[Answered] Copyright

Discussion in 'Beta Feedback [Archive]' started by jpatokal, Feb 8, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. jpatokal
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    jpatokal Silver Member

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    Who owns the copyright for contributions to the site? I don't see any mention of this in terms and rules -- and unless I'm very much mistaken, that means every contributor continues to retain the full copyright to their works.
     
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  2. vbroucek
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    vbroucek Silver Member

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    Hmm, it seems I may be getting into hot waters very soon after joining, but I am going to risk it and ask the OP - why is it important to you? I would think that this is meant to be place where we all contribute and share and do not worry about who owns copyright of the contributions. I am in no means expert on copyright laws, but I know for sure that once we start considering issues like this, Randy and spol can close this immediatelly...
     
  3. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    I think it's a good question.
     
  4. This is important to a lot of people, and became an issue when Flyertalk opened up its search archives for a number of (previously private) forums. There's always the question of "do I own what I post?" and the question becomes more complicated when you duplicate content over multiple sites.

    Suppose I publish a review of a hotel on my personal blog, then I cut-and-paste that review into a post on Milepoint. Suppose, much later, that I've compiled a hundred reviews that I'd like to publish as a book. Who owns the copyright to that material? I've created it, but if I've agreed (via the terms & conditions on this website) that MP now owns the copyright, we've got a sticky situation.

    And while I suspect that Randy would take the high road and allow me to publish my material myself, what happens when (as in the case of Flyertalk) the intellectual property is sold to a third party?
     
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  5. joesmoe
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    joesmoe Gold Member

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    Excellent questions.
     
  6. vbroucek
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    vbroucek Silver Member

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    This is a good point that I did not think about. As an academic, I do publish a lot and have to deal with (C) issues, but did not realise that there might be people like you... Tricky question. Any IP lawyers around?
     
  7. jpatokal
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    jpatokal Silver Member

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    One of my main beefs with FlyerTalk is that they claim the right to reuse your contributions in any way they like, without granting anybody else the right to do the same. Milepoint could easily claim the moral high ground by adopting a free content license like Creative Commons, which lets anybody reuse the content provided it is attributed properly and relicensed in the same way. (This license is used by Wikipedia, Wikitravel and quite a few other community sites.)

    Incidentally, FlyerTalk/Internet Brands also claim the right to spam you to death and to sell any and all information about you to anybody they want to, and Milepoint's boilerplate seems to imply the same:

    Any of the information we collect from you may be used in one of the following ways:...
    To send periodic emails: the email address you provide for order processing, may be used to send you information and updates pertaining to your order, in addition to receiving occasional company news, updates, related product or service information, etc.

    Although the (partly contradictory?) information disclosure bit lower down claims that "we will not sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to advertisers or outside parties your personally identifiable information".
     
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  8. vbroucek
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    vbroucek Silver Member

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    Again, I might be risking, but:
    • this is general problem with the Internet - no one really knows who owns what and everyone can basically use anything
    • free service somehow have to earn bucks to exist
    • I personally really do not care if someone else uses something I post here - to be honest that someone may be risking that what I posted is not corect and if that someone uses it and sells it, then he/she will be in a trouble, not me
    • nobody is forcing anybody to participate - if people have problems with the way things are, they can simply leave
    I am in no means saying that copyright issue and other points you raise are not important, but I am concerned that the nature of the Internet as such does virtually prevents any real sense of ownership, copyright etc.

    I think that at the minimum, sources should be referenced and credited like in any written material. As an academic, it is "sort of normal" for me to do so anyway and I think everybody could do it. Then again, I am in no means intelectual property (IP) expert and I would prefer to leave it to someone more appropriate. So please do not take my post too seriously - it's just my 5c worth...
     
  9. I have the same issue.

    Essentially I am providing 'intellectual labour' for free.. or perhaps for my personal satisfaction..
    But someone else can realize monetary benefit from it.

    The bigger question is what would be the legal ramifications for all of us cancelling and deleting all our posts
    from FT , essentially leaving it a empty BB and importing them here.. (Not that I am advocating that).
    I suppose thats the ultimate test of ownership. Can I choose to use my 'intellectual labour' to a financial harm or benefit another party.. Interesting.
     
