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1064

Review Guidelines
Topic by: stevendj
Posted: September 11, 2003 - 8:09 PM PDT
Last Reply: September 17, 2003 - 9:19 PM PDT

page  1  2  3      prev | next
author topic: Review Guidelines
stevendj
post #1  on September 11, 2003 - 8:09 PM PDT  
I'm concerned about the statement in the review guidelines that "All submitted reviews become the property of GreenCine." I was about to post my first review to this site when I saw that, and it stopped me cold. Taken at face value, that says I transfer the entire copyright in my words as soon as I post a review to your site. I'm not going to do that; I control my words, not you. I'm perfectly willing to grant you the right to display my work on GreenCine, and even to edit it (as long as I can delete it, if I don't like your edits), but I'm not going to give up my right to publish my review elsewhere (which, as it happens, I've already done, on my own website). If you decide to publish a book of reviews from this site, and you want to include one of my pieces, I want the right to say yes or no. I'm sorry, but I think the language in your guidelines is much, much broader than it has to be, and it has implications I just can't accept.
dpowers
post #2  on September 12, 2003 - 8:55 AM PDT  
amazon.com language:

REVIEWS, COMMENTS, COMMUNICATIONS, AND OTHER CONTENT

Visitors may post reviews, comments, and other content; send e-cards and other communications; and submit suggestions, ideas, comments, questions, or other information, so long as the content is not illegal, obscene, threatening, defamatory, invasive of privacy, infringing of intellectual property rights, or otherwise injurious to third parties or objectionable and does not consist of or contain software viruses, political campaigning, commercial solicitation, chain letters, mass mailings, or any form of "spam." You may not use a false e-mail address, impersonate any person or entity, or otherwise mislead as to the origin of a card or other content. Amazon.com reserves the right (but not the obligation) to remove or edit such content, but does not regularly review posted content.


If you do post content or submit material, and unless we indicate otherwise, you grant Amazon.com and its affiliates a nonexclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, and fully sublicensable right to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, and display such content throughout the world in any media. You grant Amazon.com and its affiliates and sublicensees the right to use the name that you submit in connection with such content, if they choose. You represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content that you post; that the content is accurate; that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity; and that you will indemnify Amazon.com or its affiliates for all claims resulting from content you supply. Amazon.com has the right but not the obligation to monitor and edit or remove any activity or content. Amazon.com takes no responsibility and assumes no liability for any content posted by you or any third party.

NF language:

USE OF INFORMATION SUBMITTED
Netflix, Inc. is free to use any comments, information, ideas, concepts, reviews, or techniques contained in any communication you may send to the Netflix.com Web site without further compensation, acknowledgement or payment to you for any purpose whatsoever including, but not limited to, developing, manufacturing and marketing products and creating, modifying or improving the Netflix.com Web site or other Web sites. Furthermore, by posting any information on our site, you grant us a nonexclusive, royalty-free license to display, use, reproduce or modify that information.
NLee
post #3  on September 12, 2003 - 9:26 AM PDT  
Some comments:

