On Storybird, writers own the stories they write, artist own their images, and we retain a non-commercial license to distribute the combined stories + art.
This is the basic recipe for all user-generated content (UGC) sites: you own your stuff and we have the right to display and transmit your stuff (because if we didn't, no one could actually see your stuff.)
That simple concept can seem more complicated when you read it in the legal jargon of our Terms of Service.
Specifically, Section 3 contains this passage:
In order for us to make the User Content you contribute available on the Site for these purposes, and to operate, market and promote the Service, we need the right to make use of such User Content in accordance with and subject to this Agreement.
Therefore, by contributing User Content to the Site or creating it on the Site you automatically grant to us an irrevocable and perpetual (except as set forth in this Agreement), non-exclusive, transferable, fully-paid, royalty-free (except as expressly set forth in this Agreement), worldwide license, by ourselves or with others, to use, copy, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, print, publish, republish, excerpt (in whole or in part), reformat, translate, modify, revise and incorporate into other works, that User Content and any works derived from that User Content, in any form of media or expression, in the manner in which the Service from time to time permits User Content to be used, and to license or permit others to do so.
Complicated, right? Doesn't even sound like the basic recipe we said at the top of this post. So let's decode it!
First, our ToS do not give us ownership of any user-generated content. We get a license from the user to use their content solely in the operation of the site, and to allow our other users to do the same. The license permits us to run the platform as promised to our members.
We need this license because, for instance, to simply “transmit” a story or artwork via the internet requires us to be granted a license from the creator to do so. Without that license we literally could not display a user story - even to that same user. That means teachers wouldn’t be allowed to view their student’s stories, readers couldn’t see an author’s chapter book, or creators couldn’t make poems with an artist’s images.
The license is “perpetual and irrevocable” so long as our members want it to be. Notice in section 3.4 that the license terminates upon ending your relationship with Storybird.
Also notice the term “non-exclusive.” That means you can share your stories on any other platform. Same with artists, all of whom share or sell their art on various commercial and non-commercial sites. And the license is “transferable” so that if we sell our company the buyer can continue to operate it as before. “Fully-paid and royalty-free” means that, except as described in the ToS, we do not pay users when they use our service (which, as you know, is free).
The rest of that section? The part about “…worldwide license, by ourselves or with others, to use, copy, distribute, publicly perform, publicly display, print, publish, republish, excerpt (in whole or in part), reformat, translate, modify, revise and incorporate into other works”? That’s part of the same concept described above. It’s just the necessary legal jargon that allows us to actually display the works from users on the platform to other people on the internet, through the various servers, interfaces, and devices that are used to consume internet content.
So, that's it! Writers own their stories, artists own their images, and we use a license in order to operate the platform and display your works.
If you have any further questions about copyright, licenses, our Terms of Service, etc. — contact our support team. We're happy to help.