Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hmmm

Ok, Alicia pointed this out to me the other day. Read carefully:

"All tapes, photographs, creative suggestions, ideas, notes or concepts or other materials (collectively, "Material") submitted to Blueprint magazine whether through a solicitation by Blueprint or Bluelines or unsolicited, become the property of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, Inc. ("MSLO") and will not be returned. Submission of Materials shall constitute an assignment to MSLO of all worldwide rights, titles, and interests in all copyrights and other intellectual property rights in such Materials. MSLO is and shall be under no obligation to (1) maintain any of your Material in confidence; (2)pay to you any compensation for any Material; or (3) respond to any of your Material. Due to the volume of submissions, all tapes and photographs submitted cannot be returned. By submitting a tape or photo, you agree to let Blueprint magazine use such tape or photo in any media, including on-air and online, and all submitted tapes and photos become the property of MSLO."

--Blueprint magazine, May/June 2007, page 142 (the teeny tiny text off in the margin of the page).

I understand the nature of a legal statement like this, but does this particular one seem a little scarey to you? Comments?

33 comments:

  1. Very not cool.
    Submit a photo and they own the whole idea?
    That's a big resounding uh-uh from this little red hen.

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  2. angela1:25 AM

    Kind of scary. I'm showing some of my products at a show they'll be attending in June. If they pick up a press kit and some of my samples, then what? Was that considered a "submission"?

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  3. That seems pretty unreasonable. It reads as if they own all the rights for any idea you submit, even if they choose not to use it, which would mean that you couldn't use it anywhere else. And that they can use it however they want and not pay you! All a bit "Big Brother" for my taste.

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  4. wow. i second the idea of "very not cool." as though they are hoping to gain ideas for their entire corporation from submissions.

    i say again, wow.

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  5. What ?
    That is outrageous.

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  6. That unfortunately is the kind of world that we live in... I think most publications/patterns have similar disclaimers. I have even heard that some fabric designers want to stipulate that people can not make items for sale using their products... Which makes sense especially if you are going to make 1000 halter tops to sell using Amy Butler's line of fabric...

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  7. It seems to be a little much but considering it is Martha Stewart, I'm not suprised. The woman kind of scares me.

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  8. Wow. That is scary. What a shame that to get your creativity out there that a big wig gets to take all the credit.

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  9. I've read this before relating to magazines and other publications. They just want to be able to use/alter your submission if chosen to fit their needs. However, from what a person can tell, most submissions just go into the garbage. Yeah, first thought was "that's Martha!"

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  10. That pig latin translates to: "We think you're cool. We want you to show and tell us about your crafty stuff and if we like it we will take your idea and pawn it off as one of our own and give you no credit or compensation. Thank you for your creativeness. Sincerely, Martha Stewart."

    Er, thanks but no thanks!

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  11. Anonymous3:50 PM

    I hope more people read this and realize they are loosing the creative "credit". Maybe Martha will re-think her policy when submissions stop coming in.
    Anne Sheridan

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  12. Hey, what if Martha reads your blog - d'you think that counts?!!

    I think I'd better run off and write a disclaimer of my own, not that she's exactly a regular visitor, but you never ever know ;)

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  13. That doesn't quite seem right now does it? Other magazines don't claim to own the worldwide rights over a submission. I think that I'd rather post something for free on my blog than to submit something to the big Martha Stewart organization. It's the principle that counts.

    I understand not being able to respond to submissions. But if they're going to use it, I think that they should be able to send a postcard at the very least. And if you're not getting paid, then the magazine should only have the right to print it in their magazine without owning the total rights to that idea.

    It sounds like Martha Stewart & co. are counting on people like us to do their creative work for them .. for free. And to be snobby about it at the same time.

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  14. Wow. I used to work at a magazine and we had nothing like this. I think they are doing this simply because they can. On the flip side, I imaging a company as big as MSL also gets a lot of "you stole my idea" complaints, and maybe they are just covering their butts.

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  15. Excuse me? So basically Martha owns everything and every good idea ever. Why would anyone take the risk of never again owning the rights to their own work? Where is the creative person's protection?

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  16. Little scary?!? LOT scary! Who agrees to this?

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  17. Anonymous9:11 AM

    As a former MSLO employee, I assure you that the team at Blueprint is not trying to "take your crafty ideas and pawn them off as their own." They have a wonderful group of talented stylists, craft editors, and art directors (really, the most talented I have ever worked with) and they work very hard to come up with original ideas to share with you in their magazine. This is clearly something the legal department came up with.

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  18. >Anonymous said...

    Well I hope they realize they are messing with their target market, not just content contributors, here. Right?

    Seems to me the new deal is that people want not just to be passive listeners/observers/consumers but also active participants - and an overly protective attitude could kill that.

