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general questions Regarding User-Submitted Content - Poniverse's Terms of Use


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I've been wondering on something for a while, according to the Poniverse's Terms of Service,

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When you post, link, or otherwise make content available on Poniverse services, you grant Poniverse a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, irrevocable, sublicensable, and transferable license to use, reproduce, modify, prepare derivative works of, perform, publicly display, and distribute your content. This license will survive a termination of this agreement.

While concept in general is obvious and understandable, this particular license Poniverse asks for is something one should give more thought before going forward. The "irrevocable" is what makes me wonder the most, as with that it goes further than some other services I know - just sounds like "all you post belongs to us forever, k thx for posting". To my understanding, from the moment I post or even just link something here, Poniverse basically takes over my content and can do whatever they want without even asking, and I have absolutely no control over it after the content was submitted and that license granted, is that correct?

At first I was thinking more about services that focus on submitting media, such as pony.fm, where it would be a bit more understandable, but MLPF is also one of the Poniverse's services and it has a much wider scope of use, so I've been wondering to what degree this applies here. From what I can tell, I haven't seen any, let's say, "abuse" coming from this yet, buuuuuuuut legally speaking, the doors are widely open for "yoinking" user-submitted content, should Poniverse go bonkers.

So... basically my question is, what is your interest in content posted on MLPF?

Since I joined - to this very moment I didn't, and still don't really have any issues with that, yet. I always did have in mind, that you might be using what I post in one way or another, I even create content specifically meant for MLPF after all. It's just that.. the more I'm thinking about it, the more I try to imagine what potential trouble I could find myself in one day and what I should try to avoid to save myself from potential regret in the future. Posting some images and stuff, I don't really care, I'm happy if any of this can be useful to you, but what about more ambitious and personal projects and such? I do realize it's pretty much impossible to make content completely disappear once it steps into the internet, but the difference is, that opposed to people randomly sneaking and sharing what they managed to gather in time, Poniverse will have full right to do so and edit/use it as they please with absolutely no way for me to do anything, even if for whatever reason I'd be so desperate to try to take something down.

What exactly is the purpose? Am I overthinking this?

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12 hours ago, Courageous Thunder Dash said:

I had a user approach me on another site with this question. It left him confused and concerned...

And they're not the only one. Someone mentioned that recently, hence why I started wondering on this myself.

10 hours ago, Kujamih said:

Hey free advertisement I guess?

Well for the most part yes I guess, but should you ever change your mind, it will be too late.

That "too late" is what makes me try to come up with possible scenarios, where it would become problematic.

I don't know, let's say you're posting character sheets or music you intend to use in your game only to receive feedback. Other users technically won't be able to repost, nor use these works in their own projects, due to lack of necessary permission/agreement, but Poniverse can officially use, modify, cover etc., these per its terms of use whether you like it or not.

Laws are somewhat unclear in that regard and the licence Poniverse asks for is vague too. I'm just wondering what exactly is their interest and scope of use of user-submitted content.

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I think poniverse is just using that to protect themselves? But it kinda vague and one sided.... I guess?

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Yes, I believe the main purpose of this Agreement is to protect content from disappearing for trivial reasons.

A common scenario is that some users basically grow up from ponies after some time and should they come to such conclusion, they often decide to completely leave MLPF and remove all traces they have left here. For example, imagine 2000 or more posts disappearing at once, just because someone got bored of the forums. There I understand, that such actions leave holes in various discussions, which is the core purpose of the forums. To fight that, the license allows Poniverse to retain the content one has posted (for example anonymize author, but keep content). Basically this particular license makes sense if we think about posts in general - staff can "modify" user content should they find something unsuitable, they can promote these posts and don't want them to disappear etc. etc., all understandable, not a big deal, rather harmless despite the license sounding extreme. For that scope of use, I personally agree, no problem there.

But the problem is, that the Agreement is rather vague. It doesn't define what kind of content does it cover (one can assume they ask for everything), nor the scope of use.