1. Unless you are writing DVD reviews for a living, I don't see what is your concern about.

2. If you have already published your review for a movie elsewhere, why don't you think of something new to post here?

3. If you are afraid that your review is going to come back and bite you when you're running for re-election, drop GC customer service a line and I'm sure they can delete the review for you.
dpowers
post #4  on September 12, 2003 - 12:48 PM PDT  
that's our boy nlee, just back from teaching his class on "the business of writing" at die-freelancers-die university. we're so proud of him.
dpowers
post #5  on September 12, 2003 - 12:52 PM PDT  
notice that both the other statements use the phrase "non-exclusive." giving up "exclusive" rights is a lot more restrictive than it sounds, not that GC would necessarily pursue royalties for a review that someone had published simultaneously here and elsewhere, or for something that was similar.
dpowers
post #6  on September 12, 2003 - 12:53 PM PDT  
i don't know anything, i'm not a lawyer, which means i'm also not greencine's lawyer (process of elimination).
larbeck
post #7  on September 12, 2003 - 2:25 PM PDT  
I think that stevedj raise an important point - many movies have a way of enduring, and it is possible one could find himself in a position to offer his work for profit in another arena. Quote Netflix or Amazon is just fogging up the issue - this is NOT Netflix or Amazon but Greencine and they special and different. Where is the text of the Greencine policy, I would like to see it. I would feel a lot better if it was the non-exclusive property of Greencine and limited only to use at Greencine's web site unless I grant my explict permission.
dpowers
post #8  on September 12, 2003 - 2:29 PM PDT  
the other language was just for reference, but shows an industry attitude against claiming exclusive rights to posts and reviews.
hamano
post #9  on September 12, 2003 - 3:59 PM PDT  
Sounds like pretty standard release form language to me. In TV production if we had people appearing as extras or minor actors we had them sign release forms (even for some types of documentary production) that gave us control over the use of that footage throughout the "known universe" in "perpetuity"... Those drunk girls in the Girls Gone Wild videos probably don't even remember signing away those rights...

In this case, since membership in GreenCine is totally voluntary, and since members are not required to submit any reviews at all, and since GreenCine gives members freedom to edit a review or request it be deleted, the system seems pretty fair. Also, reviewers' true identities are hidden behind our login names. If you have reservations about "gifting" your review to GreenCine and your fellow GreenCiners, don't do it. We're asked by my daughter's school to submit our phone number and address for inclusion in the School Directory, but we're not FORCED to do it. It's just more friendly to do so, and useful for scheduling playdates and birthday parties.

Furthermore, from reading a lot of the reviews while browsing through the titles, I doubt very much that anyone would actually profit from publishing them or selling them (with the possible exception of some of dpowers' ramblings, which may be collected for publication in some Dadaist Journal or something in the future). The individual reviews are very subjective so reading them without some idea of the reviewer's prejudices and preconceptions isn't very helpful. GreenCiners' reviews have a beneficial cumulative value; if there are 3 or 4 reviews for one title, you might be able to draw some useful conclusions by comparing them.

During the 90's, a lot of hopeful "editors" tried to strike it rich by collecting jokes, advice, stories, etc. from internet newsgroups and forums. I haven't heard of anyone who's ever actually bought any of those books, or of any prolific newsgroup poster who got rich by exercising his copyright.
stevendj
post #10  on September 12, 2003 - 4:01 PM PDT  
> On September 12, 2003 - 9:26 AM PDT NLee wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Some comments:
>
> 1. Unless you are writing DVD reviews for a living, I
>don't see what is your concern about.

1. There are issues other than profit. If I want to recommend a movie to my friends on LiveJournal, I don't see why I should use other words than the ones I use on GreenCine. In addition, I like having control over my work, and it's unpleasant to lose that control. If my neighbor asks to borrow my screwdriver, I'll say yes. If my neighbor asks me to give him my screwdriver, and promises to let me use it whenever I want, I'll say no. In practical terms the two may be equivalent, but emotionally they aren't, and the difference in courtesy is important.

> 2. If you have already published your review for a movie
>elsewhere, why don't you think of something new to post
>here?

I doubt more than a few dozen people will ever read my LiveJournal posts, and putting a similar review on GreenCine (it wouldn't be exactly identical, but some of the sentences and paragraphs would be the same) benefits the GreenCine members who read it and find it useful. If I can't put my material both places, I'll put it on LiveJournal.

> 3. If you are afraid that your review is going to come
>back and bite you when you're running for re-election, drop
>GC customer service a line and I'm sure they can delete the
>review for you.

I'm sure they would too, because that would be courteous, and they seem like nice people. That's why I'm asking they make it a policy. It doesn't cost them much to say that they have an official policy of being nice about what I post, and that no matter what happens in the future they will still be nice. All they have to do is put up a policy on copyrights that covers the rights they need, and leaves me the rights they don't.

