Periodically we get requests from outside entities to re-run our stories and other content in some form or another.
These permission requests come mostly from local businesses, institutions or charities that want to reprint a story or photo about one of their employees in the company newsletter. We usually give permission, as long as they don’t alter the content and attribution is clear.
Lately, though, we’ve been getting a lot of requests for copyright waivers for content to be used in commercial enterprises. These requests usually come from an independent company that has been hired by the primary user to secure a copyright release. They often come from textbook publishers, documentary film makers or even television shows. The problem is these releases involve signing a contract, some of them rather lengthy.
It is important to read these contracts because language may be included that isn’t necessarily advantageous to the Standard-Examiner, even when those requesting the content are willing to pay for it.
We have seen language that allows the recipient to resell our content, to use it in any way they want for a period of time or to change it in any way they want.
However, I haven’t seen language quite like the agreement the Utah County Health Department was asked to sign recently with the Food Network.
The cable television network wanted to film health inspectors as part of a reality show. According to the Daily Herald in Provo, the agreement read in part:
“I also acknowledge that producers’ use of the material, my likeness, name and information could be embarrassing and could portray me in a false or negative light. Producer may edit, delete and dub the program (including the materials) as producer sees fit and may include, among other things, documentary-style or ‘behind-the-scenes,’ dramatic, humorous, embarrassing, humiliating and satirical elements. I understand that my appearance, depiction and portrayal in connection with the program, and my actions and the actions of others, may be disparaging, embarrassing or of an otherwise unfavorable nature.”
Needless to say, Utah County health officials decided not to sign.
HAVING A BALL: A print ad last week from Ogden Regional Medical Center was a little edgy for a couple of our readers.
The ad for the hospital’s monthly Healthy Conversations series targeted men over 50 with the title: “Low Testosterone — The Ball’s in Your Court.”
One caller, who thought the ad’s title was an unintended gaffe, said editors at the newspaper should have caught the error and informed the hospital so it could have been changed. I told her I thought the play on words was intentional, to which she responded, “I don’t believe that.”
Craig Bielik, the hospital’s communication director, who also happens to be a local stand-up comedian, assured me the phrasing was intended. In fact, the wording was the idea of the sponsoring doctor.
The ad advanced a free seminar put on by Dr. Hans Jenkins.
“He wanted to use a game metaphor and he has a great sense of humor,” Bielik said.
And how was the response to the ad?
“We had a lot of guys register. So it was hitting home,” Bielik said. “This ad has generated more talk than any of the others (monthly ads).”
Andy Howell is executive editor. He can be reached at 801-625-4210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.