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By Reading This Post You Give Up All Rights To manage Your Own Content

I’ve been doing this blogging thing for a while now, at least long enough to see some evolution in how brands interact with bloggers. While I’m still annoyed on an hourly basis by something that lands in my inbox, things are definitely improving in terms of the kinds of pitches I get – many brands are finally accepting the fact that in many cases, working with influential bloggers who can form complete sentences involves offering them more than coupons and high-res images.

I’m also frequently given disclosure language to use when I’m hired by a brand, as well as guidelines for working with the brand, and I always welcome it. The more disclosure the better, and the more you let me know about the message you’re trying to get out there, the easier my job is.

Today though, I received an email from a big company that has me shaking my head. It was a pretty standard invitation to an event, but it was followed by more rules and regulations than I’ve seen with most paying contracts. Most of it was pretty obvious – don’t lie, don’t act on behalf of the company, make sure you disclose your relationship with the company etc. It was the last one, though, that actually made me laugh out loud (and it bears repeating, this was for an invitation to an event, not for a sponsored post or some other kind of job):

9. We Reserve The Right To Ask You To Remove Content

By Blogging at the direct request of [company], or by accepting any incentive from [company] to blog, you agree that you will immediately remove any content on your Blog relating to [company], its products or its services, those of its competitors or those associated with [company], that [company] notifies you that it finds objectionable.  Even if we do not notify you, we expect that you will promptly remove any content for which you receive a legitimate complaint or which you later become aware may be in violation of the law or otherwise violate third party rights.

I know that companies have to cover their asses, but this just goes beyond what I think is reasonable. It makes me want to have nothing to do with that company (a company I love, by the way, and have written about in the past). They are asking me to take time out of my day to come to an event promoting their product, and then taking more time to write about it, and yet want me to agree to manage my content on their terms. That’s something I’m happy to talk about when money is changing hands and I’m hired by them to promote a product. But this? No way.

Incidentally, the email also included the standard language about content being intended only for me, and then I went and copied and pasted and posted some of it. Whoops! See, if you want me to keep something confidential, you need to get me to agree to that before you tell me what it is. Just a pet peeve of mine.

Am I overreacting? Probably. I admit that freely, to save you the trouble of pointing it out. And I also know that a lot of this stuff is just seen as a formality – it will never be put into practice. But I think many of us who blog for income were drawn to this so that we could have control over our own little worlds, and I run mine on my own terms. If you want to have some sort of control over what I write, you have to give something up as well – and it will probably involve a dollar sign. 

Originally posted on Behind the Screen. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.

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One Response to “By Reading This Post You Give Up All Rights To manage Your Own Content”

  1. Cara Robinson on October 24th, 2012 11:00 am

    Good for you for actually reading all the fine print before you agree to something.