Wellbloggers Beware

Yoga MoneyThis is something of a follow-up to my entry from last week.  Last Wednesday, I found a need to review the Terms of Use at Wellsphere.com.  As I was allowing Wellsphere to publish my blog entries—I was a designated Wellblogger—on their site, I decided that I should read through the section on user submitted content.  This is what I found:

All Website Materials, including any intellectual property rights in such Website Materials, are the property of Wellsphere, its affiliates, licensors, or the designated owners, and are protected by applicable intellectual property laws. You should assume that everything you see on this Website is copyrighted unless otherwise noted, and may not be used without our written permission except as provided in these Terms.

That’s fair enough, but that last sentence had me a bit concerned as blog entries from here are also located on Wellsphere.  Were they claiming that these entries were copyrighted by them?

Content You Submit to or Post on the Website
Except as specified in our Privacy Policy, all communications from you to this Website will be considered non-confidential and non-proprietary. You agree that any and all comments, information, photos, videos, feedback and ideas that you communicate to Wellsphere or submit or post to the Website or give Wellsphere permission to post to the Website (“User Materials”) will be deemed, at the time of communication to Wellsphere or submission or posting to the Website, to be the property of Wellsphere, and Wellsphere shall be entitled to full rights of ownership, including without limitation, the unrestricted right to use or disclose such User Materials in any form, medium or technology now known or later developed, and for any purpose, commercial or otherwise, without compensation to you. In the event that you have any rights in the User Materials that cannot be assigned or waived you hereby grant to Wellsphere a royalty-free, paid-up, exclusive, worldwide, irrevocable, perpetual license to (i) use, make, sell, offer to sell, have made, and further sublicense any such User Materials, and (ii) reproduce, distribute, create derivative works of, publicly perform and publicly display the User Materials in any medium or format, whether now known or later developed.

Now, I am no lawyer but the section I highlighted—especially the section in red—says to me that Wellsphere is saying when one of my blog entries is communicated to Wellsphere via my RSS feed, that entry becomes the property of Wellsphere and that they are now entitled to full rights of ownership.  I requested clarification of the matter from Geoffrey Rutledge last Wednesday but I have not heard anything back since then.  That being the case, I have sent Wellsphere a notice that I am no longer participating in their Wellblogger program and that they are no longer authorized to display any of my copyrighted work.  I am also making sure that this portion of today’s entry is included in its entirety in my RSS feed.  Don’t get me wrong, Wellsphere has every right to claim ownership of anything that is directly posted to their site the same as any other web site; however, for them to even think of claiming those same rights for content they gather via news feeds is ludicrous.