Internet Rights and Current TV
this post. In the Current TV Studio, and decided to cross-post it here as well...
As all of us producers should know, by uploading your video to the Current TV Studio, you are providing Current with the exclusive rights to exhibit your video work online for a 3 month period. In other words, you are contractually bound not to upload your video anywhere else, be it, the Amazon Tribeca Film Festival, You Tube, or even putting the video up on your own blog or personal website. I personally feel that this requirement is neither fair nor necessary, but that is not the focus of this post.
What does seem to be of significance is the fact that quite a few producers have either neglected or elected to violate this portion of the submission terms. For those in violation of this requirement, what liability are they opening themselves up to?
By my assessment, it seems that the absolute worst-case scenario would be that Current could elect to air your piece as a VC2 contribution and withhold your fee of $250.
This worst-case scenario seems unlikely to happen as it opens Current up to a fairly significant legal battle over $250 which is, well, stupid. That said, the next worse situation would be for Current to elect not to air your piece, or even to take it out of the screening room. We don't know about the former, but I have no reason to think Current has begun to do the latter.
So why is it that Current doesn't want us to host our own video on our own personal websites? According to the Submission terms FAQ:
We realize this part of the deal might seem burdensome. But here's the logic: We're going to present your video in our online Screening Room so people can vote and comment on it, with the notion that if it's popular or interesting, it might be something we'd like to pay for and broadcast on air.Ok, so check out that last paragraph... you can't put your video on your own website because [other TV networks] can swoop in and scoop up the good stuff. Essentially Current is stating that you can't put your video up on your own website because other TV stations are swarming like vultures, trolling the internet looking for low-res internet video that they'd like to steal and air without the producer's permission. Asserting that other stations would not recognize the producer's Creative Commons or Copyright license, that other stations wouldn't ask for permission, and furthomore that other stations wouldn't ask for the non-compressed video.
If anybody else can swoop in and scoop up the good stuff, we're just providing a public service to other TV networks. Which would be nice, but, you know, no thanks.
It seems a bit forward for Current to align themselves against other commercial media television stations and to describe them as thieves; the idea would seem ludicrous had it not actually happened to me during this past summer with some footage I shot of an anarchist demonstration in San Francisco in which a cop was injured. (For more information on that story, please see this entry from my blog.)
But really now, what is your reasoning at Current for the exclusive internet rights? Is it really the vultures, the other television stations that wouldn't hesitate to illegally swoop in and scoop up all the good stuff?
Please tell us...