The Ivyist Part Two

Thank you for all of the good thinking. I thought I would consolidate the feedback and do one more article before making a call.

First, there was discussion about whether Ivy Style retains ownership over content because we do not pay for content. There were a few notes suggesting that we SHOULD pay, and that we are disadvantaged in this argument because we don’t. I really hope this comment was made by someone who complains that we service the advertisers too much. The idea that a non-subscription based website should pay for content – I have an idea. What if we pay for content when you pay for content? (which I would be down for, by the way).

I think it important to note that writers here provide content WITHOUT the expectation of ownership of that content and/or remuneration. Rather, they are contributing to a collaborative that stands alone in the field. If a writer submits a piece knowing that they will never have dominion over things like image selection, graphic design, access to the site itself, it can be very reasonably argued that the submission is made in finality. We talk a lot about the value of the site as an archive.

Another argument was that the Internet is forever. And whether or not that should be so. My perspective on that is that as a creative, part of the obligation of creating IS to allow your work to stand forever. I am relatively sure there are a ton of 80’s hair bands who now look at their music and concerts and say, “Man, I wish I hadn’t put that out there.” That does not though give them the right to go to your house and run through your CD collection tossing the ones they are embarrassed of. You should WANT your work to stand forever. You should demand of yourself that your work be good enough TO stand forever. Whether the internet is forever is, in my opinion, beyond the point. We don’t edit the Bible because there are things in it we might agree and then there are things on which we have evolved away from. We let it stand.

I am not saying Ivy-Style is the Bible. I am saying that once you submit a piece of work, you have submitted it.

There are exceptions. Slanderous pieces. Pieces that contain error. Were that the case, I would think differently. But that isn’t the case. This was an opinion piece.

I am reminded of that quote from the greatest film of all time, Point Break. They are discussing surfing with a quarterback around a beachfire at night and a surfer says. “You can’t just call time out and stroll into the beach if you don’t like the way things are going.”

I have written things for church bulletins, churches I no longer attend. Do I have the right to ask them to go back in their archive and remove what I wrote because I no longer believe it?

Whiskeydent made an interesting point. We don’t get do-overs in life but we can get make ups, he wrote. I kind of see that angle of things. If the author thought they were wrong, why WOULDN’T they want a second shot. I have been wrong a gazillion times. The second chance is what got me here.

To the commentator “John” (cute) who says the site was always edited, that is true, pieces have been edited. Some of mine were. But that is standard practice.

I dunno, would Mark Twain ask a school library to take down Huck Finn?

By the way, and I should have told you this earlier, who the author of the piece is is CENTRAL to the piece. So Anonymous won’t work.

The final argument comes down to what is the ethical thing to do. And again, I submit the slippery slope theory. You can’t say “leave what was posted as what was posted” and then start having exceptions. If we can edit the site, then hells yes let’s edit the site. If we can’t, let’s don’t.

The final final argument is that grace and kindness should prevail, and that the post is clearly causing its author distress. What I should do is write a piece as great as I am capable of and replace the post in question with that. That’s win/win.


22 Comments on "The Ivyist Part Two"

  1. You should take the post down because it still belongs to the author, regardless of whether or not you’ve published it on your site. Unless they’ve explicitly in writing said that they’ve transferred ownership to you, it’s still their legal right. All this stuff about (paraphrasing here) “it’s implied that you give up your rights when you let someone else publish it” is not legally binding, as others have pointed out.

    • whiskeydent | January 29, 2024 at 8:34 am |

      Does this apply to someone who does not assert copyright? Does this apply to a letter-to-the-editor at a newspaper or magazine? Is this true of other works such as photographs? Why should someone go to the trouble of asserting copyright on the piece if it doesn’t matter?

      • Copyright does not have to be “asserted” bceause it is automatically granted upon creation. You’re probably thinking of patents, the control of which DOES need to be asserted in order to protect rights. Copyright is automatically granted upon creation and it applies to writing, photographs, music, etc.

        When is my work protected?

        Your work is under copyright protection the moment it is created and fixed in a tangible form that it is perceptible either directly or with the aid of a machine or device.

        • So even if you give the product away to someone you still have a copyright? Again, what about a letter-to-the-editor?

          • Yes, you still own the copyright to a letter to an editor. All you’ve given them is an implied license to publish it. The copyright is always owned by the creator, up until the point that they sign a contract stating that they are explicitly giving them away. You are welcome to scream about implied licenses and “what if it has no value” all you want, but the owner is the owner until they explicitly relinquish their ownership.

  2. The idea that a non-subscription based website should pay for content – I have an idea. What if we pay for content when you pay for content?”

    Okay so I am confused because plenty of non-subscription websites pay contributors and support themselves with advertising, which is also how Ivy Style appears to be set up, except for the paying writers part it seems. That’s not to say it’s a great business model but that’s traditionally how things have gone in the past. You are, of course, free to start charging membership fees if you want. It’s honestly none of our business which business model you want to have.

