Tikatok to return copyright to creators

Following up yesterday’s post about Tikatok, where I pointed out what I considered to be their overly-greedy grab for intellectual property rights over their users’ content, it turns out they’re changing that User Agreement.

Tikatok community manager Neal Grigsby writes:

I am Neal Grigsby, the community manager for Tikatok. I wanted to thank you and your readers for your comments about Tikatok’s User Agreement, and to let you know that we are in the process of updating the User Agreement to reflect that authors will own all original materials that they submit to Tikatok. Tikatok will own any underlying Tikatok templates that are used by the author while on www.tikatok.com, as well as any other content that is licensed from third parties by Tikatok.

That sounds more like an appropriate balance to me. I’ll post a link to the new policy when it appears.

Tikatok profts from your child’s unpaid labour

[Update 25 November 2009: Tikatok is in the process of revising its User Agreement to reflect that authors will own all original materials that they submit. See the comment from Tikatok’s Neal Grigsby.]

Screenshot of Tikatok website: click to visit website

“Always read the fine print,” we’re told. Too bloody right when it comes to scummy websites like Titatok. Watch out, kids, they’re stealing your creativity!

On the surface it looks pleasant enough. Smiling kiddies, pastel colours and the chance to share your child’s creativity with friends and family. But read the terms and conditions and you’ll soon see that the slogan “Capture your child’s creativity” is literally true.

Your child’s creativity will be captured. By Tikatok. They’ll profit by using your children for unpaid child labour.

Check out this section of their User Agreement with my emphasis added:

V. Ownership of Submissions

Certain areas of the Site will permit you to send materials to Tikatok such as stories and drawings. Upon submission, all creations, ideas, concepts, notes, drafts, stories, artwork, drawings, photographs or other information of any nature (collectively, the “Submissions”), submitted by an author to the Site shall be deemed to be, and shall remain, the property of Tikatok, and the author will be deemed for all purposes to have assigned all of his or her worldwide right, title and interest in and to such Submissions to Tikatok and waived any “moral” or author’s rights therein. None of the Submissions shall be subject to any obligation of confidence on the part of Tikatok, and Tikatok shall not be liable for any use or disclosure of all or part of the Submissions. Without limiting the foregoing, Tikatok shall exclusively own all now known or hereafter existing rights to the Submissions of every kind and nature throughout the world, and shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the Submissions for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without compensation to the provider of the Submissions.

The book or on-line display of the book on the Site will contain a notice substantially in the following form: “Copyright © 2009 by Tikatok LLC. All rights reserved.”

Yes, that’s right. Anything you give to Tikatok they claim as theirs. Upload a family photo or your child’s stories and drawings, and Tikatok will be able to do whatever they like with it, including sell it for profit, without any payment to you or even any acknowledgement.

Don’t you think that’s just a little bit disgusting?

I think this is appalling. Especially when Tikatok is focussed on the creative output of children. And specially when they’ve got the gall to say, further down in their User Agreement:

You may not use the Site for commercial purposes.

Now it’s common enough when you enter a competition, say, for your submissions to be licensed to promote that competition or the sponsor. That’s the exchange — in return for your chance of winning the prize. But this is naked theft. From children. I spit upon them.

As I say, always read the fine print!

[Hat-tip to Stephen Loosley for spotting this outrage.]