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vsAdmin said:
This is completely accurate, especially when it comes to your books, covers, and other IP. We have not been in the business of publishing anything outside of blogs in years and have never been in the business of misrepresenting other people's works as our own. In the instances where posts have ever been used for advertising they have been directly requested from the users as reviews of a product by a vendor; as such we would only use a post here for advertising a product if you wrote a review of said product through a campaign that you had already consented to, like a contest or in exchange for the product. This also pretty much never happens unless it's an automotive site and it's for an engine part. The "reproduce, distribute, transmit, sublicense etc" is intended to cover things like internal site newsletters, subscription notifications, or other such communications, which this site already has and has had for some time as I understand it. Because we are a bigger company we have to have these terms included as a general catch all. This is exclusive to public areas. PM's are not accessible to anyone but the author and recipient without a court order to pull them from the database. What data you have on the site and how it is used is listed directly in the Privacy Policy which is right there next to the copyright and terms links. All three links would have gone up at the time of the announcement.
You can see what our concerns are. The question is whether or not your company is interested in addressing them. Particularly since you have assured us that our fears are groundless, and that what we are worrying about will never come to pass, making suitable changes in the TOS should not be a problem.

When you say, "at the time of the announcement," I assume you mean the announcement of the change of ownership, because I don't recall any announcement of the change in TOS and privacy policy. Under GDPR, your company can't make changes without notification and renewed consent, at least as they apply to citizens of the EU. And the language that Julie points out could allow you to give someone else permission to use our intellectual property probably runs afoul of copyright laws in several countries.

I'd have been more inclined to view the policy as boilerplate if it hadn't been instituted without any kind of notification. The fact that it was makes me more suspicious.

What we need is a prompt answer, followed by a revised TOS. If that is not the intention of Verticalscope, please indicate that to us, so that we can sever all connection to this platform at the earliest possible moment.
 
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Patty Jansen said:
Nope, you're not. I don't give a rat's, and all the stuff ***** says can also happen if you post elsewhere.
Again, the issue is that, if my stuff is used without my permission normally, I can do something about it. Go back and see the real world example I posted of something that actually happened to me. I was able to get Amazon to take the book down because I had not granted permission.

Under the new TOS, Kboards could grant the same company permission to use my quotes and I would have no recourse. I could complain to Amazon, and they would pull out the receipt that they bought the rights to use quotes from this board.

The issue is not "Can anyone steal from anyone on the internet." OF COURSE they can. The issue is, why does the new TOS take away my right to call the cops if I am robbed?
 

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Bards and Sages (Julie) said:
Again, the issue is that, if my stuff is used without my permission normally, I can do something about it. Go back and see the real world example I posted of something that actually happened to me. I was able to get Amazon to take the book down because I had not granted permission.

Under the new TOS, Kboards could grant the same company permission to use my quotes and I would have no recourse. I could complain to Amazon, and they would pull out the receipt that they bought the rights to use quotes from this board.

The issue is not "Can anyone steal from anyone on the internet." OF COURSE they can. The issue is, why does the new TOS take away my right to call the cops if I am robbed?
OK, so my attitude is: if I put it in a forum or on my blog, I WILL be robbed. They're welcome. Good luck to them.

The forum is advertising. If you're selling something, you should put teasers, never the whole thing because people WILL copy it. And those people will be in places where you can't get to them, and besides this running around with takedown notices takes too much time and--er. Recourse? I don't care. I'm not precious about my blatherings here.

Don't put anything on a forum that you don't want to turn up anywhere else.
 

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Content removed due to TOS Change of 2018. I do not agree to the terms.
 

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Tulonsae said:
So what about your books? Doesn't this TOS say something about having rights to derviative work. At least one of your writer's books seems to be a derviative of several of your posts on KBoards. So doesn't that mean that KBoards could give a license to your derviative books to others to use?

It's not likely to happen, I'm sure. But what about the future and your heirs? KBoards has the rights in perpetuity.
It may say that, but 1. I don't believe it, 2. KB won't last that long, 3. there is no one stopping me selling my book, 4. no one will mount a legal case that I can't sell my book, 5. if it went to court, it wouldn't stand up. 6. I just don't care. It's all legal claptrap no one is ever going to do anything about.

Unenforceable. No one cares. Especially across national borders. Legal people will only move when there is something in it for them.

Seriously, move away from the panic button.
 

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Content removed due to TOS Change of 2018. I do not agree to the terms.
 

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Lynn Is A Pseudonym said:
We're cautious about the terms when we click through the distributors' agreements, right?

We're cautious about the terms in a contract with a publisher, right?

No, I wouldn't like it if my author name ended up pasted all over some other site (without recourse, no less) attached to a quote of something I'd said here endorsing something I might have since decided is a scam. Think about if this site had been run by someone like, oh, I don't know, a certain "hungry" promoter. Say the name and quote ended up on one of those attached sites. Assume you're under these terms of use and you have agreed to the "no recourse" portion of the terms.

