If Emily Posted: Vine TOS and IP Rights

We all know that video killed the radio star and is now taking over the internet. And that’s cool. Except when we know that people have a habit of taking what isn’t theirs and using it. And little funny clips that are easy to post to Twitter or Facebook will be the new watermark cropped out images via Pinterest. Not cool.

There’s a new app Vine – think Instagram but in six second video clips you can share. I signed up curious to check it out. Now I’m considering legalese that I’m not sure I’m willing to work with.

I love the way we can give and get online. I’m not thrilled by fine print that explicitly states a developer doesn’t care what happens to your property, or mine, once it’s placed on their site.

If Emily Posted is about ethics not law (disclaimer, I know, blah blah blah), and as a creator, the very type upon which the whole app functions, I’m thinking this is really pushing limits. How much of my IP rights must I give up in order to share SIX SECONDS OF VIDEO?

File this under Why You Must Always Read The Fine Print And, Sure, If You’re Cool With It Go Ahead And Use It, But Please Read It Because, THIS:

Highlights via Vine:

We do not endorse, support, represent or guarantee the completeness, truthfulness, accuracy, or reliability of any Content or communications posted via the Services… Under no circumstances will Vine be liable in any way for any Content, including, but not limited to… any loss or damage of any kind incurred as a result of the use of any Content.

By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

You agree that this license includes the right for Vine to… make Content submitted to or through the Services available… with no compensation paid to you with respect to the Content that you submit, post, transmit or otherwise make available through the Services.

Compensation is the word that tends to make many people upset, yet I think it’s missing the point. Vine has to make money as users get the service for free. A really loose definition of how they can make money is the issue. A bit of Instagram circa December 2012 deja vu?

By now, we all know the way that free social sharing sites work, and there are many with TOS I’m fine with. But I don’t go for the whole we can sublicense and profit and do whatever we’d like, including things we haven’t even come up with yet, but under no circumstances in any way are we liable if harm comes your way because somehow your content was used inappropriately. At all. In any way. Including ways we’ve yet to develop.

Vine, you have a cool concept. I’m not sure how much time one has in their day to sit and watch 6 second videos by all their friends, but I think people will probably start taking the videos they make and use them in their blogs, their tweets, their posts. I want you to at least pretend you care about their IP. I want you to have the usual legalese about royalty free rights and a stern warning to users about copyright infringement.

Instead, I see a really complicated explanation of how people can contact you if their work has been taken, and you waving any responsibility whatsoever if something bad happens.

I find myself wondering what could be so worrisome about video that your legalese tells users that you wash your hands completely of anything that could happen to their work. The work of the very people who will make your business function.

It makes me not want to contribute to the great pool of creativity that is social sharing.

When I wrote a 101 on Intellectual Property last year, I wish I’d said it this simply: when you drop the word intellectual, you’re left with property. Stuff we’ve created. Stuff other people don’t have the right to use without our permission. It’s that simple.

I wonder if people read the fine print if Vine will amend the TOS? Because unlike the past, we can rewind. We haven’t gone too far.

Your two cents, please...