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Another Editor
10-22-2011, 12:21 AM
This is an amazing story about a writer who came up with a speculative fiction story, posted it to Reddit, and managed to get a movie deal out of it.

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/does-warner-bros-have-movie-250726

That's the good news. The bad news is that Reddit's user agreement gives the site an unlimited, non-exclusive right to use the story. Italics are on the word "use" because the definition of "use" in that agreement is pretty broad. Here are the relevant sections that are quoted in the article:


you agree that by posting messages, uploading files, inputting data, or engaging in any other form of communication with or through the Website, you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, enhance, transmit, distribute, publicly perform, display, or sublicense any such communication in any medium (now in existence or hereinafter developed) and for any purpose, including commercial purposes, and to authorize others to do so.

(The original source is here (http://www.reddit.com/help/useragreement))

Lots of writing forums have spaces for people to post their work for peer review and critique. These are useful for honing one's craft. However, the people need to check the site's terms of use before doing this. Then there is the question of whether or not the work is actually intended to be published somewhere down the line.

It will be interesting to hear people discuss this on the This Week In Law (http://twit.tv/twil) podcast this weekend. The fellow who wrote this article is a regular on the show.

iRock
10-22-2011, 04:13 AM
I have no idea about the legalities of all this, but I'd definitely watch the movie if it all works out. Marines time traveling back to fight the Ancient Romans? Awww, hell yeah!

thothguard51
10-22-2011, 04:49 AM
Journey Pournelle already did this in Janissaries...

Mac H.
10-22-2011, 05:23 AM
The thread title implies that he should be been more careful about posting it online. The thread title is wrong.

If he had done that he wouldn't have the movie deal. It's as simple as that.

----

This wasn't a licensing headache.

A headache would be that the Reddit streamed delayed or impeded the sale.

But it didn't impede the sale. It helped it. It was vital to it.

Yes - the film company is powerless to stop Reddit doing what they want with the thread. They could print it on Coke cans if they wanted. They could do another film version if they wanted.

So what?

It didn't hamper this deal going through. Despite it being an interesting legal point - it simply wasn't something that was a problem.

That's good news.

If you want an example of how a writer should have been careful about posting his work online because of licensing headaches then you can probably find one. But this isn't it.

Mac

Medievalist
10-22-2011, 05:28 AM
you agree that by posting messages, uploading files, inputting data, or engaging in any other form of communication with or through the Website, you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, translate, enhance, transmit, distribute, publicly perform, display, or sublicense any such communication in any medium (now in existence or hereinafter developed) and for any purpose, including commercial purposes, and to authorize others to do so.


Are you really an editor? Really?

Because if you've had any contact, at all, with contracts you'd know this is unenforceable, and specifically illegal in some states—like California.

And the thread title? That's more than a little misleading.

You know, this is like the 5th thread, at least, like this that you've posted that looks an awful lot like bait.