The policy they have now has one big advantage: it's simple. It doesn't take long to write language which says "This is my property", and once you're done you've got something that's safe (for you). If you write more detailed language and forget to ask for a right you need, then you're in big trouble. So I really do understand why they went with a simple, clear statement. I'm not saying that they're bad people. I'm just saying that's what simple and safe from their perspective is not so pleasant from my perspective, and I would appreciate it if they went to a little effort to come up with something that they feel comfortable with and I feel comfortable with.

The Amazon and Netflix guidelines dpowers posted are a good example. They ask for a few more rights than I'm comfortable with--there's nothing in there to stop Netflix from publishing The Collected Netflix Reviews, making a million dollars, and not giving the people who wrote the book a penny--but I wouldn't mind putting up a review I spent twenty minutes on under those terms. I'm giving a copy of my screwdriver, and I can't insist that GreenCine give it back, but at least GreenCine isn't insisting that I give them all the copies of my screwdriver everywhere.
hamano
post #11  on September 12, 2003 - 4:15 PM PDT  
A possible solution for stevendj...

You can always post a "review" that includes a "if you're interested in my review, click here." link to your website. I don't know if GreenCine admin would be cool with that, but you can try it.
hamano
post #12  on September 12, 2003 - 4:26 PM PDT  
> On September 12, 2003 - 4:15 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> A possible solution for stevendj...
>
> You can always post a "review" that includes a "if you're interested in my review, click here." link to your website.

Like this.

Read stevendj's reviews!
hamano
post #13  on September 12, 2003 - 4:54 PM PDT  
Oh, and just a note to GreenCine management, if any of you are lurking on this thread...

If you look at the terms page on your website, the terms stated on the review-related pages and pop-ups are NOT included. In the interests of eliminating ambiguity, the requirements listed in your review guidelines should perhaps also appear on your terms page.
dpowers
post #14  on September 12, 2003 - 4:55 PM PDT  
hamano, by giving low marks to people's posts on greencine, you have described the problem.

maybe this is impossible, but i think an operation that combines access to the arts and lively discussion of them has a possibility to become something really engaging, really expansive, for everybody involved, regardless of what they want from the organization or from the community that has formed or is forming around it.

to have a chance to become something really cool you need talkers, writers, people who want to speak volumes to each other and want to pull things out of the air like magic for people who want to play at being the audience.

it's a real stretch that somebody would give their work free to a group, especially when the work they contribute is available to the wide open public. and if then, the people who run the equipment say, everything contributed to the group belongs exclusively to us, that makes it even tougher to justify putting out.

this is really strange because i was just talking with someone this morning about whether time i put in here was just lining somebody's pocket.
dpowers
post #15  on September 12, 2003 - 5:54 PM PDT  
people here put in good stuff, i talk too much, and these boards could be full of amazing things. rub that into your scalp as you read that last post...
hamano
post #16  on September 12, 2003 - 10:46 PM PDT  
I'm rubbing my scalp really hard....I'm rubbing....I think I'm just being baited by M. Grenouille, but since I'm still awake and nothing much else seems to be going on, I'll bite.

> On September 12, 2003 - 4:55 PM PDT dpowers wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> hamano, by giving low marks to people's posts on greencine, you have described the problem.

I just wanna say I'm not giving anyone "low" marks. I tend to be anti-elitist and anti-intellectual and I don't think anyone should be "marked" and that everyone should be able to participate without the fear of being judged (OK, if you say something dumb in a discussion thread you're gonna be flamed, but that's just part of the game). Philosophically I'm against the ratings system for the lists, and the "helpful" rating on the reviews. Anyone who wants to be part of this community should be able to write what they think. People who see the lists or reviews should be able to form their own opinions of them. (What would be REALLY interesting is if GreenCine tracked whether a member reading a review led him to actually rent the DVD, also, if a renter could flame the reviewer AFTER finding out that they'd been misled, that would ALSO be really interesting.)

