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Exquisite Corpse 2.0
February 15, 2011 6:39 PM   Subscribe

Neovella lets you write collaborative stories with friends (or strangers) online. Via the Something Awful Forums
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn (32 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
IANAL, so could someone more savvy than I take a look and let me know what Section 9 of their Terms actually means?
9. Submissions. All suggestions, ideas, notes, concepts and other information you may send to us (collectively, "Submissions") shall be deemed and shall remain our sole property and shall not be subject to any obligation of confidence on our part. Without limiting the foregoing, we shall be deemed to own all known and hereafter existing rights of every kind and nature regarding the Submissions and shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the Submissions for any purpose, without compensation to the provider of the Submissions.
Because if that's saying what I think it's saying, no way.
posted by Appropriate Username at 7:31 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah. Cool idea, but hell no. What's with all the 'free spiffy tool = everything created with it is ours forever' things lately?
posted by LucretiusJones at 7:38 PM on February 15, 2011


No can do.
posted by Iridic at 7:42 PM on February 15, 2011


Yeah, neat idea, indefensible terms of service. Oh well.
posted by pts at 8:00 PM on February 15, 2011


"if your story breaks the top-ten on the rankings page (calculated daily) your short story will get published through Amazon Singles and you & your friends will get your share of the royalties! WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?????"
posted by rebent at 8:00 PM on February 15, 2011


These terms are absolute shit. "You'll get your share of the royalties", oh, but your share is zero. (IAAL)
posted by naju at 8:07 PM on February 15, 2011


There's always Ficly or Protagonize if you're into this sort of thing. Both sites are Creative Commons shops by default; Protagonize also has provisions for traditional copyright.
posted by Iridic at 8:24 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hi guys - I'm Henry Wang, a member of the Neovella team. We just launched the site yesterday, so we're still figuring out all the details.

Bottom line - we will be changing the TOS very soon. Our goal is to get the authors royalties for excellent work, not treat them like sweatshop workers. Please bear with us for the time being.
posted by hwang89 at 8:39 PM on February 15, 2011 [3 favorites]


Additional details for anyone interested: Once we have a competitive writer base, we want to publish the top works in a weekly or monthly collection on Amazon Singles and then re-distribute royalties back to the authors in proportion to their contributions. We will spend the next few days fixing bugs and modifying our terms of use to reflect what I just said.

We're not Facebook.
posted by hwang89 at 9:13 PM on February 15, 2011


Thanks for the clarification; I (for one) look forward to trying out what seems like a fun idea.
posted by pts at 9:14 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Er yeah, sorry I was so harsh! Thanks for explaining, I'm glad the TOU will be modified.
posted by naju at 9:20 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


TOS update for today:
- We removed "9. Submissions. All suggestions, ideas, notes, concepts and other information you may send to us (collectively, "Submissions") shall be deemed and shall remain our sole property and shall not be subject to any obligation of confidence on our part. Without limiting the foregoing, we shall be deemed to own all known and hereafter existing rights of every kind and nature regarding the Submissions and shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the Submissions for any purpose, without compensation to the provider of the Submissions."
- #2 is modified to be more ownership-friendly

Located here: http://neovella.com/termsofuse.html
(It might not update immediately on the neovella landing page for some users, so I linked directly to the subpage)
posted by hwang89 at 9:50 PM on February 15, 2011


Can you really modify TOS that easily without user consent/knowledge? I'm not complaining about the change, but lets say this process went in reverse. Like, after collecting a lot of cool content, you suddenly insert clause 9 again and poof, all the content are belong to you?
posted by Taft at 10:10 PM on February 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm, you got me there. We're totally new to the whole thing, but that's not a valid excuse when dealing with legal issues. We highlighted the changes in the main page and also put them on our blog and twitter feed - that'll be the standard for the future too.