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  19. It's well worth getting the advice or assistance of an agent before you enter into any kind of submission or contract with a company, whatever their stated policy. They can change them and will change them for individual cases if they have to. Agents are worth every penny of their percentage!

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  20. I'm in the minority but this makes absolute sense from a business point of view; if for no other reason it helps weed out unsolicited submissions.

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  21. Geez Louise! Absolutely over the top, and no WAY would I even think about submitting one single thing tot his mob. Where do they get off?!

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  22. It does sound scary, but I think it's obviously a legal disclaimer that helps them to prevent spending all their time in court with folks who'd like to claim that Martha stole their idea. I really doubt that they're mining creative submissions from the folks at home to fill up their magazine pages.

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  23. wow. no idea that was in there.

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  24. sounds like a way to make theft legal!

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  25. Anonymous11:13 AM

    This is just standard text. Any "creative" magazine or company has a similar states policy. They don't want you to send unsolicited ideas and later sue them for stealing those ideas.

    If you really do get a freelance contract with an organization like this you can probably negotiate your own intellectual property clause that will take precedence over this default.

    Don't freak - its not just Martha being nasty. Even comic books babble on like this.

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  26. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Here, I copied this right off marvel Comics web site. All you people who claimed "your" magazines don't have this policy should go back and read the fine print. You may never have enforced this, but I'd bet its the official policy:

    By submitting or sending Submitted Materials to us, you: (i) represent and warrant that the Submitted Materials are original to you, that no other party has any rights thereto, and that any "moral rights" in Submitted Materials have been waived, and (ii) you grant us and our affiliates a royalty-free, unrestricted, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive and fully transferable, assignable and sublicensable right and license to use, copy, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such material (in whole or part) and/or to incorporate it in other works in any form, media, or technology now known or later developed, including for promotional and/or commercial purposes. We cannot be responsible for maintaining any Submitted Material that you provide to us, and we may delete or destroy any such Submitted Material at any time.

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  27. anonymous, quit being all pouty on our parade of glee!

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  28. Anonymous12:28 PM

    Sorry Christina, I'm sure its all a big nasty plot hatched by Martha herself! So evil, how can she keep doing this to us?

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  29. Anonymous12:30 PM

    You know... Real Simple has a similar worldwide license clause for their magazine. It might be fun to send the same idea to both mags and let them fight over it. :)

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  30. Anonymous11:00 AM

    Where are you????

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  31. You bet it's scary. I'd also call it slimy and draconian.

    Legally, I bet much of it is bullshit, the same as me saying "by reading this comment you hereby assign to me all rights and interests in the ideas you are thinking in your head right now". (Fortunately, these pseudo-contracts tend to get laughed out of court.)

    This is NOT the standard "we'll take your submission but don't count on a reply" fine print. This is claiming far more rights over your work and ideas than they have any ethical right to - and more than they have any legal right to.

    This agreement (supposedly) lets them take any "Material" you send them, claim it as theirs forever, and prohibit YOU from using it yourself (say, posting it to your blog or selling it to another publication).

    From the magazine's point of view, it doesn't make sense to do most of the things they threaten (if they stole your idea, they'd have to pay somebody to write it up anyway), but this statement is a blanket "we own everything ever" that their lawyers want to be able to whip out if any sort of scuffle arises between you and them (for example, if they agreed to pay you for an idea and then didn't, they could point to this agreement and say they own your work and don't need to pay you.)

    I wouldn't do business with anybody that treats their customers, contributors, and correspondents like that.

    (I'm not a lawyer, but I am a pattern designer and a copyright geek.)

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  32. Oops -- showing up late here. I guess that when I read this statement I was most concerned, as Beth above has noted, that when the magazine claims the rights to all submissions -- including those it has solicited -- it technically precludes you or anyone else from using them elsewhere, for anything -- if I'm understanding that correctly (and I am asking -- I'm certainly no expert in copyright law)? I send in photos/ideas/products, etc. to editors that solicit them regularly -- it never occurred to me that they would somehow own the rights to that "material" by virtue of me having complied with their request. Sometimes an editor asks to see dozens of photos, and winds up running just one or two. I could easily and have before resent those same unused photos to somebody else without a single thought, assuming that if a mag chose not to use them, they would certainly still belong to me.

    It seems like this statement must be kind of a technicality, for certain situations, or a way for the company to protect itself, yes. I don't believe that they are intending to rip anyone off. But it makes me think twice about responding to requests without getting clarification from the requester as to what rights I retain after that material has been "submitted."

    Does that make sense or am I getting very, very sleepy (it's late)?

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  33. Anonymous7:32 PM

    You're right Alicia... its just a technicality. Take your example a little further and assume a couple months after your submission a few shots that looked suspiciously like your un-used shots appeared. The whole point of this clause is to keep them safe from lawsuits in this sort of situation.

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