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Thread: [Display site] OpenFloodgate, Inc.

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin PurpleLady's Avatar
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    Question [Display site] OpenFloodgate, Inc.

    Has anyone posted their writing to the web site Open Floodgate.com?

    http://www.openfloodgate.com/index.htm

    A visitor to our writers' group mentioned it. I visited it tonight and looked around. What is *very* interesting is the "Terms of Use" legal eagle speak. Buried within the catacombs is language that I interpret as saying anything posted there can be used by Open Floodgate and/or other members of the web site. There's more; particularly the text that's typed in ALL CAPS.

    Any information about the integrity of this web site would be appreciated. Curious minds would like to know.

    PurpleLady
    The sky's the limit.

  2. #2
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    Having had a quick scoot around the site, it looks to be just another on-line critique/display site.

    PurpleLady:
    Buried within the catacombs is language that I interpret as saying anything posted there can be used by Open Floodgate and/or other members of the web site.
    You mean this in paragraph 5(b) of their Terms of Service?

    by submitting the User Submissions to OpenFloodgate, you hereby grant OpenFloodgate 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 OpenFloodgate Website and OpenFloodgate's (and its successor's) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the OpenFloodgate Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels. You also hereby grant each user of the OpenFloodgate Website a non-exclusive license to access your User Submissions through the Website, and to use, reproduce, distribute, display and perform such User Submissions as permitted through the functionality of the Website and under these Terms of Service.
    I definitely don't like the "prepare derivative works of" language and the rest of it seems to allow the site owner to sell any work and not share the money with the author. I'm not entirely clear on what happens with this licence in the event that an author terminates their account on the site either - I'd presume that the licence should terminate automatically, but paragraph 6 of the ToS doesn't expressly state that:

    You may terminate your OpenFloodgate account at any time and for any reason by sending an email to cancel@OpenFloodgate.com. Any suspension, termination or cancellation shall not affect your obligations to OpenFloodgate under these Terms of Service (including but not limited to ownership, indemnification and limitation of liability), which by their sense and context are intended to survive such suspension, termination or cancellation.
    There's also this in paragraph 3(c):

    OpenFloodgate may decide at any time, at its sole discretion, to collect fees related to use of the Website and services, including, but not limited to, fees for viewing Content, User Submission and for using the Website in general.
    At the moment there's no charge to submit work, but they're leaving it open to charge in future - if they do that they can make double the revenue from the authors using it.

    Personally, I don't think it's worth joining a site like that - I'd be worried about the licensing implications and I don't like the heavy-handed indemnity and warranty language that's very author unfriendly to my eyes.

    MM

  3. #3
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin PurpleLady's Avatar
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    MM,

    Thanks for your time and analysis of this. This morning I discussed it with a fellow writer and we feel that *anything* put onto the Internet in this fashion is up for grabs by anyone who is so inclined to use it. I'll stick to working with editors and agents on a personal level.

    I also saw the language for possibly adding a fee for the service in the future. One wonders if the "Terms of Use" would then be re-written in such a way that Open Floodgate.com has *purchased* the members' works and therefore can use these without contacting the creators. Writer beware.

    Again. Thanks for your viewpoint.

    PurpleLady
    The sky's the limit.

  4. #4
    Writer Beware Goddess Absolute Sage victoriastrauss's Avatar
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    The language in the Terms of Service is pretty standard for a site of this kind--you'll find similar language in the TOS of most any website where people post content. It's intended to allow the site to function on the Internet, not to enable the site (or its visitors) to rip off your work and sell it to someone else. Conceivably, it could allow the site to produce an anthology of "best" submissions or something of the sort, and sell it without compensation to the contributors--but the likelihood of that, I think, is pretty remote.

    More relevant, IMO, is the issue of how useful (or not) such sites are. According to the Open Floodgate About page, "By connecting artists with their target audiences, OpenFloodgate brings immediate visibility to work that might not otherwise find its target audience or see the light of day in a traditional publishing environment." Frankly, I wouldn't hold my breath.

    - Victoria

  5. #5
    Tired and Disillusioned Momento Mori's Avatar
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    As always, I defer to Victoria in these matters.

    What I will say though is that having belonged to several of these type of hosting sites before, whilst I've seen the kind of licence wording aimed at allowing the site to display the work, what concerns me is the language extending those licence rights to Open Floodgate's business because there's no indication as to what that business is (i.e. whether it's limited to the website or whether it goes further in terms of providing content). That's not to imply that there's anything insidious about this language (and it could be that it's something standard in US legal drafting), but it does make me question why it needs to be there.

    MM

  6. #6
    practical experience, FTW BarbJ's Avatar
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    Aside from effectiveness, which is doubtful, if the weasel language is standard you would need to look at the company's history, IMO.

  7. #7
    Mostly Harmless SuperModerator CaoPaux's Avatar
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    OpenFloodgate is no longer, but founder's blog is still active: http://creativityrulz.blogspot.com/
    ICAO
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    Achievers strive for excellence. Perfectionists drive themselves to extinction. -- A Grapple A Day
    I've never known any trouble that an hour's reading didn't assuage. -- Charles DeSecondat

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