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Preview: Comments on Backing Winds: Warning: FARK.com now grabbing copyrights

Comments on Backing Winds: Warning: FARK.com now grabbing copyrights





Updated: 2016-12-20T16:06:05.759-05:00

 



Looks like Fark updated their copyright policy. W...

2007-05-02T22:34:00.000-04:00

Looks like Fark updated their copyright policy. Will you be posting an update?



When the inconvenient legal wording is changed, th...

2007-04-27T06:34:00.000-04:00

When the inconvenient legal wording is changed, that's when you can relax.

"Sever your leg, sir. It's the greatest day."



True, IANAL, though I did sleep at a Holiday Inn E...

2007-04-26T20:41:00.000-04:00

True, IANAL, though I did sleep at a Holiday Inn Express last night. However, I do know that when you sign a contract after having read it, you can't later say "but, gee whiz, I THOUGHT the contract meant something else!" and get out of the contract, unless the contract was somehow misleading or unenforceable (i.e., unconscionable), or the person getting you to agree to the contract verbally contradicted the written words.

It doesn't really matter that Drew didn't *mean* for his site to grab copyrights; the language of his agreement meant that he legally way grabbing copyrights. Well, would be, were it not for the fact that apparently such a stipulation is unenforceable, seeing as one is required by law to sign away copyrights only in writing, with signatures, and not implicitly through a website TOS.



"the problem is that the law really doesn't care w...

2007-04-26T19:55:00.000-04:00

"the problem is that the law really doesn't care what you meant to do in a contract, it only cares about what's on the face of the contract."

Evidently, you are not a lawyer. You have no idea what you're talking about.



Virtually every site that accepts submitted conten...

2007-04-26T18:44:00.000-04:00

Virtually every site that accepts submitted content has a similar copyright notice. At the more benign end of the spectrum, what they mean is "once you submit something here, you can't sue us for using it in another way or force us to take it down from the site". At the less benign end of the spectrum it could certainly be used to make commercial gain from your work without you seeing any benefit.

But it's a bit of a moot point as 99% of material submitted to Fark using source material that the submitter doesn't own. In a court they'd probably find that they were in breach of copyright when they submitted it.



Can they copyright the term "hilarity ensues"? Be...

2007-04-26T16:21:00.000-04:00

Can they copyright the term "hilarity ensues"? Because I'd love it if it was exclusive to that site alone so I don't have to read it elsewhere anymore.



FARK them

2007-04-26T16:16:00.000-04:00

FARK them



There are a lot of legal issues regarding submitte...

2007-04-26T16:07:00.000-04:00

There are a lot of legal issues regarding submitted content use, and generally companies will grab copyrights to protect themselves and others from litigation of the submitter. Believe me, I've experienced such a thing so I can understand this. Your host or other people who are supporting you will run scared if you don't have proper legal control over the content on your website in this kind of situation. Total control, however, can also be abused (ex. selling the exclusive IP rights for a lot of money). That is why the language in submission licenses needs to be changed. Other solutions have been pursued such as replacing the total control submission license with creative commons licensing schemes. It might be a good idea to suggest this to any websites with this kind of submission licensing scheme.



This blogger may have gotten a few hits from the B...

2007-04-26T16:04:00.000-04:00

This blogger may have gotten a few hits from the BS story, but he is still a friggin' moron.

Keep up the good work, doofus...



Anonymous said... Has anyone received a cease-a...

2007-04-26T15:55:00.000-04:00

Anonymous said...

Has anyone received a cease-and-desist notice from Fark after using one's own work elsewhere?

I haven't, and I'm sure I wouldn't, even under the current terms. You'll notice they grant the author back a license to do whatever they want to do with the image (short of selling rights to it, since, of course, FARK now owns them).

This is typical language every major site has to employ to protect their interests from, say, photoshoppers who want to later claim the site used their work without permission (and yes, it can be argued that submitting/posting is not the same as granting permission).

No, it's really not. Most sites will grant themselves a royalty free forever license for use at the site, and some will grant that for use anywhere, but rarely will a site actually try to wrest the copyright away from the author. That's just highway robbery.

Further, this language protects *you* from other media outlets who will (and do anyway -- like Ernie's House of Whoop Ass, for instance) use *your* work without attribution or payment. Without this language, there's an extremely low risk to these sites who use your work, because individuals will rarely pursue a claim against them. With this language, however, places like EHWA have to look over their shoulder, because legal dogs might bite them in the ass...

No, it doesn't protect ME, since any lawsuit FARK files earns money for FARK, not ME. If someone rips off one of my registered copyright photos (and everything I post online is) and I end up having to hire a lawyer for C&D and for settlement or trial, *I* get paid for the usage. If FARK is going around doing this, FARK is getting the money, not me. This is a rather silly argument to make. If FARK wants to go after people for violating the copyrights and trademarks surrounding their own website, more power to them. They sure as hell don't need to steal my copyright to "protect" me.



