interpretation is what will stand up. If this is a legitimate concern for your users, you need to allay that concern, directly, in your primary sales contexts. Make it a focus item on your landing page, with design such that people will see it and go "oh, okay, I don't need to have that concern after all."
I liken it to mining. The companies who dig for various mineral deposits make significant investments into exploration of the ground. Their exploration generates a ton of data. They use that data to determine where to dig further and estimate the financial potential of the deposits. This then determines company stock values. It's ludicrous that such data may not be owned by the mining company that generated it (or acquired the rights for it). Obviously, what's happening with farms and FarmLogs is not a perfect analogy. But the parallels are interesting.
What is stopping a local server/you own the data solution? Is it the cloud solution is the only one on offer or is it too hard to get the hardware/software to the gate?
Many of these companies are also moving towards cloud/SaaS-based solutions and developing private networks to facilitate real-time data ingestion from their equipment (tractors, combines, planters, sprayers, irrigation systems, wagons, etc).
So there are local solutions, and they're installs like any other software.
Particular as a farmer I imagine you have little time to be screwing around with a local server that's prone to failure. A company looking after that for you is probably quite tempting.
While I agree with the fact you shouldn't be screwing around with a server, that doesn't mean running your own server with your own data on it isn't a good idea. It's just we're not quite there yet!
I'm strongly rooting for https://sandstorm.io/ here - I hope they'll be able to provide a good alternative for SaaS businesses.