Limited Speaker Release Agreement FAQ

The purpose of this page is to help fully explain the legal language of the Limited Speaker Release Agreement that all presenters at the convention are required to complete. If you have any questions about the explanations below, please don’t hesitate to contact us.   No presenter or performer should sign a document they don’t understand or are not comfortable with, so don’t be afraid to let us know if you have concerns!

To provide some background, it may be helpful to understand why we ask our presenters and performers to sign a Limited Presenter Release Agreement in the first place, and for those who have not signed agreements like this before, to explain in “plain English” what some of those legal phrases mean.  This FAQ will hopefully answer those questions and more!

Why are you asking me to sign a Limited Presenter Release Agreement?

The Second Life Community Convention 2011 (SLCC) is organized and managed by AvaCon, Inc., a nonprofit organization made up of long time Second Life residents and volunteers of past SLCCs.  AvaCon is the actual legal entity responsible for organizing and managing the convention, and in order to provide certain services for the convention, like printing and publishing the convention program, or streaming sessions into Second Life for our virtual audience, we need the legal permission of each presenter before we perform these functions.

The “Limited Presenter Release Agreement” is the legal document that records our mutual agreement and understanding about what you’re giving us permission to do.  It protects both parties by ensuring that we do have your permission, but that we can only use your information for the purposes you intended.  “Limited” in the title of the document means that you’re not giving us blanket permission to do anything we want with your content, rather, we are limited to using the material only in the way specified in the agreement, and only for non-commercial purposes.  As you will see in the agreement, we intend to release anything created by the convention to the Second Life community and the public through a Creative Commons license.

Am I giving up my Intellectual Property rights by signing this Limited Presenter Release Agreement?

Absolutely not!  You completely own your Intellectual Property and nothing in this agreement limits what you can do with your own content.  You are merely giving us permission to use the content that you still own in certain limited ways.

What if I am presenting or performing content that I don’t own?

That’s fine, so long as you are authorized to present or perform the content in your session, and that you are authorized to give us permissions to do the things we’ve asked your permission to do!  That is to say, we are asking you to certify that you either own all of the content in your presentation or performance OR that you are authorized to use the content, and if so, that you are also authorized to give us the permissions we’re requesting.  If you do not have authorization or permission to use the content in your presentation – you shouldn’t perform or present it!

Ok, so what does all that legal mumbo jumbo really mean?

Let’s break it down line by line, so we’re both sure we’re clear on what the language means.

“For consideration which I acknowledge, I hereby grant to AVACON, INC. (“AvaCon”) and AvaCon’s assigns, licensees and successors the following royalty-free rights throughout the world and in perpetuity:”

Whoah, that sounds kind of scary!  It does sound kind of scary at first, but it’s not so bad as it may sound.  First, the “consideration” you are acknowledging is that we are allowing you present or perform at the convention as a speaker, panelist, presenter, or performer.   In exchange for that privilege, you are granting to us (AvaCon), the following rights which are in the next sections.  “Royalty-free” means you are not asking us to pay you every time someone, say, watches a stream of the convention, and you’re giving us permission to broadcast the stream “throughout the world” which means to viewers no matter where they are geographically, and for as long as we are able to host the streams, which translates into legal speak as “in perpetuity”.

“A.    The right to use my name, voice, photograph, likeness and biographical information in all forms and media including composite or modified representations for the purposes of promoting, advertising, and archiving the Second Life Community Convention.”

When you submitted your proposal to us, you provided us with your name, photograph, a brief biography, and other information as part of your proposal submission.  This section of the agreement is to now ask your permission to actually publish that information in our promotional materials, such as on our website, in the printed program, and in other materials we produce for the convention. In the event that we need to, say, resize your photo, or edit your bio a bit to fit the allotted space, you’re saying that’s ok for us to do.

“B.  To photograph, audio, or video record my presentation at the Second Life Community Convention 2011, including all materials prepared or provided by me (collectively, the Program), for the purposes of keeping good records, to promote and publicize future conventions, and to make archives available where possible, with the understanding that all products of such activity will be released to the community and the public under the Creative Commons By Attribution Share Alike Non Commercial license. (CC by-sa-nc US 3.0).”

We also want to be able to photograph you during your presentation, and make audio or video recordings of your presentation, so that we have a record of what happened, so that we can help promote future conventions by showing what terrific presentations we’ve had in the past, and so we can make those photos and audio/videos available as an archive for those who miss a particular session or who are unable to attend SLCC.  If we create these things, however, we will never sell them for a profit and will only release such items under the Creative Commons license specified so it benefits the Second Life community and the public.  In this section you’re giving us permission to actually make the recordings or take your picture for these purposes.

“C.     To reproduce for webcasting, broadcasting, and live audio or video streaming, I hereby assign AvaCon the permission to publish, broadcast, transmit, or otherwise exhibit all or any part of my presentation, to make, and distribute digital recordings for the purposes of  keeping good records, to promote and publicize future conventions, and to make archives available where possible, with the understanding that all products of such activity will be released to the community and the public under the Creative Commons By Attribution Share Alike Non Commercial license. (CC by-sa-nc US 3.0).”

