Copyright

by Mike Masnick


Filed Under:
charlie sheen, copyright



If You Want To Have Sex With Charlie Sheen, You Have To Give Him The Copyrights On Any Photos You Take Of Him

from the wait,-what? dept

As you may have heard, last week actor Charlie Sheen announced that he is HIV positive, which got lots of news coverage. Related to that, In Touch magazine produced the non disclosure agreement (NDA) that it claims "Charlie Sheen had his sexual partners sign when they came to his house." I guess if you're a celebrity known for sleeping around, this is the kind of thing you have your lawyers cook up for you. But what struck me as interesting was that, beyond the basic NDA language, there was some copyright language concerning any images, videos or sound recordings. You can understand why Sheen (and his lawyers) don't want anyone taking pictures of him or even talking about the relationship to book or magazine writers, so they include some bizarre copyright transfer language for the partner to agree to:
It's a little difficult to read, so here are the relevant sections:
1.3 No Participation in Books or Articles. Without Your advance express written consent, I will not give or participate in any interviews, write or be a source for, any articles, books, programs, or stories about You or the Related Parties, whether truthful, fictionalized, on the record, or "off the record." If I breach these promises, My copyright in any such unauthorized material shall be automatically and immediately transferred by Me to You as of its creation and in perpetuity, and this Agreement shall constitute a valid transfer of copyright.

1.4 Images and Recordings. Without Your advance express written consent, I will not create any photographs, movies, videos, sound or image recordings or otherwise capture any depictions or likenesses of You, Your family, friends, associates or employees ("Images and Recordings"). If I breach these promises any images and Recordings I create shall be considered Confidential Information, and My copyright in them shall be deemed automatically and immediately transferred by Me to You as of its creation and in perpetuity, and this Agreement shall constitute a valid transfer of copyright. If you expressly direct Me to create any Images and Recordings, they will be Confidential Information in which I have no legal rights or interest whatsoever, including any copyright, trademark, "moral rights," patent, or other similar rights, and I convey, transfer and assign to You all of My right, title and interest (if any) of whatever kind or nature in all Images and Recordings as of their creation and in perpetuity, and this Agreement shall constitute a valid transfer of copyrights.
Of course, the "in perpetuity" is not really accurate, as you can't give up your termination rights, even with a contractual agreement, to take back your copyrights after 35 years, but, really, that's besides the point. I do wonder how valid Section 1.3 is at all. If the partner is interviewed for a book or a magazine article, there likely isn't any copyright for Sheen's partner to transfer in the first place, as nothing is "fixed" by that partner. Furthermore, in most cases, the book or magazine author/publisher would likely have a strong fair use claim if Sheen tried to have those quotes deleted via copyright. If anything, this just seems like a way to make it sound scary to go out and talk to a magazine or book author.

The transfer of copyright in the photos and videos at least seems a bit more legit, if still sketchy. Of course, once again, though, this shows where copyright is being used directly for censorship purposes, entirely divorced from its supposed purpose of providing incentives to create.

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  • identicon
    Scote, 25 Nov 2015 @ 11:45am

    Gonna need something more valuable...

    The agreement starts out:

    "In consideration for the opportunity to spend time and associate with You[Sheen]..."

    Yeah, I'm gonna want something of actual worth in order to sign away so many rights... :-p

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 11:55am

    "there likely isn't any copyright for Sheen's partner to transfer in the first place,"

    That would come from the "Write" in "I will not give or participate in any interviews, write or be a source for, any articles, books, programs, or stories about You or the Related Parties"

    In which case there would.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:24pm

    Who, in any state of mind, would have sex with him since he has HIV. http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/18/business/charlie-sheen-hiv-positive.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Kelledin (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:29pm

      Re:

      Other HIV-positive people? I expect such unfortunate people probably form groups where they can be sexually active without fear of infecting others.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      DanA, 25 Nov 2015 @ 8:39pm

      Re:

      For someone who is actively being treated for HIV and consequently has a extremely low viral load (which most people being treated achieve) there is a extremely low chance of transmission*. Obviously with any new partner it is vital to discuss the risk and what viral load means, since low risk is still something they need to consent to. However for monogamous sexual partners (which, granted, Sheen is unlikely to fall into) unprotected sex with a undetectable viral load is relatively safe, though there is always the chance (~2%/year after the first two years) of the treatment failing to maintain undetectable viral loads. Particularly by combining treatment and condom usage it is possible for individuals to have responsible and safe sex between HIV+ and HIV- people.


