Galactic Rights to Your Work Are Wrong Way to Go

Wall Street Journal: Lawyerese Goes Galactic as Contracts Try to Master the Universe – Lawyers for years have added language to some contracts that stretches beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. But more and more people are encountering such everywhere-and-forever language as entertainment companies tap into amateur talent and try to anticipate every possible future stream of revenue.

Big Media companies have figured out that they can profit handsomely by persuading amateurs to make fools of themselves. That’s bad enough, but the really sleazy part of this is not rewarding the performers more fairly, if they reward them at all.

It’s one thing to host a website where others post their work and reserve rights to reuse that work, but still ensuring that the creators own the work in question. As long as everyone knows what’s going on, there’s no problem. It’s another thing to take this to wild extremes, as Hollywood does.

When you are in a position of taking something with what you’ve created to a big-media company, you need to recognize that they hold all the power. This is why we need better mechanisms for pushing some of the power back to the creators. I’m working on some ideas and will be sharing them here, soon.