I think the message is clear:Don't use the site un...

2007-04-26T15:52:00.000-04:00

I think the message is clear:

Don't use the site untill they fix this.

I suggest that you contact them by posting a suggestion under the Suggestion heading on their Contact page.

This would be best done by copyright experts and lawyers . So, I guess this is a plea for some help from lawyers with this specialty.

Back to worrying about the privacy implications of allowing DoubleClick to use my info...



Brent the Closet Geek said... Actually that leg...

2007-04-26T15:50:00.000-04:00

Brent the Closet Geek said...

Actually that legal's been there for quite sometime. It's a non-exclusive license anyway so I don't get the big deal.

Oh noes, you won't get paid if they put your really funny quote in a book!


Actually, the non exclusive license is granted to YOU the image's author, not FARK. FARK owns the image EXCLUSIVELY. It's not even a joint copyright type deal, they just flat out own it. It would actually be better (though still horrible) if they granted the author an exclusive license, as that would prevent them from reselling the image to anyone else.

And -- Oh noes! Now I can't properly defend my copyright! :) The problem isn't that FARK owns my witty comments, the problem is that FARK wants to own my photography that I post there in contests. Seeing as I've licensed images for upwards of $2,500 a piece, I can't really afford to give away my intellectual property for the privy of being allowed to see it in a FARK discussion forum.



They can say it, but that doesn't make it so. I A...

2007-04-26T15:49:00.000-04:00

They can say it, but that doesn't make it so. I AM a lawyer, and in my opinion, there's no such thing as an 'implied' or 'implicit' license of exclusive copyright rights. The mere licensing back of some rights doesn't change the character of what they're trying to do.

they CAN claim a copyright in the compilation of user-generated content, and of course that content generated by their own employees, but that's about it.

Still, I do accept the notion that by posting on a site (whether Fark or otherwise) a user does grant the site a limited right to publish that user-generated content...

But... does this mean the site can RE-Publish the material in another medium, or on a different site? I think not.



I canceled my subscription to TotalFark last night...

2007-04-26T13:36:00.000-04:00

I canceled my subscription to TotalFark last night after watching the responses from their resident prick admin, Jeff. To me it looks like they are making room for more ad space while enthusiastically flipping off the user community that brought them the success they now enjoy.

So today I'm learning my way around Digg.com.



Has anyone received a cease-and-desist notice from...

2007-04-26T11:57:00.000-04:00

Has anyone received a cease-and-desist notice from Fark after using one's own work elsewhere?

I'm taking a wild stab in the dark and just going to say "no."

This is typical language every major site has to employ to protect their interests from, say, photoshoppers who want to later claim the site used their work without permission (and yes, it can be argued that submitting/posting is not the same as granting permission).

Further, this language protects *you* from other media outlets who will (and do anyway -- like Ernie's House of Whoop Ass, for instance) use *your* work without attribution or payment. Without this language, there's an extremely low risk to these sites who use your work, because individuals will rarely pursue a claim against them. With this language, however, places like EHWA have to look over their shoulder, because legal dogs might bite them in the ass...



Actually that legal's been there for quite sometim...

2007-04-26T11:33:00.001-04:00

Actually that legal's been there for quite sometime. It's a non-exclusive license anyway so I don't get the big deal.

Oh noes, you won't get paid if they put your really funny quote in a book!



Again, Ryan, the policy is clearly not new. It's b...

2007-04-26T11:33:00.000-04:00

Again, Ryan, the policy is clearly not new. It's been this way for at least a year or more now.



James said...You guys haven't actually read the co...

2007-04-26T11:22:00.000-04:00

James said...

You guys haven't actually read the copyright notice have you?

You own it still, you just grant Fark the right to use it without giving you any money. They can't sell it, but they can use it for their own money making schemes, as can you.

Nice work, random blogger. You just got a bunch of hits on your site by spreading a lie. And you could have verified it by emailing the folks at Fark.


Well, clearly I read it, I posted it. I think the reading comprehension issue lies on your side of the fence. There are ways to create licenses that allow one to use content as one wishes without actually transferring the copyright. The language in the TOS clearly transfers the actual copyright of your image to FARK, meaning that, if the language is binding, you indeed no longer own your image. The only thing that could possibly save a content submitter is if the language were deemed non binding because it violates existing law. (An illegal contract can't be enforce.) Which it might; in which case, FARK actually owns nothing and has no rights, which is likely entirely the kind of position they were trying to avoid in the first place.