      *One study (covering ~20,000 HIV+ people) had a single case of transmission but that couple was having unprotected sex before treatment began but they can't rule out that the transmission occurred after treatment began.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Kelledin (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:26pm

    So how many Shades of Sheen is this?

    Wow...way to kill the mood, Charlie. I thought just navigating the so-called "consent minefield" was bad enough (to be fair, I suppose it is a minefield for people who are bad at picking up on non-verbal signals). So how might this play with the contractual obligations of some of his acting gigs? Could a "Charlie Sheen+??? Sex Tape" become copyrighted property of, say, CBS or whatever, if the intercourse happens to take place in Sheen's on-set trailer or dressing room?

    P.S. I am reminded of this hilarious short as well (nothing to do with copyright; warning potentially NSFW language):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLhH1axWiTI

    And of course, one of Tim's old posts (also potentially NSFW language):

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120905/17053320287/exytime-thanks-to-easily-exploitabl e-system-three-lawyers-have-patented-sex.shtml
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ktjmc59PWWM (since the original Youtube embed doesn't display)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Ninja (profile), 26 Nov 2015 @ 2:57am

      Re: So how many Shades of Sheen is this?

      Makes one wonder, with the odds of having an intercourse after going through this 'legal instrument' he still managed to get AIDS. Talk about winning the lottery in reversal.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 26 Nov 2015 @ 11:39am

        Re: Re: So how many Shades of Sheen is this?

        More likely a case of those willing go through the legal instrument are high risk people, desiring a name on their bedpost.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 12:37pm

    The whole copyright aspect looks exremely dubious, legally speaking. I'm not a lawyer, but thanks to the late, very lamented, groklaw, I do know that transfer of copyright requires a "writing", which I believe requires a very specific listing of exactly what copyrights have been transferred. This would make an "automatic transfer" of copyright such as is demanded here legally impossible. The most you can achieve is a legal commitment to transfer future copyrights, but that doesn't seem to be required by this language. I think if anyone broke this agreement, the most they could be successfully sued for under this agreement if a failure to honor the no photos without permission.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 1:00pm

    This sucks

    You probably couldn't even tell someone "Charlie Sheen made me sign a fucking NDA" and mean it.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Adrian Lopez, 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:51pm

    How low is your self esteem if you'll sign an NDA just to have sex with Charlie Sheen? Hell... how is your self esteem if you'll have sex with Charlie Sheen?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Digitari, 25 Nov 2015 @ 2:55pm

    WINNING?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:03pm

    Mike Masnick just can't stand it when copyright law is enforced. Bawk!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    blogagog (profile), 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:28pm

    sexxy sex

    That contract is the main reason I haven't had sex with Charlie Sheen. Well, that and I'm a guy and not into that. And he never asked me to have sex. But mostly, the contract.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Pixelation, 25 Nov 2015 @ 7:54pm

    I've been dying to release the photo of Sheen blowing me, but NDA/copyright...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    SynchPedro86, 26 Nov 2015 @ 8:17pm

    He obviously just wanted to come "clean" in case somebody ratted him out. And I honestly feel sorry for Bree Olsen, who could have had her life ruined if he had exposed her to HIV. As a former porn star, she knew the legal importance of being tested. Charlie had no right to conceal this vital information from her, nor anybody. He is lying if he says otherwise.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Nov 2015 @ 1:20am

    Don't forget!

    It's imperative that you wear a condom unless you're suicidal or Magic Johnson.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Nov 2015 @ 8:04am

    what about with Scarlett Johansson?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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