|Entertainment and Sports Sites|
What are the rules?
What are the rules that you must play by when creating a site for fans of a sports team, tv show, movie star, rock band, etc?
If you are planning on building a site that has sourced articles, your own original content, a forum, etc about such an entertainment entity, do you need to ask permission to show logos, cd covers, movie posters? Do they take a dim view of you earning advertising fees from such a site? Or are you simply operating under freedom of the press like a newspaper or magazine, and are able to do anything you want?
If there are restrictions, do they lessen if the site becomes more generalized (a theoretical ex. -- instead of a site about the Beatles, you make it about British Rock instead, so that the remaining Beatles wouldn't be offended and/or want a cut of your earnings)?
Thank you for your thoughts.
there are a lot of fan sites out there and a lot of them are better than the origional site. Generaly the main site will be built by a web development company, whereas the fan sites are built by enthusiasts with a genuine passion for the topic and this can be clearly seen when visiting a lot of these sites.
However you do need to be very carefull when you do this sort of thing. As James R pointed out copyright is a very serious matter. Even when building a fan site it is importaint to respect copyright law and also trademark law. This could include logos or even terms.
If I was you I would contact the official site and explain what you want to do, you never know they may even offer some advice.
I run a fan site for a well established guitarist. My rules of thumb (based more on experience than legal knowledge) are this:
Album art is OK.
Press Kit photos are OK.
Other photos in print magazines or on the web I get permission for or I don't post them. The only exception is a magazine cover with all the print and logos included.
When referencing an article, always cite the sources, NEVER repost the entire thing or even more than a brief quote without specific permission from the author/publisher.
Song lyrics are off limits and guitar tab can get you in deep trouble, especially when a songbook already exists.
I have a forum, write my own articles, album reviews, concert reviews and take my own photos when I can. Original content is a MUST. Plus, it makes copyright law much easier to follow.
NOTE: Many artists don't allow photos during concerts. Check first before you get booted by security!
I work very closely with the artist, his publicist and his road manager to make sure things are on the up and up. I did not know any of these people when I started my site and it is not required. However over the years I have earned their respect, support, cooperation, trust and most importantly, friendship. For a fan site to be "endorsed" by the artist is a very good thing! My site is FAR more detailed than his simply because the purpose is different. Official sites are rarely an extensive repository of information especially for an artist with a 35 year career simply because the artist has to PAY someone to do all of that! If the artist has a record company, they might pay for the site and won't spend that kind of money. An independent artist won't HAVE that kind of money! My site simply evolved out of a passion to make the information available and to help promote someone whose work I respect.
Most artists won't mind commission programs or ad-supported sites provided the profits go toward keeping the site up. Many fan sites are on free web space with tasteless ads and all. Beyond that, I'd get permission. Personally, I always refer people looking for artist merchandise to the artist's official site so he gets the most profit from the sale, but when that isn't possible, I use a commission program to help with costs. It doesn't help much, but some.
In other words, if you aren't 100% sure, do your best to get permission. Every artist, record company, manager, publicist, etc. is different and I'm fortunate to run a site for someone who is very accessable. Before I had access, I looked for a good, clear source for copyright law with little success. I'm reading a book called What They'll Never Tell You About the Music Business by Peter Thall. A very good source for the legal side of the music biz.
one website that i designed/maintain is a band website. It has song lyrics, photo's, streaming audio. If I didnt have permission to use this stuff by the band I wouldn't use them. The site content is 100% my own writing. I never quote other peoples stuff I link to it. And never use pictures without permission, unless I took them.
Thank you for your replies.
Let me clarify a question of mine. As a theoretical example, I read in the NY Times online that Pres. Bush is going to raise taxes. What I hear from you (and see all the time) is that it is ok to quote a few lines from the article but that I cannot paste the entire article into my site, no matter if I list the source or not. Correct?
Is it ok, without permission, to write my own content about the subject and then in my relevant content provide a link to the NY Times story so my visitors can then read the whole article at the NY Times site? I assume I can do this but want to make sure.
Thank you again for your advice. You folks are great! I am green about the web but have 20 years in radio, TV and billboards if you ever need advice on advertising in those mediums -- just ask!
|Thank you for your replies. |
|Let me clarify a question of mine. As a theoretical example, I read in the NY Times online that Pres. Bush is going to raise taxes. What I hear from you (and see all the time) is that it is ok to quote a few lines from the article but that I cannot paste the entire article into my site, no matter if I list the source or not. Correct? |
Correct. Even if you do only quote, you still need the source listed. But even with all the correct source information, it is still against copyright law (and common courtesy) to reprint the entire article, or even portion of it, without the author's permission.
|Is it ok, without permission, to write my own content about the subject and then in my relevant content provide a link to the NY Times story so my visitors can then read the whole article at the NY Times site? I assume I can do this but want to make sure. |
Yes, it is totally fine to take a print source and, from that, paraphrase the information in the source in your own words and then link to the original article.
A few years back, I wrote an exclusive news article about my artist and "published" it on my site and, a few days later, in an email discussion list. Within a few days, I saw my article word for word in the news section of a major online music magazine without my permission. The only thing missing were any personal references (website, name, etc) that were originally in the article. In the time it took to remove that stuff, the "author" could've sent me an email asking for my permission and I would've gladly granted it. It was, after all, a very reputable online publication and, with a simple email, I'd have been extremely honored to be a part of it.