Author names are a huge part of an author's brand. Protecting that name and limiting how it can be used by other people commercially is a real concern, IMO.

So, really, why is it smart to worry about these other legal agreements but silly to worry about this legal agreement (the terms of use for this site)?
Actually, I don't pore over agreements.

I look at:

1. How much do they pay
2. When do they pay and what are the payment options
3. Do they have a reliable payment record
4. Do they ask for exclusivity

I ignore all the rest, because no one site is going to claim that suddenly your books are theirs because the outrage would destroy them in three seconds flat.

"But they'd still hold the right to your books"

Seriously? What would they do with those rights that are legally yours anyway?

Remember the thing where Facebook said that everything you posted was theirs? Well, what a ridiculous statement that everyone went on ignoring and nothing ever came of it.

You are not signing a publication contract, you're signing an agreement for use or distribution. If you sign a publishing contract, you sign away your copyright. If you sign for distribution, you sign for a company to sell your stuff. That will never translate into copyright.

I have had things from here end up on other sites exactly as you suggested: that insinuated that I endorsed a service where I didn't. Sad as it may sound, there is only one way to prevent this: keep your mouth hermetically shut. Never say anything, good or bad. Once you've said it, it's no longer yours, and people will do with it as they see fit.

The only way to combat it if you don't like the hermit option is to say more stuff. The collective memory of the internet is about 24 hours. If something blows up in my face, I unplug for 24 hours before I venture back, and hey, it's gone. Then I'll keep going without referring back to it and the incident gets buried very quickly.

If someone wants to scroll back through my life to find the dumb things I've said, they're welcome. As I already said, most of my life is insanely boring.
 

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Dennis Chekalov said:
Just for your information. The new TOS give the forum owners rights to take your forum posts and publish them as a book under YOUR name. You'll have no control over this book, you'll not get paid, but this book will still be listed as YOURS: Patty Jansen. The secrets of my success. Advices from a bestselling Amazon author. And they can add any rubbish they want in this book, publishing it under YOUR name (a derivative work). That's what the new TOS mean. If you are OK with this -- good.
I don't care, because they won't do it.

In the first place, they're not that evil.

If by chance, they are, that's really dumb, because the outrage shall be great and it will cost the forum more in social capital. WE are the product. The owners make money because we are here and discuss things and attract more people.
 

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Patty Jansen said:
Actually, I don't pore over agreements.

I look at:

1. How much do they pay
2. When do they pay and what are the payment options
3. Do they have a reliable payment record
4. Do they ask for exclusivity

I ignore all the rest, because no one site is going to claim that suddenly your books are theirs because the outrage would destroy them in three seconds flat.

"But they'd still hold the right to your books"

Seriously? What would they do with those rights that are legally yours anyway?

Remember the thing where Facebook said that everything you posted was theirs? Well, what a ridiculous statement that everyone went on ignoring and nothing ever came of it.

You are not signing a publication contract, you're signing an agreement for use or distribution. If you sign a publishing contract, you sign away your copyright. If you sign for distribution, you sign for a company to sell your stuff. That will never translate into copyright.

I have had things from here end up on other sites exactly as you suggested: that insinuated that I endorsed a service where I didn't. Sad as it may sound, there is only one way to prevent this: keep your mouth hermetically shut. Never say anything, good or bad. Once you've said it, it's no longer yours, and people will do with it as they see fit.

The only way to combat it if you don't like the hermit option is to say more stuff. The collective memory of the internet is about 24 hours. If something blows up in my face, I unplug for 24 hours before I venture back, and hey, it's gone. Then I'll keep going without referring back to it and the incident gets buried very quickly.

If someone wants to scroll back through my life to find the dumb things I've said, they're welcome. As I already said, most of my life is insanely boring.
My life's insanely boring, too, and I want to keep it that way. So far, I'm not well enough known that anyone is going to be tempted to create a book out of my Kboards posts and sell it on Amazon. Perhaps the day will come, though.

Nothing ever goes wrong--until it does. A lot of things I would have thought unlikely have eventually come to pass. Do I think it's likely that the new owners are going to go on a rampage of intellectual property theft? No. However, I see no reason to keep the language that would theoretically allow them to do so. If they are well-intentioned, they'll try to address our concerns. If they don't address our concerns, then perhaps their intentions can reasonably be questioned. Why take a chance on them if they retain language that their representative said was never intended to do the things we fear?