    But I think I have to agree with the others who shared on the previous post that the kind thing to do would be to take it down, particularly if you didn’t pay them for it.

    I honestly have to question the wisdom of “that article you said I could post for free, well I’m keeping that forever now and it’s my property” if you wish to continue getting people writing for free. Sorry, but I think this is kind of a not great hill to die on.

  3. TIL Ivy style doesn’t pay its writers but also somehow claims they own the content they didn’t even buy. Why exactly? Even evil behemoths like Facebook don’t claim ownership of their user generated content.

    • John Burton | January 29, 2024 at 6:53 am |

      Actually Facebook DOES.

      • Hi, copyright attorney here. This is entirely incorrect. Facebook is granted a right to host the content you post but the person who posts it retains the rights. Facebook’s right is to reproduce it WHILE it’s on the service, but for practical reasons, things that are posted on public profiles can be copied by other users. The revokable license granted to Facebook is meant to protect them, the same way that YOU are protected by the writer having previously given you permission to post. But once it’s revoked, the content comes down.

        Very common misconception on your part, sadly. Just tons of “fake news” about copyright online these days. Like people thinking “copyright infringement not intended” on Youtube means anything.

  4. “If we can edit the site, then hells yes let’s edit the site.”

    Yes, this is the point! You are the editor and you can totally remove. It’s your call if you want to removed something. You’re implying that you can’t, but that’s not true!

  5. Still a tough call. I think it challenges the identity of this site to remove the article in question, so maybe my opinion is along the lines of the “slippery slope” argument. I also think that we all have been wrongly conditioned by social media plateforms into being incredibly uncritical and thoughtless about what we post anywhere online. If we regret it later, we need to relearn things like accountability and make whatever amends we need to make to whomever we need to make them. (I write this knowing nothing of the article in question or the unique circumstances and motives of its writer.)
    Personally, I think that if you do decide to remove the article, the page itself should remain with an editor’s note about this entire debate.

    • “I think it challenges the identity of this site to remove the article in question”

      That’s not really material. If the person who owns the copyright wishes to revoke the license, then that’s their right. Whether or not it “challenged the identity of this site.”

  6. Edouard Harris | January 29, 2024 at 2:13 am |

    I think the nice thing to do is take the article down even if you don’t have to. I think trying to teach people a lesson that once they let you post it that it belongs to the site is a little greedy seeming to me

  7. MacMcConnell | January 29, 2024 at 2:49 am |

    “I am reminded of that quote from the greatest film of all time, Point Break.” Don’t see many films do you? ;<)
    Nice post, thanks

  8. No offense by my previous comment was taken I hope but I just want to read about Ivy clothing and the history, current updates, etc.

  9. Yes, if I have submitted something, I have submitted it. However, my expectation is only that it will either be rejected or sit there for internet eternity in the position of a comment or discussion. I have no expectation of it being used otherwise. It is rather like submitting a term paper. I have an expectation that it will be reviewed and graded but nothing more. In short, the context of a submission not being purchased or contractually governed is important.

  10. John,

    To me, the site is a running dialogue on topics that fit into a specific category, where the contributors and comments are shared for the joint interest of others. The site’s owner sells advertising on the basis of eyeball traffic causing a click. It’s a simple and enjoyable way to relish and argue the merits of bit buckles, tassels, and such.

    The discussion of ownership and copyright misses the point of the initial postulation, whether or not to allow a contributor of free content to change their position on whether said content should remain pegged to their identity.

    Dragging the legalese of who owns what into this is counter to your initial ask-should you allow the site to be edited at the request of the submitter? I vote yes, grace is good, refinement and improvement are a natural evolution, and everyone has written something they would like to retract and hide. We’re human, and prone to discovery and evolution.

    The archives are an asset to its owner, but have no monetary value to anyone else. They were offered as a contribution to a site with an interesting theme. They were donated to support the cause; drawing eyeballs that cause advertisers to place ads that fund the infrastructure, and hopefully put a little coin in an entrepreneur’s pocket.

    Grace is good, feedback is a gift. Please don’t turn this into a copyright discussion. Leave the decision in your heart that understands mistakes, growth, forgiveness, and the kindness and support the site has to offer.

    Grace is good.

  11. Have you considered that contributors may be less willing to provide future content (especially for free) if you are unwilling show some grace about a situation such as this.

  12. I noticed that there have been changes to the site. Is this the article? It seems there may be a pseudonym being used because author is someone I know. I don’t want to say who is he but there is a new editor note on it.

    • Reading the comments made me think of Shakespeare.

      “…sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

      “Company, villainous company, hath been the spoil of me.”

      • You are welcome to disagree with copyright law but not when you don’t understand it. It’s what would protect you if John published a book about his favorite Ivy Style comments and you were embarrassed because something you wrote made you look dumb.

  13. Ken Goodwin | February 1, 2024 at 9:06 pm |

    The end result is that we wonder what was deleted

Comments are closed.