Bloggers Beware: Let BlogBurst Own You

When I first read about BlogBurst, it sounded like a great service for Kairosnews to be listed in:

BlogBurst is a syndication service that places your blog on top-tier online destinations. You get visibility, audience reach and traffic, while publishers weave the rich and diverse fabric of the blogosphere into their sites.

Sounds good, doesn't it? Well, that seemed to be the case until I got the invitation from them and went to verify Kairosnews. Their Contributor Agreement gives them substantial intellectual property rights:

Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, you grant to Pluck and its affiliates a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, perpetual license to reproduce, distribute, make derivative works of, perform, display, disclose, and otherwise dispose of the Work (and derivative works thereof) for any purpose, whether commercial or not.

Obviously, with Kairosnews, I couldn't agree to this; I'm not the owner of all of the content here (nor would I if I was). Other bloggers beware. Make sure you read their agreement carefully before verifying your blog for them.


To the blogmobile!

I am the GM for BlogBurst at Pluck. A couple of items of note: First, we have to make derivative works so we can show headlines+abstracts, allow a publisher to add a blog/post to their printed publication, etc. Second, this has been a continuous learning experience and as a result we have a new contributor agreement in the works that will attempt to provide more specificity around that very topic. Lastly, a blogger can leave the network at any time, there is no exclusivity or committment. We are absolutely trying to do the right thing for both sides of this equation.

If someone reads that contract closely, there seems to be very little concern for the original author, although at least you didn't ask for "exclusive rights." It's full of legal protection for Pluck and publishers and gives you and the publishers rights to use the work "for any purpose," not for specific purposes.

Furthermore, I'd want a lawyer to interpret this section,

8.2 You acknowledge and agree that, as between the parties, Pluck (or the applicable sublicense) shall own all rights, title, and interest in and to any Derivative Works created from the Work, subject to your underlying ownership of the original Work.

Sounds to me like Pluck or the publisher take full copyright ownership over any derivative works.

about all the rights I've signed away over the years because I don't read the agreements closely, if at all.


I know that we (academics) typically give away extensive rights when we publish in journals. But this a little different (not that I like that). When we write for journals, we write a piece specifically for journal publication. With blogs, we are publishing to the web already for a larger audience, and then BlogBurst provides a means to syndicate that content.