The 37signals Suite and Ownership

37signals launched a bulk subscription suite for their apps a couple of days ago. In the launch announcement I noticed that they refer to users as owning their apps:

Currently the 37signals Suite is only available for people who already own a Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, or Campfire account. If you own any one of these apps you can upgrade to the Suite in less than 60 seconds. We will be offering the ability to sign up for the Suite from scratch down the road, but we just don’t know when yet. Note: If you don’t own one of our products yet, and you’d like to purchase the Suite, just sign up for Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, or Campfire and then follow the upgrade instructions above. (emphasis mine)

Despite the fact that you pay a monthly fee to use those apps 37signals says users own the product. They back this up by allowing a functional HTML or XML export of most content at any time.

Compare that to Twitter, whose Terms of Service say “what’s yours is yours – you own your content.” Sounds similar right? Too bad Twitter does not provide a way to export more than 3200 tweets.