What I meant by my comments is that if I was a shopper and I saw a book by GreenCine Press called "Our Members' Reviews" I'm probably not gonna fork over $10 to get it, and I don't think anyone else would, either. I'm not dedicating my life to writing good reviews for GreenCine. I'm just throwing in my 2 cents, on the fly, as I browse around. I want to write a good quality review for films I DO like, since I want to support the creators behind the film. That's why I don't usually waste my time panning films I didn't like. I DO try to write reviews (and posts) that are free of spelling mistakes and somewhat coherent, but that's just because that's how my mommy raised me.

I'm trying to say that individual reviews have NOT been particularly useful to me in deciding whether to rent a title or not. Many or them ARE fun to read, however, and if there are a variety of reviews and opinions for a single title, THAT in itself can be informative.

I'm also trying to say that maybe the individual posts and reviews are of varying quality and usefulness, but if there are enough participants then some kind of new awareness might rise out of the muck, something that is really insightful or useful or maybe just entertaining.

So there is no "problem" to the way GreenCine reviews and posts are right now. This ain't some kind of university, it's just a neighborhood growing out of a melting pot of film/television/anime lovers who have very little else in common, some of whom like to put their opinions down in print. For fun (I hope).

> maybe this is impossible, but i think an operation that combines access to the arts and lively discussion of them has a possibility to become something really engaging, really expansive, for everybody involved, regardless of what they want from the organization or from the community that has formed or is forming around it.

Ahh, such a dreamer! Maybe I'm more practical, realistic or just a "small thinker" (after all, I only keep about 50 titles on my queue, and I methodically rearrange them to try to assure that I get the next title I want to see). I don't know how many members have joined GreenCine to date, but when I look at some of the discussion groups, I find myself VERY familiar with the folks who are posting regularly. Well, who knows, there are probably corners of GreenCine frequented by people like you that I haven't had the chance to discover yet. However, at this point, I haven't been BLOWN AWAY by anything that anyone's written. Not the way I've been BLOWN AWAY by some of my favorite films or anime shows. But the presence of those stalwarts like larbeck and cinenaut et al is at the same time comforting, amusing, and pleasing, like living in a nice neighborhood where you get to know some of the other customers who are regulars at the local Starbucks. Well, actually I WAS blown away by your first haiku on my anime haiku thread, but that's just 17 wonderfully ironic syllables.

> to have a chance to become something really cool you need talkers, writers, people who want to speak volumes to each other and want to pull things out of the air like magic for people who want to play at being the audience.

I don't know if a lot of people just want to "play" at being the audience. Especially if what's being offered for show is a Totoro pulling a catbus out of his big mouth, or a frog that can twirl a pen like a baton with his tongue. GreenCine is already really cool. And I don't have time to speak volumes because I'm kept pretty busy screening the titles that arrive from my queue, so that I can send them back in exchange for the next on the list.

> it's a real stretch that somebody would give their work free to a group, especially when the work they contribute is available to the wide open public. and if then, the people who run the equipment say, everything contributed to the group belongs exclusively to us, that makes it even tougher to justify putting out.

I'm still rubbing my scalp on this one... I'm not really "putting out" when I post reviews and lists and stuff. I'm just using GreenCine's resources (storage space, bandwidth, etc.) to publish free crap for the benefit of fellow GreenCiners. In fact, other GreenCiners are subsidizing my ability to do so, because their membership fees pay for all the wonderful technology that publishes and archives my ramblings. If I was donating my old DVDs to GC without recompense or something like that, THEN I'd be "putting out". GreenCine didn't ASK me to write reviews, they just said I COULD, and provided the method to do so.

> this is really strange because i was just talking with someone this morning about whether time i put in here was just lining somebody's pocket.

Probably, but do you care? I put in time shelving books at my daughter's school library, and that's "lining the pockets" of the Baltimore County Public Schools system which I already pay for with my taxes, but I don't care about that. I DO care to be known by her teachers and other concerned parents, I DO care to show my daughter that Daddy thinks school is important and that volunteerism is important.