In addition to keeping good records, promoting future conventions, and making archives available for those who can’t attend SLCC, we also want to “live” stream or webcast the sessions to our virtual attendees.  In this section you’re giving us permission to use the pictures or recordings we made (with your permission from Section B!) and actually do the live broadcasting, or publishing, or distributing the digital streams, etc.   So first, you give us permission to make or take the pictures or recordings, and in this section you’re giving us permission to actually use them – again with the limitation that anything we create will never be sold for a profit and we will only release such items under the Creative Commons license for the benefit of the Second Life community and the public.

“D.     The right to engage an authorized agent or provider for the purposes of producing archival materials and distributing same under the direction and guidance of AvaCon, with the understanding that all products of such activity will be released to the community and the public under the Creative Commons By Attribution Share Alike Non Commercial license. (CC by-sa-nc US 3.0).  Under no circumstances will AvaCon profit from the sale of any such items, and shall only pass on the costs associated with the production or distribution of physical items such as DVDs, CD-ROMs, or print publications to those who wish to purchase them.”

We’ve asked your permission to take photographs or make recordings (Section B), and to publish or broadcast or distribute those things (Section C), and in this section we’re also asking your permission to hire someone else to help us if we need assistance doing that.  For example, this section would apply if we hired a company to help us stream, host, edit or compile the videos for an archive stream.  We are also clarifying again that in no case will anything be created for profit, but that if there are production or distribution costs for physical items, that those costs can be passed on to whoever wants to purchase them.

That’s the end of the things you are giving us the rights to do.

The last line of this section reads:

“I waive the right to inspect or approve versions of my name, image, voice, likeness, photograph, biographical information, and Program or the written copy that may be used in connection with same in the exercise of the rights granted above.”

What this line means is we’re asking you to waive the right to approve how your name, picture, bio, etc. appears in the printed program, website, and other materials we produce.  The purpose for this is simply logistical – we are working on a very tight time frame to get the program and schedule printed, and it would be practically impossible to go back and forth with every presenter every time an edit or change was made to the program draft or website.  By agreeing to waive your right to approve each change, you are trusting us to use good judgment when we design the program or website – and we hope to live up to that trust!

OK, we’re through the first section of the document!  The last section is pretty simple.

“I hereby release and discharge AvaCon and AvaCon’s officers, employees, agents, assigns, licensees and successors from any and all claims, demands, and causes of action that may arise by reason of its exercise of the rights herein including, without limitation, any claims of defamation, invasion of privacy, or infringement of moral rights, rights of publicity or copyright.”

This section just means that you won’t pursue legal action against us for doing the things you said we could do in the sections above, and that by doing those things, you won’t claim we’re communicating false or negative information about you, invading your privacy, infringing on your rights as a creator, etc.

“I warrant that I am either the sole owner of all rights in the Program, or that I am authorized to use or present all parts of the Program, and that it does not infringe the copyright or other property rights of any third party, that it does not contain any defamatory material or any factual inaccuracies except that which is stated as a matter of opinion, and that I have full power to convey the rights granted herein. Should my presentation contain content that is the property right of others, I will inform AvaCon as to that content so that it may either be removed or proper copyright may be posted.”

In this section, you are promising to us that you either own the content you present, or you are authorized to use or present your content.  You’re also promising that your program doesn’t infringe on someone else’s copyright or property rights, that it isn’t slanderous or defaming anyone else, that it is factual as far as you know, and that you have the right to give us the permissions you’re granting.  You’re also agreeing that you will tell us if there’s something in your presentation that you do NOT have the right to give permission for so that we can remove it or make sure that proper copyright notice is posted.

“The grant contained herein does not limit the right of Speaker to make any other use of his or her intellectual property in any other way not inconsistent with the grant contained herein.”

This line just says that though you are giving us these permissions, you are in no way giving up the right to your content or agreeing to limit how you can use your content – it’s yours!

“AvaCon is not obligated to utilize any of the rights granted in this Agreement.”

This line says that we are not obligated to use the permissions you’ve given us.  We want to make sure you understand that asking your permission to do something is not the same thing as guaranteeing or promising we will do something.  For example, we hope to stream your session if you give us permission to do so, but we can’t promise or guarantee that will happen, since there may be technical difficulties or other issues.  So, we’re asking your permission, but we’re not promising we will.

“I have read and understood this agreement and I am over the age of 18. This Agreement expresses the complete understanding of the parties.”

The last line is pretty clear, it just says you’ve read the agreement and understand what it means, that you are of legal age to sign it, and that this is the whole agreement.

The end!

Are any of these sections optional?

We are sensitive to the fact that this has been a matter of some confusion in past years, but we hope we’ve done a good job of addressing the concerns and wishes of the community and come up with an agreement that truly protects both parties, while still allowing us to provide our attendees, real and virtual, with access to all of the terrific sessions and performances that take place at the Second Life Community Convention.

We’ve also allowed for the fact that some presenters or performers may feel comfortable with certain sections of the agreement, but not others.  For this reason, you may “opt-out” of having your session or performance streamed or rebroadcast by simply not checking the boxes for Section C and Section D on the electronic agreement form.

When is the form due?

Please visit the electronic Limited Presenter Release Form and complete the agreement no later than July 25, 2011.

What do I do if I still have questions or concerns?

If you still have questions or concerns about the agreement, please let us know by contacting us, and we will be sure to get in touch with you to discuss your concerns.

Thank you again for helping make the Second Life Community Convention 2011 a terrific success, and we look forward to seeing you in Oakland!

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