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  10. LFCorsten
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    LFCorsten Silver Member

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    Good question.
     
  11. ThatJohn
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    ThatJohn Silver Member

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    I'm not a lawyer, but I used to play one on an Internet blogging site. However! I am certainly not your lawyer and blah blah blah this is not legal advice. On account of me not being a lawyer. (Denny Crane.)

    The short answer is: FT would be wise to let you delete your posts.

    The long answer is:

    Assuming that we're talking about laws in the USA, forums, ISPs, web hosts, blogging sites etc. are legally immune from prosecution on many grounds (decency, illegal content, trademark and copyright infringement, etc.) under "common carrier" exemptions.

    Basically, if I am 15 and post hawt nudez of myself here, or link to Wikileaks, or copy a full NYT article, the place where I post it does not have to do anything about it until someone reports it. In fact, they are immune from prosecution if their staff actively does not monitor content for infringement. (See below.)

    Forums, blogging sites, web hosts and ISPs can claim immunity if they do not monitor content for infringement (which is costly and, well, opens them up to liability for everything posted on their site), and if they take a certain set of steps outlined in various laws upon notification of infringement.

    (These steps, with regard to copyright under the DMCA and related legislation, are: notify alleged infringer, give notice period, take action if no response, pass on alleged infringer's details to alleger if alleged infringer swears that the use is permitted under certain conditions including Fair Use so that alleger can sue the pants off alleged infringer, etc.)

    This is good -- nobody wants Randy to get sued if I post a New York Times article verbatim and the NYT comes after MP.

    However! The key point here is that once MP (or FT) actually becomes involved in publishing the content (or preventing me from deleting it) there is a legal grey area that is a giant minefield of untested questions. So nobody wants to be the first one to walk into it.

    So yes, FT would be wise to just let you delete your posts. (Does that all make sense? Clear as mud? I'm happy to clarify to the best of my knowledge.)
     
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  12. I believe you can delete, or you certainly could before.

    But the question is beyond deleting, can you transpose your intellectual property at the financial loss of one party to the benefit of another.

    More simply, can I take a FAQ I written on X and move it here?

    Personally, I suspect (with absolutely no legal knowledge) that you can.

    To put it in physical terms, I can take funds I have one broker investing and move it to another broker to do the same thing, even if broker 1 takes a loss of future earnings over it. Its my money.

    The only hiccup I can see is this is in the public eye, with no 'expectation of privacy', so I can't expect my property to be just my own.. Ie taking photos of others in public places and selling them for my benefit.
     
  13. ThatJohn
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    ThatJohn Silver Member

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    [quote="mtacchi, post: 12069"But the question is beyond deleting, can you transpose your intellectual property at the financial loss of one party to the benefit of another.

    More simply, can I take a FAQ I written on X and move it here?[/quote]

    (I am still not a lawyer, not even on the Internets, blah blah.)

    As I understand it (though I have not peered too hard at the TOS for FT), you have granted FT a nonexclusive right to reproduce your content, yes? They can do anything with it: skywrite it, text it to people, print FlyerTalk Magazine to go along with SkyMall and include your stuff. That wouldn't stop you from using the content elsewhere.

    But if (say) you were a journalist for a travel mag and had a content exclusivity deal with them, that site would probably be cross with you for posting the same (or, in some cases, even competing) information on FT.
     
  14. JALPak
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    JALPak Gold Member

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    That's why for those review contents you should post a link to your blog instead :p
     
  15. ThatJohn
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    ThatJohn Silver Member

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    Also, you should check whether your FT post is governed by a noncompete clause in the TOS. If not, the only person likely to be irritated with you is your publisher ;)
     
  16. cockpitvisit
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    cockpitvisit Gold Member

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    What about the copyright to avatars? I wouldn't want to put my real face into my avatar if there is a possibility of it appearing in spams sent out by the site owner [​IMG]

    While I don't think Randy would do that, you never know where the ownership may go at the end.
     
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  17. I can assure you, there aren't many products my ugly mug will help sell.
     
