Headliner appeared today, and asked to have rights to all my content

Headliner wants to have rights to all of my content

Headliner wants to have rights to all of our content.

A “Headliner” pop-up appeared in WordPress today and invited me to join in order to reach 10X as many people. But in their Terms of Service it says they can do whatever they want with any and all participant’s content, including altering it, forever. They say their service is designed to help us reach a greater audience, so why do they need any rights at all to any of our content? They even originally insisted on the right to SELL our original material! They’ve somewhat toned down the sinister sounding Terms Of Service, but it still gives one cause for very serious pause. Stopped me dead in my tracks.

The original TOS said this:

You grant to HEADLINER the unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual fully-paid and royalty-free right and license to host, use, copy, distribute, reproduce, disclose, sell, resell, sublicense,display, perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, modify, make derivative works from, retitle, reformat, translate, archive, store, cache or otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content to which you have contributed, for any purpose whatsoever, in any and all formats; on or through any and all media, software, formula or medium now known or hereafter known; and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed and to advertise, market and promote same.

What are they going to do with people’s original content? Why can’t they ASK if they want to use something for promotional purposes? What else are they going to do with it? Why would they ever demand the right to SELL our original content, and cut us out of the picture entirely? Meanwhile, in clause 2) Ownership of Intellectual Property c) they do a complete 180, and insure you don’t have any right at all to do the same thing to them:

c) You agree not to copy, redistribute, publish or otherwise exploit material from the Service, except as expressly permitted herein, without the express prior written permission of HEADLINER.

So, apparently they are really big on this Ownership of Intellectual Property issue. They own yours, but you can’t touch theirs. They are extremely serious about this, and want to make damned sure that what they plan to do to us never happens to them. It sounds like an ulterior motive, and so dark that shady can’t touch it.

Why don’t they instead assure us that, beyond disseminating our content, they will never use or alter it for any reason whatsoever, or have any rights to it?

MAYBE they are a good service with a terrible TOS. I don’t know. I’m not a lawyer. But I’m also not stupid. They need to completely remove the clause about having rights to all our content, and if they want to do something with our material, they can ask, and they can compensate fairly. What’s wrong with THAT? After all, they expressively would never let anyone have any right to their content under any circumstances.

So, Headliner, take note of the golden rule, and do onto other as you’d have them do unto you.

What initially appeared a sound idea and a boon to bloggers turns out to look a lot more like a trap.

Here is the modified version of clause c):

c) You grant to HEADLINER the unrestricted, unconditional, unlimited, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual fully-paid and royalty-free right and license to host, use, copy, distribute, reproduce, disclose, sublicense, display, perform, transmit, publish, broadcast, modify, make derivative works from, retitle, reformat, translate, archive, store, cache or otherwise exploit in any manner whatsoever, all or any portion of your User Content to which you have contributed, for any purpose whatsoever, in any and all formats; on or through any and all media, software, formula or medium now known or hereafter known; and with any technology or devices now known or hereafter developed and to advertise, market and promote same. 

It no longer expressly says they have the right to sell and resell you work, but it still says they have the right to “exploit in any manner whatsoever” your content for “any purpose whatsoever”. I would define selling and reselling as a “purpose”.

This is like hiring a moving company, and they have a contract that stipulates that they have the right to keep anything that gets put in their moving van. Why would any blogger want to give up the rights to their material, and all control over it, forever?

Fortunately I couldn’t find anything in there about them having rights to my first-born, or the right to extract a pound of fair flesh from any part of my body, but, they came close. Reeeeaaaaal close.

Won’t be using that service!

be-afraid

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