Once you've said it, it's no longer yours, and people will do with it as they see fit.
I don't know how this works in Australia, but under US copyright law, once you've written something down, it's yours, and you have a great degree of control over what happens to it. Kboards has a legitimate interest in making clear that they can display the content we post, index it, etc. In that sense, we have licensed it to them. They also have a legitimate interest in using some of it to advertise the site. As far as I can tell, they have no legitimate interest in using it in any other way. And yes, Facebook has made some crazy statements, too, but as Julie pointed out earlier, large sites like that are more vulnerable to the onslaught of public opinion because many more people are involved. The bad press FB would have run into if it had really tried to steal people's intellectual property would have been immense. Is that true here? I doubt it. It's also worth noting that FB has a much more complex operation. Posts appear not only in one's own profile and/or page but in newsfeeds all over the site. In our litigious society, I could see the possibility of someone filing a nuisance lawsuit alleging copyright violation for displaying an FB post in a way or in a part of FB that the writer didn't approve of. It makes a little more sense for FB to have somewhat more inclusive language. In the much simpler world of this forum, that sweeping language seems more out of place.

If the owners don't respond appropriately, anyone who is dissatisfied should leave. Anyone who is indifferent should probably leave, too, because why take the risk? As I said, we don't want our lives to be that kind of interesting.
 

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Most of what we say here is banter, and only the aggregate of the discussion is useful, often with a degree of extrapolation required. What we say here is not publishable material.

I have that one post about keeping your backlist selling, but that's literally the only post (about 750 words) that would be worth something in book form. Supposing the forum owns the right to reproduce what I've said here, they can't string a good book together out of my replies here. If you've ever tried to make a book out of blog posts, you'd know this. You need to add stuff and alter it in order to make it a coherent book.

Supposing they gathered a bunch of our posts and made them into a book without asking us. HIGHLY unlikely, but let's just suppose.

Someone would discover it on Amazon.

Outrage would break loose.

We would, in short order, engage the rage of every influential selfpublishing podcast and blog on the planet. And perhaps Forbes magazine or other high profile internet news services.

While this may not be big in numbers, it's big in the selfpublishing world, and those people are the KB's clientele. They would back down very quickly.

No, I don't think there is a risk of that happening, and that's on top of the fact that replies here =/= ready-to-publish material.

People who skive off others want easy. Making a coherent book out of our replies is not easy. Skeezy people won't do it, because it's W.O.R.K.
 

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Telling the owner it's not ok to take commercial rights in the tos is the same as
--reminding authors that taking gaming art and using it on a cover isn't ok,
--reminding authors that taking part of another writer's story and using it isn't ok.
We do a lot of reminding about the value of name and copyright and commercial use.

I get it that some folks don't understand, some don't care, and some think it's a marketing opportunity. That's fine.
It's also fine that some folks object to the new tos declaring that the owners can sell commercial rights to a member's name and content.

And yes, posting on the board is public, that's true. And those named posts also have commercial value, that's why they're covered in the new tos.
It's an asset like the board as a whole, something that can be sold.

Philip has said the owner won't do that.
If that's correct, then changing the tos would be straightforward and easy. And if the owner later wants use, payment would be negotiated with the members concerned.

As a courtesy, the company could also add wording that a notice would be sent to each member anytime tos or privacy policy is changed.
Saying that we were noticed is incorrect.

Questioning the tos, and asking for a change to protect creatives is ok.
Odd that writers are fighting that.
 

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Mark Gardner said:
I often come to the boards to brainstorm blurbs, elevator pitches, and even difficult story text.

When I sign a publishing contract with Del Rey or another large publishing house, one of the things that I stipulate in the contract is that no other entity can claim rights to my work, and with the new kBoards TOS written the way it is, I cannot stipulate this.

As it stands, the new kBoards TOS could cost me a five-figure contract. I can't risk that. A large publisher has the literary equivalent of a title company, and they will most definitely come across the TOS, and the dubious rights assignment. I cannot have my intellectual property be "unclean" just as real estate title has to be clean for a valid sale.

Now, Phillip, I believe that you are genuine when you say that VS is not interested in our rights, but there are too many variables, and as a famous judge routinely says, the contract is what's enforceable, and any other promises and guarantees are meaningless.

Julie has so helpfully indicated the problematic paragraphs, and suggested remedies to the language. They are easily implemented, and it would defuse this situation, and demonstrate that VS wants the community to thrive and continue.

Phillip, ignoring this concern, or being flippant regarding the desired remedy will only alienate the community you just acquired. Please implement Julie's suggestions. I and other hybrid authors will have no choice but to abandon kBoards to protect our rights, future rights and livelihoods.
This is it. But there are two key words that really make it bad - irrevocable and perpetual.

And on top of that, whatever VS says and does is irrelevant when the murdoch empire or some other bigger fish swallows them whole and loves the idea of all those lovely rights they've now acquired. And verbal or posted assurances from VS go out the window, and any of us who have gone on to publish something with snippets on here gets sued* by the swallowing behemoth and have little recourse because they have the money and we don't. Now, keep in mind that we already are seeing a situation where KBoards changed owners and the TOS subsequently changed underneath us, and you can see why we as producers of content would be nervous of this possibility.

