Thursday, March 26, 2015

Currently in legal consultations with TV Tropes

This blog post is an update concerning how All The Tropes has made mention we have attempted to maintain cordial relations with TV Tropes and possibly work out some legal issues that have concerned us about their copyright situation, specifically their use of a CC BY NC SA license changed without prior notice or consent by the community from CC BY SA and the irrevocable surrender of contributions of contributors to TV Tropes, which is in contravention to Creative Commons (specifically the SA clause).

We were on the verge of pursuing legal action due to negotiations stalling badly with what appeared to be mounting indifference and bad faith on their end, but to our relief, Drew Schoentrup has agreed to formally discuss our concerns with his own legal counsel and has amended their current policy to address part of our copyright concerns, an act we feel is a bit belated but we still appreciate, and assuming he continues to show such continued good faith and address matters in the most honorable, legal and ethical manner possible, we do solemnly hope any further attempt at legal action of our own can be put in abeyance and that while we may be "rivals", I do solemnly hope it will be in the friendly sense.

The part of our concerns that has been handled so far is as follows, taken from the Administrivia/WelcomeToTVTropes page, as modified by drewski, aka Drew Schoentrup.

Before:

The super-quick, can't be bothered to read anything else version:
* Everything you contribute to the site belongs to us, unless it wasn't yours to begin with.
* Except for Fair Use, you can't copy any of the site's content unless you obey [[http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ the Creative Commons license]] or get special permission.

The slightly longer, still not lawyer-speak version:

By contributing content to this site (including but not limited to the wiki, forums, reviews, liveblog, and YKTTW areas), whether text or images, you grant TV Tropes irrevocable ownership of said content, with all rights surrendered, except:

* Where third-party content (in particular, images) is contributed that is governed by [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fair_use Fair Use]]. For more information, see Administrivia/AboutImagesAndCopyright.
* Where we display published, copyrighted content in compliance with its license, and/or enter into a specific, written agreement with the licensor. Example: the EvilOverlordList, ''WebVideo/EchoChamber''. Users of our site must get permission from the staff to do this.
* Where a person contributes content that they do not have the rights to -- most often, copy-pasting from Wikipedia or other third party. If we are notified that an article contains plagiarized or copyrighted content that is not governed by Fair Use, we will remove that content and potentially take action against the user who added it.

We are not required to attribute content you contribute to you, nor do you retain ownership of anything you contribute. Anything you contribute may be deleted, modified, or used commercially by us without notification or consent, to the extent permitted by applicable laws. For that reason, we strongly recommend that you do not post material on our site, whether in text or image form, that you wish to receive publication credit for in the future.

For more details about the Creative Commons license, which controls what you may do with the content that's already on the site, see the link earlier in this section or at the bottom of every wiki article. 


The much better version:

'''Your Content'''

TV Tropes does not claim ownership to your copyrighted content or information you submit to us (“user content”).  Instead, by submitting user content to TV Tropes, you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, unrestricted, worldwide license to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, prepare derivative works, distribute copies, perform, or publicly display your user content in any medium and for any purpose, including commercial purposes, and to authorize others to do so.

You agree that you have the right to submit anything you post, and that your user content does not violate the copyright, trademark, trade secret or any other personal or proprietary right of any other party.

We are not required to attribute content you contribute to you.  Anything you contribute may be deleted, modified, or used commercially by us without notification or consent, to the extent permitted by applicable laws. For that reason, we strongly recommend that you do not post material on our site for the first time, whether in text or image form, that you wish to receive publication credit for in the future.

'''Our Content'''

TV Tropes contains graphics, text, photographs, images, video, audio, software, code, website compilation, website "look and feel," and advertisements supplied by us or our licensors, which we call "TV Tropes Content."  TV Tropes Content is protected by intellectual property laws including copyright and other property rights of the United States and foreign countries.

We grant you the right to access the TV Tropes content in the manner described in this agreement.

Except for Fair Use, you can't copy any of the site's content unless you obey [[http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/ this Creative Commons license]] or get special permission.  For more details about the Creative Commons license, which controls what you may do with the content that's already on the site, see the link earlier in this section or at the bottom of every wiki article.


As you can see, Drew has clarified the position we at ATT has stated all along: No, you do not surrender your reuse rights to TV Tropes, and their attempt to force such action was not legal or ethical, and we applaud Drew for amending their rules to respect intellectual property law.

We still hope the other half of our concerns will be handled in due course, and, like in this case, we further welcome any effort on Drew's part that doesn't involve lawyers (we don't want a bloody legal battle anymore than he does) to resolve these concerns honorably, and while the CC licensing issue may take more legal work to resolve, we remain confident we can hopefully resolve this as swiftly and ethically as time and legal restraints permit.

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