too much typing—since 2003

3.31.2008

my rights versus yours

I opened my review of the Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks/John Vanderslice concert last week by jokingly noting that the boilerplate legalese on the back of the ticket apparently compelled me to cede any rights I might have had to talk about the concert.

You know what's funny? Apparently, that's true...or at least, the folks who run the Pabst Theater website feel they have rights to such descriptions. My former Milk Magazine colleague Don at Timedoor was surprised (pleasantly, I should note) to find that his review of the show was reproduced at the Pabst Theater's site. Curiously, this happened without anyone from the Pabst contacting him to ask whether it was okay for them to reproduce his review (not just link to it). Now, to me, it's kosher to link to anything on the web - after all, it's published and available to anyone who enters the URL on their machine - but reproducing entire chunks of text from someone else's site, without permission, seems a bit dubious. I'm not utterly bent out of shape by this - arguably, just as a music review site can expect its reviews to be quoted at other sites, including that of the artist if the review's positive or particularly insightful, a concert review might be considered in the same category.

Still, if it had been my review, I would have appreciated the Pabst at least asking. Curiously, while some sites, such as Flickr, allow users to use Creative Commons licenses for the photos, neither Blogger nor Timedoor's hosting entity appear to offer such options for their bloggers' work. My Flickr photos, for example, are displayed under an Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike license, which means anyone can use them so long as they credit me, aren't using them commercially, and attach similar conditions to such derivative usage. Under those terms, I don't expect anyone to ask me for such use - I've already given permission in advance.

So I don't know whether the Pabst simply assumed such a license (it shouldn't), whether it figured quoting was okay so long as credit and linking were present, or whether it was asserting its proprietary rights over "descriptions of the Event."

(Incidentally: I'm partially visible in one of the photos on display at the Pabst site. See the tall guy with the beige cap in the center of the image, facing the other way? And see the woman in the leather coat with the knit bag and black wool cap to his right? That's me, behind her.)

2 comments:

Don said...

2fs, I didn't even make the connection between the legalese on the ticket and the fact that the Pabst "borrowed" my review. Maybe you're right; maybe they feel it is their right to appropriate other people's discussions for their own use. Maybe I should have only been surprised, not pleasantly surprised.

yellojkt said...

I guess it was either steal it or make it up. They at least linked to his site. I guess that is as polite as it gets. I've wrestled with the ask permission or beg forgiveness question before.