Any suggestions on how to build legitimacy? We kind of shot ourselves in the foot by updating it so quickly...
posted by hwang89 at 11:22 PM on February 15, 2011


I could see legitimately using this as a writing tool, except no way do I want my drafts this public and also owned by someone else.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:35 PM on February 15, 2011


We're not Facebook.
Speaking of which, why do you ask to access my Facebook Chat when I try to connect my Facebook account with Neovella?
posted by EmGeeJay at 12:01 AM on February 16, 2011


Well, you can make your works private and invitation only.... A friend and I are going to tinker on a story together...

Oh, we need a third coauthor to do anything.
posted by Samizdata at 12:03 AM on February 16, 2011


Just out of curiosity, why were the original terms like that in the first place? Was it just copied boilerplate?
posted by kyrademon at 1:49 AM on February 16, 2011


Cool. Anyone want to start a mefi novel?
posted by NoraReed at 1:54 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


Back in the early stages of development, we figured we'd plug Facebook chat in for chatroom functionality. Then we realized people detest Facebook, which means not every user could chat. So now there's a non-Facebook login. We published some updates a few moments ago, so the Facebook chat should be gone.

Samizdata, did you try refreshing the page? That seemed to work for other users that experienced the same issue.
posted by hwang89 at 2:09 AM on February 16, 2011


Sweet, FLJ can earn some money and escape from his northern shithole.
posted by fullerine at 2:33 AM on February 16, 2011


$5 for a whole lot of user testing and audience insight. Well spent, Mr. Wang!
posted by davemee at 3:30 AM on February 16, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was better than anything I could have found on Fiverr.
posted by hwang89 at 3:35 AM on February 16, 2011


It's certainly an interesting idea, and collaborative storytelling - especially in this bite-size form - is fun to do.

I'm much less convinced that people will produce anything that's worth paying for, and I say this having done similar stuff for years with very good authors; normally you can make some very silly, very funny short stories, but they tend to sprawl all over the place. I'd rather use something like Google Docs if I was being serious.

Having said that, it looks like it'd be a very fun game for people to learn writing with - I could see it going down well in creative writing classes.
posted by adrianhon at 3:43 AM on February 16, 2011


I just went to Neovella for the first time and looked at the ToS.

Looks like the problematic Article 9 is still there.

May I suggest a term of the sort where the user retains the copyright on their work, but licenses it to Neovella for the purposes of promotion and so forth?
posted by LogicalDash at 4:42 AM on February 16, 2011


Now I've checked http://neovella.com/termsofuse.html

Article 9 is still there.
posted by LogicalDash at 4:43 AM on February 16, 2011


Where is my eleven foot pole?
posted by Splunge at 4:53 AM on February 16, 2011


Founder of Neovella here, just made this account to address this. We recently had to roll back some changes to our writer application in order to get rid of a show-stopping bug. As it turns out, the rollback grabbed the TOS with it. The new TOS is now online, just as it should have been as of 9pm PST 7/15/11. I'll make sure to keep a paperweight on it next time. Thank you for bringing any of this to our attention. The facebook permissions issue should now be resolved as well--if it's not, just tell me otherwise!
posted by msied at 5:22 AM on February 16, 2011


*checks*

Yeah, now Article 9 is about third-party products and services. This is acceptable to me.
posted by LogicalDash at 5:28 AM on February 16, 2011


Great idea, unlikely you'll get truly great stories but it could be a very popular way to learn to write good
posted by miyabo at 9:44 PM on February 16, 2011


For all the doubters out there: http://neovella.com/Reader.aspx?ID=505

It all seems to come together when the authors actually use the chat to collude on the plot.
posted by msied at 12:06 AM on February 17, 2011


Looks like ToS is updated and looks significantly better now.


2. Ownership. Neovella does not claim ownership of any content created. However, users grant Neovella the permission to distribute, reproduce, modify, publicly display, and publish any content created through the service.

3. Licenses. All content created is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 3.0 License to protect against third parties. For commercial publishing purposes, the user grants Neovella the right to edit content for typographical errors only.

posted by Han Tzu at 4:35 AM on February 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


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