  18. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Always appreciate the feedback and to your point here, please allow me to connect a few dots for you. While it may seem contradictory, I'm not reading it that close. As noted, I have no need, no want, no desire to do anything with your information thus the note about not sell, trade or otherwise transfer to outside parties, etc. What you are focused on with "related product or service information" is actually good for you—let me explain. We say we may send periodic emails, etc. If you'll look at this part of some of the plans we have for our members:
    http://milepoint.com/forums/help/trophies
    you'll see that at certain levels (easy to reach for those contributing meaningful content right now) we are going to give our members free identifying bag tags. Because we collect no individual information from you to begin with, we will have to contact you to acquire a mailing address from these tags (this is as contrasted with other places where perhaps you have to purchase them and that would be initiated by you and something different). As well, there are other gifts we plan on offering members once they exhibit the friendly tone and content contributing actions we hope our members will adopt. Again, if one of those gifts were to be a Starbucks gift card (I'm somewhat infamous for the number of those I had out annually) or some other item, I will have to contact you to acquire a mailing address—each and every time since we have an internal policy to not collect and keep your personal details such as that once the transaction is completed. Now connecting the dots, you know the rest of the story. If these types of intents read well for our members—great, we truly are happy and pleased to see you here.
     
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  19. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    A good question and one i certainly do not mind addressing. As noted in the welcome to this Beta, we are trying to focus on ensuring that the underlying technology works for our members and as well, ask a favor to assist us in building a foundation of information that others over time will find useful in increasing their travel knowledge. During the next few weeks as these things are going on, we certainly have a list of items which include adding the additional pieces of navigation and clarity such as this to the website before our formal launch—it's not an item that has been overlooked. We had it initially set up for this beta, but were not pleased in how we were linking it in, whether with the wiki approach we have or part of a larger FAQ in a different format (blog style). While I totally get that many members during this Beta are looking forward to it being a place for them to make permanent residence for their travel knowledge needs as related to loyalty programs, we remain committed to taking advantage of the time to make sure everything is in its place for the real launch of MilePoint.
    As to a copyright. It is our stand that the individual members own their content and are free to do what they wish with it. I'll expand on that later, but this really covers the most important issue and one that I can't think of any other reason to have a different policy for.
     
  20. the_happiness_store
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    the_happiness_store Silver Member

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    We will always have the problem of and individual using the work of other on this site and proclaiming to be his own on 3rd party site.
     
  21. Randy Petersen
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    Randy Petersen Founder

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    Here's what WILL happen in your scenario. Not only will you have the copyright to the information you are author of, but I will help you in any way i can to get it published if that is your ambition. How's that for service? As to intellectual property being sold—only on the terms of the original TOS And Privacy Policy as far as I'm concerned or at least a grandfather of that property to that point. You know what, i will add that disclaimer (to your good) in our policy so that you will feel comfortable into the future with your contributions here. Now, how is that for listening and action. Thanks for something unique for MilePoint.
     
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  22. techgirl
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    techgirl Milepoint Guide

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    That's really great news (re: content ownership), Randy! I like hearing your very well-reasoned position on that. [​IMG]
     
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  23. Xyzzy
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    Xyzzy Gold Member

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    That is exactly the business model of this kind :pf operation. We create/edit/purify the content. Someone else gets the click-through revenue. It's really a symbiotic relationship, as we derive benefits as well in the form of a virtual gathering place.

    Even more interesting is the question of what happens if you delete your posts and the site owner (who presumably has backups) chooses to restore them for its own self interests.
     
  24. SC Flier
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    SC Flier Gold Member

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    Great discussion here. IANAL, but I often find myself interested in such topics.

    Randy clarified much about ownership and rights to each person's posts. I'm curious how such rights would work out in collaborative wikiposts, though. I really had not given that thought before now. If wikiposts were to become an integrated part of the forums (and I do hope that they will be), who really owns the content in them? Do they need different T&Cs?
     
  25. philcape
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    philcape Silver Member

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    This is truly fascinating! I had no idea how many complex copyright issues could arise from an IBB or wiki.

    It just makes me glad I don't have to worry about anyone wanting to claim my drivel as theirs! ;)
     
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