Sometimes It's Better To Just Let People Copy Your Content Than Deal With Licensing
from the just-take-it dept
For the last few months, we’ve been going back and forth with a well-known major mainstream news organization about syndicating some Techdirt content. There’s no monetary exchange here. They just want to republish some of our content. I’m totally cool with it, as we’re perfectly happy to get more people reading what we have to say, and as we’ve said repeatedly, we’ve declared everything we do here to be in the public domain so people can do what they want with it. Yet, because of the way things work these days, this company still requires a licensing agreement, and that’s meant months and months of back and forth delays as lawyers have to look over stuff. Admittedly, some of this is my fault for being slow to review things, but that’s part of the hassle. I’d be perfectly happy if this publication just decided to start reposting posts here with a nice linkback without even having to go through the legal discussion. In fact, the more we’ve gone back and forth over the agreement, the more I realize that this license agreement only serves to make things worse for me — because the lawyers want me to “indemnify” and promise that anything I write won’t get them in legal hot water. In other words, all this license really does is create increased liability for me.
I’m almost wondering if a better strategy isn’t to just follow the strategy of the site Universe Today, which was sent in (months ago, actually) by clemahieu, who put up a post telling major media properties to “please ‘steal’ our content”:
I?m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Universe Today articles are showing up on other websites, including our good friends over at Discovery News, Physorg, and even the Christian Science Monitor. I’ve had a few people emailing me, warning me that people are stealing our content.
They’re not stealing, I’m encouraging them to steal. Here’s the deal, and I’ve actually said this for years and years: feel free to use Universe Today articles for anything you like. You don’t need to ask permission. If you find an article that you like, and you’d like to put it on your website, be our guest. Free. You can put it into a website, record it as a podcast, include it your Astronomy Club’s newsletter, etc.
All we ask is that you attribute Universe Today as the original source of the article, and that you give credit to the original writer. If it’s on the web, please provide a link back to the original article on Universe Today. I think that’s fair. Free content for your website in exchange for a link back.
We’ve had a few other big news organizations approach us about similar deals to the one I mentioned above, and I’m pretty tempted to just point them to this post going forward, and tell them to use whatever they want (which they could already just do) rather than have to go through the whole “license agreement” process again.