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Does Warner Bros. Have Exclusive Movie Rights to a Story Posted on Reddit?

October 20, 2011

In a great post over at Hollywood Reporter, Eriq Gardner looks at the Reddit terms of use and tries to come up with an answer.

Now comes the amazing tale of James Erwin, a largely unknown author who successfully got Warner Bros. to buy movie rights to his story about what would happen if U.S. Marines traveled back in time to fight the Roman Empire. Erwin accomplished this by posting a series of stories entitled “Rome, Sweet Rome” on, an online community that allows users to post links and have discussions with each other.

Warner Bros. aggressively snapped up rights to this story upon seeing it, but does the studio really hold exclusive rights to adapt a film adaptation?

The Reddit terms include a non-exclusive license to use content posted to their servers. I’ve written about the terms of iReport and instagram in the past, and Facebook’s terms contain a similar license.

This creates a difficult choice: share your content, grant a license, and [maybe] get discovered OR don’t share your content, retain all rights, and [probably] never get discovered…

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2012 10:13 pm

    Once Warner Brothers butchers his script and charges us all $20 for the 3D Summer must-see, and makes the movie a total flop, maybe he wishes he didnt share the content.


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