During purplepedia.com's infancy, the idea of copyright being retained by our members for each of their articles seemed to be a given. However, subsequent legal and business discussions later, has led us to believe, this may not be the right way to proceed.
In fact, letting members retain copyright could end up being detrimental to purplepedia.com and lead to a whole host of legal problems.
One of the questions which cropped up, was what happens if a member decides not to continue? Maybe they've supplied information for a Keyword Article and it doesn't end up being as popular as they'd expected. So they decide not to continue and don't update their associated Keyword Article?
If the member retains copyright, purplepedia can't do much with the Keyword Article without their permission. This creates problems such as what happens if they then want money (maybe excessive amounts) for us or other members to make changes? Or money for purplepedia.com to take ownership of content they originally supplied?
Situations such as this, create a legal can of worms, where purplepedia.com could end up spending a fortune on sorting out the legalities, whilst it's growth as an information source would ultimately suffer.
A situation could also arise where members could withdraw the content they supplied, if they had copyright over it. purplepedia.com then would end up losing this information unless they agreed to the demands of the member to keep the content in place. In essence purplepedia.com could end up being held to ransom to only being able to keep content if a fee was paid.
By purplepedia.com retaining copyright, information can continue being available irrespective of any dispute with a member.
In our many legal discussions, we were advised to come up with a plan, on how to deal with members who could not continue. That is, they may have died or had health issues, which forced them to discontinue being a member.
We had to include specific conditions in our membership agreements, on how to deal with any revenues generated being distributed. That is, how our partners would need to be informed and what we had to do.
In such circumstances, we would not want to end up having financial and copyright discussions with relatives of someone who had passed away or had other serious issues. The last thing, these people would want to do is get, involved in deep legal discussions with us or our representatives.
To make the approval process quicker, it's sometimes easier for us to amend articles. Instead of 'to-ing and fro-ing' between ourselves and members.
To standardise on the information displayed, purplepedia.com may need to edit information supplied to us by members. purplepedia.com may also need to update information on members pages, especially if the member themselves are not doing so. Not everyone will be geared up to play ball.
In such circumstances, by holding the copyright over the information supplied by members, we can proceed without having to obtain permission from the member. Otherwise, we would have to contact the member and wait for them to give us permission. This could impact the time it takes to make changes and therefore the usefulness of the information.
Over time, the changes made by us could drastically alter the content originally supplied by the member. If members retained the copyright, we would end up doing all the work with little reward for our efforts. This simply can not be be sustained in any business model.
To remain financially viable and function as a quality information resource requires us to retain the copyright to all information submitted to us by members.