A couple of weeks ago I got an email from a marketing company doing a social media campaign for a major corporation. Apparently they wanted to get bloggers to do a contest for them, and the winner would receive . . . nope, better not go there. If I told you what the prize would have been, it would be tantamount to telling you who the corporation is, and I’d probably get sued. For my part in the production, I would have received the same prize, but since I have no use for it, it wasn’t much of an incentive. I like doing online promotions, though, whether for me or someone else, so I was going to do as they asked just for the fun of it.
(It’s a good thing I didn’t. The last contest I promoted got almost no entries, so if you’d like to help me redeem myself as a promoter, you can check out: Free ebook giveaway of the latest thrillers!)
After I said yes, I received a four page contract. I suppose it makes sense — after all, if they were going to give away a couple of items worth two hundred dollars each, they would want to make sure I did what I said I would do. The agreement seemed standard until I go to the part that said: You grant us the right to link to your blog and to reproduce, display and distribute excerpts from your blog, for any purpose, in any media now known or hereafter invented. Like I’m really going to grant them those rights forever. I told them they could have the rights to any article I wrote on their behalf, but that’s it.
Anyway, they changed that section, and I went through the agreement one last time before signing. In a section about attesting to being over eighteen and being the sole owner of my blog and not defaming the company, etc., I found this: You hereby waive any moral rights you may have in your blog.
What???? I don’t even know what that means. Still, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and said if they removed that line, they had a deal. I never heard from them again.
The contest was supposed to start in two days. I’m keeping my eyes open for contests pertaining to that corporation. I’m curious how many people got suckered into signing away the reproduction, distribution, and moral rights to their blogs. I hope you weren’t one of them!
November 28, 2009 at 9:04 pm
That’s so interesting. I wonder what they meant by moral rights??
November 28, 2009 at 9:11 pm
It’s so ambiguous, it could mean almost anything. I sure didn’t want to find out the hard way, though!
November 29, 2009 at 8:51 am
That’s rubbish. Why would anyone do that? Are they mad? You spend years creating, thinking, toiling, writing, editing and they expect you to sign all that away for £200?
I’m glad you actually read it before signing.
November 29, 2009 at 3:48 pm
I have no idea what their thinking on that is. If it was a legitimate offer, they only needed the rights to those articles. If it is con, why would they want the rights to my blog? I’m not exactly a major blog force.
November 29, 2009 at 9:57 am
I must be a very paranoid and suspicious pwerson. I never even read the fine print; the notice gets deleted b4 I’ve had time to finish the first para. Some would pat me on the back and say, “Good for you, Joylene, for not being taken,” but how many opportunities do I miss?
I must receive 30 notices from ???House sweepstake. They tell me if I don’t do ???, I’ll miss out on thousands of dollars. I ignore them, and still they send more.
Maybe I have a good reason for being paranoid?
I’m glad you weren’t taken, Pat.
November 29, 2009 at 3:54 pm
Being paranoid never hurt anyone, especially not in this age of identity theft and cyber theft!
November 29, 2009 at 8:40 pm
Moral Rights exist in Europe and, I believe, Australia, but do not tend to be supported by the U.S. courts. They pertain to attribution for work done, and for keeping it as it is rather than altering it in a way that could harm the writer’s reputation. In some books, you’ll see the phrase “moral rights asserted.” If your corporation comes from outside the country, I can see why they would deal with the term.
November 29, 2009 at 8:44 pm
So if I would have waived moral rights, they could have changed my articles anyway they wished?
November 30, 2009 at 6:38 pm
Yes, I think that’s the issue here.
November 30, 2009 at 12:23 pm
Interesting discussion. I’m learning… slowly…
And if I get over Thanksgiving fast enough I may still enter more contests…
November 30, 2009 at 2:08 pm
I like your blog! Funny! U can rite something for me any day!