I think (I hope!) I’ve done a pretty good job at protecting the copyrights of the video content for Rocketboom. For us, “protecting” does not mean preventing people from getting a copy, it means protecting ownership and rights for the future because who knows what will happen then.
Its kinda of sad but most people are not thinking so much about the implications of their future rights and some bad stuff is happening.
When it comes to protection, I have boiled it down to two main shields. This is not conclusive or meant to replace any security you have, I’m just throwing out a conceptual idea here.
Every time I see a contract, I hone in to see what it says about 1) ability to terminate and 2) the destiny of the content after termination.
Most people think about this already as their number one concern. If one day they get a better deal, can they stop the deal they are in and move over? Usually, luckily, on most of the sharing sites like YouTube, DailyMotion, Metacafe, etc. the answer is yes. You can just take the content down or delete your account, there is no length of term.
With some of the private partners we have, we like really short terms. Short! For the same reason: It’s easy enough to renew and it’s nice to have flexibility for change. But most importantly, it’s nice to be able to get out. You just never know what might come along that you might want instead.
So right now, I don’t really care what YouTube or Revver does with the video. If they decide to do something really crazy with it, like distribute it somewhere, or maybe even use it to promote their site – no matter what they do, if we don’t like it, at least it says in the contract that we can simply say, “Stop now.” With that kind of power, we’ll always be in control and secure in the future.… that is… assuming no other perpetuities exit after the termination.
This is a bit more complex and often contains a popular loop hole for the benefit of the Service mentioned somewhere else in the contract. Sometimes I have seen clauses that say the owner grants the service non-exclusive, worldwide rights in perpetuity though the owner can terminate the account at anytime and that the videos will come down.
Even if the videos come down and the account is deleted, obviously the “company” will have a right to use the content in the future because the owner granted non-exclusive, worldwide rights forever.
Some people might think that this is of no harm anyway, especially if the use is restricted to non-commercial use.
Yet what if one day in 25 years from now, there is a nostalgic demand for the content. An owner of the content may set out to monetize only to find a company is competing by giving the content away as a promotion for free.
Moral of the story? Get a lawyer. 😀
Seriously though, the right to terminate quickly and the right to cease all future use by any 3rd party is an extremely important position to be in and a lawyer will only be able to protect you if you know what you need to be protected from.