Wednesday, July 29, 2015
Do I Lose All Rights When I Blog?
A click-to-agree contract is legally binding in the U.S. and the fact that you don't receive any payment does not prevent it from being enforceable (as long as the arrangement provides some benefit to you-- for example, increased exposure versus obscurity).
Who owns what? We think a blogger entering into this agreement retains copyright. We don't think the statement, "All submissions made by you shall be the sole property of [company] and will not be acknowledged or returned," transfers copyright ownership (It seems more like a vestige from publishing agreements relieving the company from having to keep track of email or paper submissions.) We believe a court would require more explicit language affecting a transfer -- for example, using words such as "assign," or "transfer," and "copyright" and "ownership."
What type of copyright? What you retain, after entering into this agreement, is a partially-gutted copyright. That's because you give up a lot of rights on a nonexclusive basis, effectively preventing you from selling those rights to someone else on an exclusive basis -- for example, entering into publishing agreement for a collection of blog entries as a book. But, of course, that may be "old school" thinking, ignoring the benefits of your personal brand exposure and the temporal quality of sports blogging.