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Ownership of posted content March 18, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in IT, Japan, law.

There was a comment to the Zooomr post which asked about Livedoor PICS, which is Livedoor’s photo sharing service which was revamped at the end of last year to look remarkably like Flickr. My comments regarding that matter have been added to that post.

In that comment there was an issue which I brought up regarding Livedoor’s user policies generally which I thought merited a new post.

Livedoor’s user policies waive the user’s right to assert their copyright against Livedoor or its designates. Whilst this may seem less drastic than asserting the copyright for themselves, it nevertheless allows Livedoor or its delegates to monetize user content without “hinderance” from the original poster and copyright owner.

Livedoor was popular with the mass market (ie not very IT literate) crowd, and it is likely these users did not bother reading the ULA. Certain other providers offer similarly exploitative ULAs, but I would not go as far as saying that such exploitation is the norm. In the end, it is up to the user to educate themselves, but in all the Livedoor cheerleading which was going on until January’s en masse volte-face by the media, but are we asking too much of the media to shine light on such underhand tactics? Perhaps it is. The user community needs to look after its own.

The pertinent articles and their english translations (e&oe, I did the translations myself and my legal writing skills are rusty) are reproduced below.

Article 18 of the user agreement:

第18条 (電子メールおよびアップロードされたウェブ・コンテンツ)

Article 18 (Electronic mail and uploaded web content)

….Livedoor ID users agree not to assert their copyright against Livedoor or parties which Livedoor designates.

Same kind of language in the Livedoor Blog user agreement:

利用者が著作したウェブログとそれに付随するコメント及びトラックバックは当該ウェブログを著作した利用者に著作権が発生するものとします。但し、宣伝、 利用促進、出版、マーケティング等を目的としウェブログサービスの著作物を使用する場合、利用者は弊社に対し、当該著作物を著作権法の規定に基づき無償利 用することを期間無制限で非独占的に許諾し、かつ弊社及び弊社の指定する者に対し著作者人格権を行使しないものとします。

Article 8

Weblog content and their associated comments and trackbacks are deemed to be copyright material whose owner is the creator of the weblog. However [my emphasis], for the purposes of advertising, sales promotion, publishing, marketing, etc, the user grants the company a non-exclusive, term unlimited right to use the copyright material without compensation [again, my emphasis], and agree not to assert Moral rights against the company or its delegates.

[For more anecdotes about Livedoor’s business,see my comment on the Zooomr post linked at the top of this post……]


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