The FTC now requires bloggers to disclose what they’ve received for free.
I was about to say nothing when I remembered that I received a copy of H. Ward Classen’s A Practical Guide to Software Licensing for Licensees and Licensors. It took me so long to read and review that Ward probably regretted even having a copy sent to me. But I got it for free nonetheless. Oh, and if you want to send me something for free… I love freebies. Just remember that I’ll now disclose that I got it for free.
But I think the FTC’s missing a real opportunity for regulation. I think people who send out free things should disclose from whom they’re attempting an endorsement or comment. I’ll even go first because, frankly, I only send things to people I know and respect and who would actually have a use for what I’m sending. This, by the way, is also a great list of folks that you should be following/reading (in alpha order):
- Ken Adams
- Adam Ayer
- Rick Chapman
- H. Ward Classen
- Jim Geisman
- Eric Goldman
- Stephen Guth
- Victoria Pynchon
- Frank Scavo
- Brian Sommer
- Ray Wang
Many of the technologies we use every day come with a license agreement of some sort. You might not even realize that it’s so because of where you are in the transaction chain – either as a buyer or as a seller. Content, for instance, is created, licensed/sold, packaged, re-licensed/re-sold, bundled, re-licensed/re-sold, and on and on so many times that you can hardly figure out who actually created much of what you read online. This is important, especially insofar as you want to be sure of who is providing the information that you use to make decisions, but also because as information is licensed/bundled/re-licensed over and over, it’s possible that the content creator isn’t getting what they earned as part of the transaction (namely, credit/attribution and/or payment).
Several services have popped up recently that are allowing content to move from one format to another – especially on Amazon-related products and platforms (ie: the Kindle). More specifically, Amazon is now allowing blog authors to license content for packaging and distribution on the Kindle, with the blog author receiving about 30% of the revenue generated from the license price. So, if I were to want this blog to be available as a Kindle subscription for say, $1.99, I would get $.31 for every subscription. But there’s a problem, Amazon has a license agreement that I would have to accept in order to make this happen. And this license agreement also gives Amazon the right to bundle and resell my content in other forms, too, without paying me for it at all. [For a full conversation on this, see this great post by Edward Champion.]
Additionally, Amazon’s current system doesn’t actually even check to see if I’m the owner of the blog I’m submitting into the Kindle Blog service! So I could create an account, submit any of your blogs as my own, and in just a few clicks, create Amazon entries for your blog’s content – even competing with the “real” listing (if you so happened to have agreed to the terms as well and started using the service).
So, for the record, while I love Amazon for a bunch of reasons, this blog is NOT being made available as a Kindle subscription. It is, however, being posted ON Amazon as part of Amazon’s author services… so you can read the individual postings if you go to the Software Licensing Handbook page at Amazon. But if you happen to see it on your Kindle device, you’re paying someone else for stolen content.
Blog Reviews (sometimes known as Blog Carnivals) are posts by individual blog authors who pick a certain topic and then “review” various other blogs related to that topic (many times, the topic is only tangentially related to the blogs being reviewed). The “Blawg Review” is simply one focused on law-related topics.
I was lucky enough to be included in J. Craig Williams’ Blawg Review #206 at May It Please The Court on the topic of Evergreen Clauses. Thanks Craig!
I had the pleasure of being interviewed recently by Nat Colley for his series on Vet Your Lawyer.
We discussed the topic of negotiation and more specifically, negotiating with your own attorney. I won’t ruin the listening experience by rehashing it here – but suffice it to say, the Five Fundamental Skills made a significant presence.
Thanks again to Nat for his time!
Thanks to everyone who entered my little contest last week. All non-winning entrants received a free copy of the Software License Risk Matrix, just for playing.
Congratulations go to Andrew from lawshucks.com! He was the winner of the random drawing from all correct entries – deciphering the title of my post: Eight weeks til BN as a reference to the Beastie Boys seminal album, Licensed to Ill – and specifically to the song, No Sleep Till Brooklyn.
For his extensive knowledge of 80s white Jewish rappers (the only others being 2 Live Jews, which, while researching the link and how to find them, had way more albums than I remembered), Andrew received the complete set of Software Licensing Education Series videos, a $225 value.
Again, congratulations to Andrew – and thanks to everyone who entered. Keep looking for other ways to win free stuff. 🙂
At the request of a reader, I’ve increased the number of old posts now included in your RSS feed. I would appreciate any feedback (good or bad) as a result of this change. I anticipate that the first time it downloads the feed, it’ll take a few extra seconds, but I’m not sure of anything else. So again, comments are appreciated.
Happy 2009, everyone!
Wow. I can’t believe another year has flown by. 2008 was full of twists and turns, but now is not a time for retrospection. I’ll leave a year-in-review for someone else.
Instead, I’d like to re-introduce you to a few things going on around the site, especially for those of you joining us via your friendly neighborhood RSS-feed-reader.
Obviously, you all know about the blog. I’m going to continue to post on a regular basis on things that I find interesting or noteworthy in the contracts, software licensing and negotiation world. The Skribit tool is available on the blog page if you’d like to submit a topic idea/suggestion (you can also just e-mail one to me). So far, every one that’s been suggested has been covered… so I’m always looking for more topic ideas.
I’ve had to slow down on a few additions that I wanted to have completed by the end of 2008. The Software Licensing Education Series – 400 and 500 levels are still in production. I promise that I’ll finish them, I just don’t know exactly when. But I’ve not forgotten about them. The same is true for Symetrisk. I had originally thought that it would be released (if only in beta form) by tonight, alas, it hasn’t. It is, however, in development as well (two types, no less). Please let me know if you want to receive immediate notification upon its completion.
The Software Licensing Handbook, now in its second edition, and the Five Fundamental Skills for Effective Negotiation continue to receive praise and recognition from a wide range of sources. I never imagined the support you’ve shown me and I’m eternally grateful for the chance to share my experience with you. Thank you!
I haven’t had the time to present at conferences or speak with peers as much as I would’ve preferred. If you want me to speak at an event or with your team/group, please let me know. I’ll see if I can be a little more available.
Last, but not least, and brand new for 2009, is an upgrade to v4 of our Forum software. Just released this evening and installed a few moments ago, the Forum is the place to go to start discussions on anything you want to talk about with other procurement, contracts, legal and sales professionals. We haven’t had too much action on them to date – but 2009 is the perfect time to start. Membership is free, posting/reading is free – this is an additional value-add service to you.
I hope you’ve had a great 2008 – and that you have an even better 2009! I look forward to continuing our adventure together!