*OK, so you wouldn't get sued, it's a non-exclusive licence. But you couldn't sue, and neither could your publisher who doesn't want their product in any form showing up and them not selling it.
 

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To me, the new TOS is equivalent to putting a disclaimer on my website which states that if you visit more than once I own your cat, your car and your house.

In other words, GLWT.

Pretty sure you can't override existing legal, binding agreements (for example, an indie publisher's license to use a particular font or a stock image) by throwing wild, rights-grab clauses into the T&C for a public discussion forum.  Especially when they're updated years after you joined, and you weren't notified of the changes.


 
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TBH there are more pressing issues on KBoards than 'will they steal my words' which I consider highly unlikely in any event.

I'd personally like to see the moderation 'moderated' to a point where we can know what to expect, like when, why and how long for. It shouldn't be a witch hunt just because ten people are offended, or because egos clash. If we're looking to change a TOS that consists of wordy legalese that is immediately invalidated by EU and US laws, then heck! who cares. But, Moderation? that's like being banned from writing until an unknown person in the sky decides you have been punished enough. What???

There are some very sensible points on here relating to copyright and theft of stuff (and its likelihood of never occurring). If we're going to get change for the better we shouldn't exclude other issues either. Especially as they DO occur, often.
 
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OK, you license a photo or art for your book cover, and a special font for the title, etc., and through a site's TOS you give the publishing rights, including commercial rights, to a third party?

Who will the original copyright holders go after?
Would the target be a big company with deep pockets and attorneys?

Or you? Because you did not honor your original license agreement.

 

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okey dokey said:
OK, you license a photo or art for your book cover, and a special font for the title, etc., and through a site's TOS you give the publishing rights, including commercial rights, to a third party?

Who will the original copyright holders go after?
Would the target be a big company with deep pockets and attorneys?

Or you? Because you did not honor your original license agreement.
Even if they got me to sign a 400 page legal document, in person, I still don't own the rights they're trying to gather up with the TOS.

It's like telling me I'm granting them the rights to the colour orange if I continue to use their forum.

But as Patty says, they're just not going to do it. These draconian TOS exist because people will sue at the drop of a hat nowadays, and the wording might just stop someone from lawyering up when a discussion with the mods or the site owners would resolve whatever the issue might be.

Let me pluck an example from thin air. Let's say there was a thread on shoddy book covers, and that thread included one of mine along with a bunch of cutting comments. Personally I'd take the criticism and go off to rework the cover. But another person might want to sue the forum owners for damages/hurt/whatever, and perhaps the TOS would make them think twice and reach out to a mod instead.

I don't know. Maybe I'm naive, or just too laid back. I've been around the internet a long, long time, and before that, many dial-up BBSs, FIDONET, and USENET, from about 1986 or '87 on. (300 baud modems suck, btw.)

Also, I see people complaining about mods, but I have absolutely no issue with the handling of some posts which may have crossed the line, or threads that get locked while tempers cool off. I've seen forums and mailing lists descend into chaos in the blink of an eye, and I appreciate being able to visit KBoards for sensible discussions.
 

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Simon Haynes said:
and before that, many dial-up BBSs, FIDONET,
I remember Fightonet. I was a node for a number of years.
 

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Jeff Tanyard said:
I remember those days. I used to prowl around rec.sport.football.college back in the early 1990s. Lots of passionate discussions about red v.s yellow barbecue sauce. lol The Star Wars newsgroup was fun, too.
I remember getting hammered for mentioning my first novel in rec.arts.writing.sf or somesuch.

plus ça change and all that.
 
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Simon Haynes said:
Also, I see people complaining about mods, but I have absolutely no issue with the handling of some posts which may have crossed the line, or threads that get locked while tempers cool off. I've seen forums and mailing lists descend into chaos in the blink of an eye, and I appreciate being able to visit KBoards for sensible discussions.
Mods are important I agree and am a moderator elsewhere, but there should be some rhyme/reason/rationale behind it. Being kicked off the forum and moderated for most of this year for kicking back at the moderators [by defending someone else] meant I had no ability to PM anyone, no means of communicating with the mods and no means of identifying the length of time I was to be punished, no idea as to the necessary requirements to rectify things or any form of appeal whatsoever. I was silenced and ANYTHING I said that didn't conform to someone else's viewpoint was deleted. I'm only here now because I wrote to the owners about my situation. So, don't think they [the management] don't listen.

I'm not against moderation, just uncontrolled, unreasonable and unfair treatment without recourse. I would like guidelines and a channel by which people who are punished have the means to resolve issues without personality conflicts being in the way. Nobody wants chaos, but we do want the freedom to speak our mind and say what we think or feel without being penalised because a minority of posters object to someone having a different opinion. That's all.
 
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