Your Rights (You gave them away!)

I came across this post today, from a guy who posted his video on YouTube, then saw it on VH1, and took the VH1 video, showing his video, and tried to show it, and… Well, go read the post…

I came across this post today, from a guy who posted his video on YouTube, then saw it on VH1, and took the VH1 video, showing his video, and tried to show it, and… Well, go read the post….

I’ll only deal with the first part in which his video was used by VH1. When first saw one of those “web video” shows on TV months back, I knew something would go wrong. I was hoping they’d show a video that was under a non-commercial license (which would not include anything on YouTube obviously.) Well, this isn’t exactly how I saw it happening, but it’s close. Sort of. It is my belief that Christopher Knight surrendered his rights to his video when he uploaded it to YouTube. Well, more precisely, I should say that I think he granted YouTube a very liberal license do to whatever the hell they wanted to do with his videos… Below is just a snippet from the YouTube Terms of Service:

“For clarity, you retain all of your ownership rights in your User Submissions. However, by submitting User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successors’ and affiliates’) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.”

I’m definitely not a lawyer, but read it over, and do you see the “royalty-free… transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute… display… affiliates… business…. in any media formats and through any media channels” In other words, “You hereby grant YouTube the rights to do whatever the %$@&! they want with your content.” I mean, I can’t read that any other way.

How much do you want to bet that Viacom is an affiliate of Google/YouTube, and if they aren’t now, they will be tomorrow. Honestly, I caught a lot of crap from people because I kept saying that YouTube was bad/evil/thieves, etc. Sure, I’ve been known to promote rival services like Ourmedia and which, you know, actually let you control your creations, and maintain your rights.

You have choices people! I’m amazed by those who get all outraged about accounts and videos being deleted. It’s a service, someone else runs it, deal with it. Get your own account, post the videos there, or on a service that is friendly to what you do. Argh…..

We may have to hold a Creative Commons Salon in Milwaukee sooner than we thought.

6 replies on “Your Rights (You gave them away!)”

What is even more ironic about this is the fact that a few months back Viacom pulled everything from Youtube because of the copyright infrigements. Just goes to show the incestuous nature that is the media industry.

Very similar language is used in MySpace regarding the uploading of the music. You are probably familiar with the Billy Bragg case, where he pointed out the TOS language that reads:

(according to wikipedia) “You hereby grant to a non-exclusive, fully-paid and royalty-free, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense through unlimited levels of sublicensees) to use, copy, modify, adapt, translate, publicly perform, publicly display, store, reproduce, transmit, and distribute such Content on and through the Services.” The fine print brought particular concern as the agreement was being made with Murdoch’s News Corporation. Billy Bragg brought the issue to the attention of the media during the first week of June 2006.[52] Jeff Berman, a MySpace spokesman swiftly responded by saying, “Because the legalese has caused some confusion, we are at work revising it to make it very clear that MySpace is not seeking a license to do anything with an artist’s work other than allow it to be shared in the manner the artist intends.”

Also according to Wikipedia, in response to the protest:

By June 27, 2006, MySpace had amended the user agreement with, “ does not claim any ownership rights in the text, files, images, photos, video, sounds, musical works, works of authorship, or any other materials (collectively, ‘Content’) that you post to the MySpace Services. After posting your Content to the MySpace Services, you continue to retain all ownership rights in such Content, and you continue to have the right to use your Content in any way you choose.”

But that’s just an *AMENDMENT*. Rupert Murdoch can still use it any way he wants. You just don’t give up your copyright. You simply grant a license to myspace.

People often ask me why I haven’t put my band’s music up there. I work in the legal industry and this language still is too vague for my comfort. You wanna hear my band’s music? Pay the dang $5 cover and come see us.

Good insight V’ron… So many people neglect the ToS and do not know what they are agreeing to by just uploading something. I published all of my old band’s material under a Creative Commons non-commercial license, and it’s available on Ourmedia, The Internet Archive, and Last.FM, but not Myspace or other sites I do not agree with.

Some thoughts:
1. I am a strong believer and supporter of the Un-shrinkwrapper posted at It’s not any more or less valid than any other negotiated TOS contract, but at least it lets me put my thumb in people’s eye. I like that.

2. In 1997(ish) I pulled a ton of content down from Geocities during Yahoo’s turn with the “It’s your content but we pwn it” stick. This was the first time I was ever shown the value of my content, and it was only because it was stolen from me. It left a sour taste in my mouth.

3. Frankly, when firms like YOUTUBE and MySpace do this kind of stuff, they make it harder to sell the value of open-forms of copyright like Creative commons. From a Creative Commons standpoint, how do you differentiate between the difference between offering a BY-SA-NC license and “I’m not givin’ nobody no permission to use my stuff.”

The latter doesn’t work for me. For example, in ‘Vron’s case, I’m not going to pay the $5 cover until I can download his music to see if I like it. A BY-ND-NC license would cover my needs, but it also allows me to pass it around, repost it, possibly even to MySpace. Is there a middle ground? Is there a CC license that allows me to download and enjoy for personal use? A NO-DISTRIBUTION tag as it were?

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