I DON'T have a blog or an alternate outlet for writing about film and anime, so what I write I give freely to GreenCine and its employees and members. The combined result from my postings and that of others maybe of varying quality and usefulness and utlimately just chaotic, but that's life, and it's wonderful.
hamano
post #17  on September 12, 2003 - 11:53 PM PDT  
> On September 12, 2003 - 4:01 PM PDT stevendj wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> 1. There are issues other than profit. If I want to recommend a movie to my friends on LiveJournal, I don't see why I should use other words than the ones I use on GreenCine. In addition, I like having control over my work, and it's unpleasant to lose that control. If my neighbor asks to borrow my screwdriver, I'll say yes. If my neighbor asks me to give him my screwdriver, and promises to let me use it whenever I want, I'll say no. In practical terms the two may be equivalent, but emotionally they aren't, and the difference in courtesy is important.

Sorry, I mean no disrespect to stevendj here, and I'm really just beating a dead horse into dogfood now, but I kinda agree with NLee. If my neighbor asks to borrow my screwdriver, and I happen to have an extra one, I'd probably just give it to him. Something like this really happened. My next door neighbor was asking me for tips on how to hook his media equipment to his TV, and he had the RCA cables he needed, but I noticed he also had S-Video jacks. I said he could use S-Video and get possibly a better picture, and he said he didn't have one, and I said I might have a spare one lying around. Well, I didn't, but the next time I went to Target I picked one up for him and just gave it to him. Well, that was a couple of years ago, and he's been a great neighbor, and the other day when I was being lazy he went and mowed my lawn with his brand new lawn mower for no reason at all.

Now, I've exchanged some "private mail" as well as discussion posts with some GreenCine employees, and they seem like very nice neighbors to me. Perhaps I'm just naive, but they don't seem to have a Disneyesque stormtrooper army of intellectual property lawyers who patrol the internet pursuing those of us who may or may not have infringed on GreenCine copyrighted property. While I understand the concern behind stevendj's original posting, what is the likelyhood that this issue will become a real concern? Are you lurking, ggsuperhero? Would you spend YOUR money hiring lawyers to bust one of your customers for publishing his review somewhere else, or would you rather spend it on acquiring new titles to add to your catalog?
hamano
post #18  on September 12, 2003 - 11:59 PM PDT  
Aaugh! Did you see the number assigned to this discussion topic? It's Number 666!!!
dpowers
post #19  on September 13, 2003 - 12:18 AM PDT  
i wasn't baiting, i was trying to spin my longer post more positively. failed because i couldn't figure out where i wanted it to finish up. besides, when cranky, i jab.

to my mind every place people gather is a potential learning environment. if it weren't i wouldn't want to be there, i'm in it for the "data" (in the evil-sorta-spock-ish anime meaning of the word).

in my experience every set of boards on a topic has a fairly small group of regular posters. actually maybe we're lucky to have anybody, given the rather enormous ratio of people-posters in the regular world. people didn't really join to write-and-be-read.

but, i spent my time as a lurker, lots of people take to that, pretty actively, they read it all, absorb it all, it is sometimes a sort of game to keep up with it.

> If I was donating my old DVDs to GC without recompense or something like that, THEN I'd be "putting out". GreenCine didn't ASK me to write reviews, they just said I COULD, and provided the method to do so.

well you're looking at it as permission, that's too dry. i think for them, offering a review engine and web boards and stuff was more a "please do" kind of thing.

i'm surprised, though, that you're limiting generosity to material donations. time and attention are also precious. are you thinking those things are only given out of self-interest?

> I put in time shelving books at my daughter's school library, and that's "lining the pockets" of the Baltimore County Public Schools system...

unless baltimore's schools are run for-profit, your comparison is terrible. really awful!

> what I write I give freely to GreenCine and its employees and members.

okay but, that's just what you want. others may wish to contribute something they've already done, or play to use again, and that "property" language is an impediment.
dpowers
post #20  on September 13, 2003 - 12:21 AM PDT  
maybe we should have a show of hands. all in favor of us suing each other for posting in this thread:
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