Mar 9, 2014

A Simple Solution for #AmtrakResidency

Protest sprang up around Amtrak's new residency program this weekend, which grabs for a sweet bundle of rights in the Dread Term #6.
6.   Grant of Rights: In submitting an Application, Applicant hereby grants Sponsor the absolute, worldwide, and irrevocable right to use, modify, publish, publicly display, distribute, and copy Applicant’s Application, in whole or in part, for any purpose, including, but not limited to, advertising and marketing, and to sublicense such rights to any third parties. 
Road Remedies explored the nuances of all this – and got an attorney's take – in the post Marriage Vows Don't Always Last Forever. But #AmtrakResidency's Rights To Your Work Would, which rippled across social networks and brought more than 6,000 readers to this site in one day (not the norm, by miles).

Rumors are flying on Twitter that Amtrak and the program's inventor Alexander Chee are reconsidering the situation. Great news! I hope they'll look to lighter-handed programs for inspiration, like the new National Geographic–Fulbright. This nine-month fellowship asks winners – not all applicants – for blog posts and the right of first refusal on other works created in the field. A solution like this would allow hopefuls to put their best material forward without fearing they'd lose control of it. And the only people donating content with Amtrak would be those benefiting directly from the rides.

Amtrak, you're so close to being a true patron of the arts here. Just shift the signal a little and ease her into the station!

Romance of the rails: despite copyright concerns, enough authors applied to Amtrak's new residency program that its server ran out of space on Sunday. Here a train races along the Columbia Gorge in Washington State. Image copyright

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