25 June 2007

licensing your work to upload sites

When uploading your work to sites, you may want to have a good look at what you are agreeing to. Different websites have very different licensing agreements. Some websites only ask you to agree to a license to host and display you material while you are keeping it in your user controlled area. They will stop hosting and displaying your material when you decide to delete it from your user area. That seems sensible and fair.

However, there are other sites, where you have to give them a much broader license. One that may give them the right to re-distribute your songs forever, maybe even charge for it, or to create derivative works, even long after you deleted your song from their site. This may be ok for you, but I would not be happy if someone created a ringtone from one of my songs, and started to make lots of money from it without giving me anything.

One such example of a very broad license is at mp3.com, which used to be a very cool site for musicians to host their songs, but has changed ownership and now is something very different. The site now belongs to a publisher of many paper based and web based publications, called CNET.

From the terms and conditions at mp3.com: CNET Networks - Editorial - Site Terms of Use: "You hereby grant us, our affiliates, and our partners a worldwide, irrevocable, royalty-free, nonexclusive, sublicensable license to use, reproduce, create derivative works of, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, transfer, transmit, distribute, and publish Your Content and subsequent versions of Your Content for the purposes of (i) displaying Your Content on our sites, (ii) distributing Your Content, either electronically or via other media, to users seeking to download or otherwise acquire it, and/or (iii) storing Your Content in a remote database accessible by end users, for a charge. This license shall apply to the distribution and the storage of Your Content in any form, medium, or technology now known or later developed."

I generally do not like to upload any of my original work to sites like that. In any case, as original artist, always try to make sure to read and understand not only how the site licenses materials to you, but also how you license your material to them.

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