Generally there don't appear to be any restrictions regarding what kind of User Content they refer to. Does the Agreement affect all sorts of creative works? If someone submits their artwork in a status update, will Poniverse automatically get the right to use, modify, adapt, share etc. the artwork in question without having to ask the author for permission? - Will Poniverse be able to give the same license to 3rd party companies, allowing other sites to, with the same terms, host and use the content too? -- and will Poniverse have that right even if the author actually declines further reuse? The license seems to say YES, but as far as I can tell, Poniverse doesn't seem to enforce that, but ask first regardless, everything approached with common sense. ---But will it be like this forever? No guarantee.

I've bumped into artists, that don't like to see their works reposted at all. Saying, for example, "don't repost, it's my OC" won't affect Poniverse, as one grants the specified License regardless, by submitting the content, thus agreeing to the Terms of Service. There's no going back either - once posted, it's basically too late to take any actions, Poniverse already got the desired license they asked for the moment the content was submitted.

The more I think about this, the more I'm concerned, that one day someone might come and flip the tables upside down.

(note: That's just my interpretation, and may be incorrect)

 

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11 hours ago, Rikifive said:

 "don't repost, it's my OC"

I have noticed during my time here, that linking to my own image on my own paid server, in a post, caches that same image on these servers. The problem comes when the source image is removed from the original server by choice, the deleted image still shows up on these forums. Google image search used a similar technique back before 2017, but because of copyright laws, they changed to save only a thumbnail low quality image instead. Google has paid a lot for mistaking the law in the past. Especially saying they own the images that others have given them access to (by scanning webpages), just to realize those images where not shared by the actual owner of the image or webpage.

If I were to post a link to a game called Fighting is Magic, would I be the owner of that game? Would Poniverse be the owner of that game because it showed up in their server's cache?

If someone got really rich of a project that was "Tweeted" here at one time, would that someone have to share the revenue of said project with Poniverse? How much of the project must be linked with Poniverse to be completely owned? Name only? Screenshots? A link to a downloaded? An attachment of a patch file?

When I go to my account settings and try to click on my login that is connected to Poniverse (the only source I can find of a connection between the forum and Poniverse), I just get forum error codes. How connected is the forum to Poniverse? Do we see a physical link? The domain name is obviously different.

How concerned should we "content creators" really be? How concerned should we be about sharing art that we haven't drawn ourselves? That is mainly my concerns.

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  • 4 weeks later...

These are a non-exhaustive list of why this TOS line exists. We don't want any of the following to happen. 

 

User creates art. User posts art on MLPF. Somepony else reposts on MLPF or shares with appropriate attribution. Artist requests royalty or licensing fees from Poniverse. 

User creates post that is insanely good. Somepony shares link to post on Twitter. Post becomes viral. Poniverse gets a jump in ad revenue and increases user base do to post. Poster requests revenue share from Poniverse.

User volunteers to be on MLPF staff. User creates art of our mascots for us to use. User quits. Years later user comes back and demands we stop using this art for our mascot or sues us. 

User with 10,000 posts rage quits and demands that we delete all his posts. 

User posts crap content, and we hide it, and she sues suggesting we have no permission to remove content. 

 

Again this is non-exhaustive. FWIW, Section 5 prevents abuse of this rule, not that it is needed since contracts of use cannot supercede Canadian law when Canadian law contradicts it. We cannot own something we did not create ourselves, but we can use it on our platforms, and we can use it to make revenue (traffic drives ad revenue). Obviously we cannot own something that a user posts that they do not own. We do not delete content on MLPF, seeking to preserve the content for posterity, if not the attribution associated. We do not want users to feel pressured to not share content that they find on here. We do not want, as a non-profit organization, to bear any legal or financial burden for operating as a platform that users will post and share content. And yes, content is everything. What I am typing now is content. I own it but MLPF and Poniverse (same same), have the ability to decide how it is used on the platform.  

If you have any further questions feel free to reach out to @LadyMercury

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As the question was asked and answered by either a staffer or user who was correct, we will be closing this question out. Thank you as always.

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