New Terms of Service added - ask questions here

Micah
Micah
edited August 2007 in General Archive

Comments

  • Micah
    Micah
    Posts: 894
    We have added a "Terms of Service statement":http://www.obsidianportal.com/terms-of-service to the website, and in the coming days we will be reworking signup and login to force all registered (or registering) users to agree to the TOS. We have to do this in order to protect the rights of everyone involved. We want to be crystal clear regarding our stance on copyrighted material and what is and is not allowed.

    Please take a moment to read the TOS and familiarize yourself with it. If you have any questions, use this thread to discuss. This is a discussion that should take place out in the open, where everyone can chime in.

    Micah
  • DoomCrow
    DoomCrow
    Posts: 10
    I have a concern about the TOS. particularly about this section:

    "By submitting Content to AisleTen for inclusion on your Website, you grant AisleTen a world-wide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, modify, adapt and publish the Content solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your Content. If you delete Content, AisleTen will use reasonable efforts to remove it from the Website, but you acknowledge that caching or references to the Content may not be made immediately unavailable."

    So what I'm getting from this statement is that any and all Content that I or anyone else here on Obsidian Portal basically becomes the intellectual property of AisleTen, subject to be changed and distributed and published/sold however you want and the original author is left with nothing? Is this a correct assessment or am I not understanding this fully?
  • Figment
    Figment
    Posts: 132
    That's not how I read it at all. The key phrases are "...non-exclusive license..." and "...solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your Content." What it's saying is that you won't charge them royalty fees for publishing your content on their site.
  • DoomCrow
    DoomCrow
    Posts: 10
    I might be thinking too cautiously but I just don't want to put my content up just to find out later down the road that I can't publish my own ideas because somebody else claims to own it since I used their site. I know some other sites/companies are like that *cough*, wotc, and I don't want to end up in a situation like that.
  • FemmeLegion
    FemmeLegion
    Posts: 521
    Hi DoomCrow,

    The TOS doesn't say anything about AisleTen getting property rights - simply your permission to display it on the website. They probably need to include "adaptation" in the list of permissions because of the Textile / HTML formatting - when you type in * text * (without the extraneous spaces) and it renders as *text*, that could be argued as adaptation. And they need to cover their butts too!

    They state right there in the TOS that these permissions are only given for the purpose of making your stuff visible and occasionally promoting it (featured campaign, anyone?), so if you have reason to believe that Ryan and Micah are doing anything more than that, you could hold *them* in violation of the TOS.

    Now, w/r/t publishing your stuff later...I know someone who writes erotica as a hobby, and there are some online publication venues that will not accept your material if it has *ever* been published *anywhere* else, regardless of whether you made money off it then or not. Which is reasonable, especially if these are guidelines for a pay-access site; they don't stand to attract any business from new material if that new material can be had for free elsewhere. So if by "publishing" later you mean you have intent to sell...you may want to research that right now. It could be that using this site would jeopardize your chances regardless of what OP's TOS are.
  • Annadeus
    Annadeus
    Posts: 4
    Two points:

    1. Re Section 7 on Changes. I realize this is standard wording obtained from WordPress, but I don't really see the need to hold so strongly to the concept that the user is required to check in periodically to keep informed about the latest TOS. Perhaps you can keep the limited wording but throw us a bone and in that section include a link to a page that will keep track of when and what changes were made (not typos or minor edits, just contract altering changes). I imagine there wouldn't be that many and it wouldn't represent a lot of work for you, but it could mean a lot to users to have that available. It certainly would to me.

    2. Re Section 2 on Content and copyrights: I share DoomCrow's concerns, and it's the same thing with just about every similar website made of user-contributed content. I get that you need to include that section in order to allow you to "display, distribute and promote" our Content, that's the basic function of your service. However with a slight addition it would greatly protect our rights while still allowing you to "publish" our Content as needed to make this site work for you and us. I would recommend something as follows: ".... solely for the purpose of displaying, distributing and promoting your Content at the Obsidian Portal website."
  • Figment
    Figment
    Posts: 132
    Annadeus, I'm going to have to disagree with you there. I, for one, appreciated it when Micah promoted one of my campaigns here: http://www.dungeonmastering.com/tools-resources/the-gimmick-game

    Why are you so against the promotion of your content? If you don't want it displayed to the public, I believe Ascended profiles have the ability to set the campaigns they GM to Private. Then, only your campaign members will be able to see it anyway.
  • Annadeus
    Annadeus
    Posts: 4
    Figment, we'll just have to agree to disagree then. I don't use the website to have my game promoted, but because it's a very useful tool for managing the content of my game. I don't mind the concept of the Obsidian Portal crew promoting my content here at this website, but if there were ever cause to do so, I would most certainly prefer to not be promoted outside of this website without asking me first. It's just a personal choice, I'm not out for props or help distributing my creative material, I just want a place to hold my gaming info for myself and my players.

    As for the Ascendant membership, I'd love to get one, and even tried. However they don't take any form of payment except for Amazon Payments, which I'm not signed up to and don't plan to do so. I have tried asking them if there is any other way I could pay (would even be willing to send them a cheque or money order for a year's membership) and posted that question several weeks ago in this forum, but have so far been ignored.

    Oh and I forgot to mention before, for an example of a completely different style of Terms of Service that protects the website owners as well as the content creators see DeviantART: http://about.deviantart.com/policy/service/
  • Figment
    Figment
    Posts: 132
    Annadeus, I'm willing to agree to disagree.

    However, I didn't start using this site for "props or help distributing my creative material" to anyone other than the other players of my camapigns. When I was on a computer without my bookmarks, I did a search for my campaign and found it promoted at dungeonmastering.com. Rather than be offended that no one asked for permission nor informed me after the fact, I was flattered that Micah would consider using my campaign as a way to raise awareness of their site.

    I'm not afraid of what people might do with my intellectual content. I'm not planning to publish it for sale, and if someone manages to plagerise my work I'd be both flattered and have proof of previous publishing for any lawsuits I might or might not wish to file. I figure I'm fairly safe either way. Besides, with all the content on the web, how many people are really going to read my campaigns? I'd be lucky if it was in the triple digits.

    As for your claims of being ignored on these forums, both Micah and Ryan have stated many times in various threads that they don't have time to monitor the forums. Anything important (including a thread) should be sent via the "Contact Us form":http://www.obsidianportal.com/contact. I'd take them both at their word on that and use the form if you want a speedier response.

    One thing I think they should do, and I've mentioned it before, is that they mention in a locked sticky thread in each forum the fact that neither of them monitor the forums and immediate help should be requested via the Contact Us thread. Too many posters here assume otherwise, and such a mention would resolve a lot of hurt feelings.
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