Warning—Safeguard Your IP

Hey Folks,

Note: This post appeared in slightly different form over on my Journal.

If you decide to use WordPress.com (or any other “free” website builder), READ THE TERMS SERVICE. The terms of service are a legally enforceable contract, and when you click that little box saying you accept them, you’re effectively signing that contract.

If you don’t want to read every boring word, at least search for terms like “Content” and “Rights” and “Intellectual Property Rights.” Read those passages carefully. Often they will assure you in one section or paragraph that your rights remain your own (or that you retain all rights) and then grab them from you in another section or paragraph.

(Note: WordPress.ORG is different in that it’s a self-hosted site. You retain ownership to all content that you upload. But be sure to read the terms of service of your webhosting service too.)

The same goes for anyplace else where you’re uploading your content. (Facebook, anyone? Twitter?) Take time to read the terms of service. To safeguard your IP, you need to be absolutely certain you retain full ownership of any content you upload to any site.

On his blog, Nate Hoffelder recently mentioned that BlogTalkRadio has a “free tier.”

But should you decide to use BlogTalkRadio to set up a podcast, under “Rights over UGC” [User Generated Content] their terms of service read as follows:

“By creating, delivering, submitting, posting or displaying UGC on or through BlogTalkRadio, the User grants a non-exclusive, royalty-free, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual and with the right to sublicense license to the Owner without territorial limits, to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display, and distribute such content in any media or via distribution methods currently available or developed later.”

In other words, you’re giving BTR the right to use your material in any way they see fit. For that reason, I won’t be using them.

Be careful out there. Zealously guard your copyright. Just sayin’.

‘Til next time, happy writing!


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