BTW I'm not just some random guy, either. My original FARK membership number has 4 digits, several hundred links on the site are mine, and I've probably paid a couple hundred bucks in membership fees over the years. Having watched how the board has been run over the years, I'm guessing this new policy language is more a product of ignorance than malice. FARK doesn't have much of a paid management staff, per se.



You guys haven't actually read the copyright notic...

2007-04-26T11:02:00.000-04:00

You guys haven't actually read the copyright notice have you?

You own it still, you just grant Fark the right to use it without giving you any money. They can't sell it, but they can use it for their own money making schemes, as can you.

Nice work, random blogger. You just got a bunch of hits on your site by spreading a lie. And you could have verified it by emailing the folks at Fark.



Anonymous said... Legal as of Jan 2005: Term...

2007-04-26T10:51:00.000-04:00

Anonymous said...

Legal as of Jan 2005:
Terms of Service: Text comments, AudioEdit submissions, and Photoshopped images posted on Fark by registered users may not be reposted or broadcast without the express written permission or license from Fark.com, and must attribute Fark.com as the source. Fark.com is the legal owner of all copyrights in the content on this site.

So what's changed?


I am not a lawyer, but on the face of it in plain language, what appears to have changed is that in the original agreement from 2005, FARK claims to be the legal owner of all copyrights of the content on the site. This statement, however, applies only so far as to the content that they actually legally own -- i.e., their content. They cannot claim to own other people's content without first having the rights to that content transferred via some agreement. In the old language, no such agreement existed, and as such, all submitters retained copyright to their works. It's the same principle that you don't legally own the Mexico just because you clearly tell people you legally own Mexico. :) You have to come to some kind of arrangement with the Mexican people first.

In the new language, however, there is an implicit agreement in the Terms of Service that transfers the actual copyright the moment that the image is submitted (i.e., posted) to the site. Now, I don't know whether this transfer is legally tenable or not (again, IANAL), but on the face of it, if it is tenable, then it does just what it says it does -- it transfers your copyright to FARK.

Given the way it was written, I suspect it was whipped up by a lawyer, and as such, it probably isn't too outrageous to think that this agreement could possibly be seen as binding in a court of law.



Legal as of Jan 2005:Terms of Service: Text commen...

2007-04-26T10:40:00.000-04:00

Legal as of Jan 2005:
Terms of Service: Text comments, AudioEdit submissions, and Photoshopped images posted on Fark by registered users may not be reposted or broadcast without the express written permission or license from Fark.com, and must attribute Fark.com as the source. Fark.com is the legal owner of all copyrights in the content on this site.

Legal as of Jan 2006:

Terms of Service: Text comments, AudioEdit submissions, and Photoshopped images posted on Fark by registered users may not be reposted or broadcast without the express written permission or license from Fark.com, and must attribute Fark.com as the source. Fark.com is the legal owner of all copyrights in the content on this site.


So what's changed?



Of course, IANAL (I am not a lawyer)Why bother wit...

2007-04-26T10:39:00.000-04:00

Of course, IANAL (I am not a lawyer)

Why bother with the acronym if you're going to define it?



Of course, IANAL (I am not a lawyer), but my under...

2007-04-26T10:21:00.000-04:00

Of course, IANAL (I am not a lawyer), but my understanding of copyright law tells me that in this case, Fark.com can only claim copyright over the copy you posted on their site. Interestingly enough, if the image is hosted elsewhere (your site for example, which most images are), then you are actually granting license to THEM to reproduce and display the image. Beyond that, copyright law says that the actual copyright belongs to the initial creator and cannot be re-granted without significant additions to the orignal work (see Andy Warhol's Campbells Soup cans).

Have fun by reading up on it here:
http://www.copyright.gov/fls/fl102.html
and here:
http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mcopyright2.htm



Goodbye, TotalFark.com, you were good to me. I'm p...

2007-04-26T10:09:00.000-04:00

Goodbye, TotalFark.com, you were good to me. I'm pretty sure it would never hold up in court, though. Even if this was an old policy, it wasn't publicized enough to be upheld, but now on ever page, it might, thus my account with TotalFark.com goes bye bye. I'll miss you all. Well, most of you.



Couple of things:Copyrights are considered propert...

2007-04-26T09:35:00.000-04:00

Couple of things:

Copyrights are considered property, and probably can't change hands this way; I'm believe it's explicitly prevented by some state laws (Georgia, for one, as I understand it).

US copyright law explicitly prevents assigning exclusive rights this way, which probably also invalidates it (they give you re-publication, but that leaves some other exclusive rights).

http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1.html#toc

Also, implicit contracts are shaky in general (see shrink-wrap EULAs for an example). Given that this one is basically horse-theft, I don't see it flying in court.