Fark's copyright policy stinks — UPDATED

Update: Be sure to look at the bottom of this post for updates — Fark's Drew Curtis has said that the policy is a mistake and will be fixed soon. He also points out that he goes the extra mile when someone from the press wants to use a farker's image or contribution."

Fark — home to many photo-mashup contests — has a new (?) copyright policy: everyone who posts to Fark agrees to assign all copyright in their work to Fark (Fark then gives the posters back the right to use their work on personal projects, but not to allow anyone else to ever use their work).

The clause is really dumb. It's clear that Fark just wants to be sure they're allowed to, for example, publish books of the entries in Fark contests and to make sure that they're allowed to put ads alongside user submissions. Not altogether ridiculous.

But there are much better ways of accomplishing this than simply grabbing all the copyright to farkers' submissions. For example, Fark could ask submitters to release their submissions into the public domain, or to license them as Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike, which would make sure that Fark could make stuff from user submissions, without turning Fark into the sole owner of their users' creative output.

The agreement also prohibits any quoting of Fark submissions, message board posts etc, without ever mentioning fair use. Boing Boing has often quoted Fark posts in the past — something that this policy now prohibits.

All in all, these terms of service are not very well thought through and are a real disappointment.

Fark.com is the legal owner of all copyright interests of Fark.com content. Each and every submission to Fark.com carries with it an implied assignment of the entire copyright interest in the submission. In exchange for the content and publication of that submission on Fark.com, Fark.com grants back to the submitter a non-exclusive, non-transferable and royalty-free license to republish that submission in any and all forms.

If you have any questions about our copyright policies, please send Feedback.


(Thanks to everyone who suggested this!)

Update: Fark's Drew Curtis has gone on record saying that this agreement isn't good and will be fixed soonest — great news!

We're not, we're asking for a non-exclusive right to republish. Submitters still own their submissions, we're asking for reprint rights in case we can use it. We have no intention of acquiring ownership of submission

(Thanks to everyone who suggested this!)

Update 2:
Fark's Drew Curtis adds, "Something else no one knows, because no one asked, is that since the inception of the website, I have been contacted on multiple occasions by mainstream media people (or otherwise, such as when Thomas Dolby asked permission to blow up submissions to a PS contest with him as the subject to poster size for his own house) about using Fark PS submissions. I have refused to give the permission, and instead have on every occasion contacted the individual who owned the work and told them that the didn't need to respond to the media inquiry but if they wanted to they could. Because of this, if you ever saw a Fark PS in Mainstream Media that was uncreditted, it was used without permission."