No, really we mean it…
I know that Walt and others who follow this blog are addicted to
crappy TV American-Idol-type vote-and-release â€œvarietyâ€ shows, well, I came across this blog posting on The Wall Street Journalâ€™s Law Blog page, and I thought that it was not only interesting, but fairly ridiculous as well. According to the post, NBCâ€™s Americaâ€™s Got Talent TV show has very specific wording in the release papers the contestants are asked to sign. The contract reads, that their performance could be â€œedited, in all media, throughout the universe, in perpetuity.â€
Like I and the WSJ you may rightly ask, â€œThroughout the universe?â€ Is that really necessary?
Apparently, the lawyers think so (Hey we call our beauty pageants Miss Universe, so why shouldn’t se sign contracts that ripple throughout all media everywhere in the known (and probably) unknown universe. I just canâ€™t wait until someone discovers the multiverse, and copyrights stuff in not only alternate dimensions, but backwards into the past as well â€” what? you are going to allow for FTL travel, alternate worlds and leave out time travlel? Not very imaginative are you?)
Well according to the article:
Entertainment outlets seem to think so. Searcey writes experts in contract drafting (lucky souls that they are) say lawyers are trying to ensure that with the proliferation of new outlets â€” including mobile-phone screens, Twitter, online video sites and the like â€” they cover all possible venues from which their clients can derive income, even those in outer space. (FremantleMedia, one of the producers of NBCâ€™s â€œAmericaâ€™s Got Talent,â€ declined to comment on its contracts.)
Searcey writes that the space and time continuum has extended to other realms outside the arts, including pickles. A 189-word sentence in a September agreement between Denver-based Spicy Pickle Franchising Inc. and investment bank Midtown Partners & Co. â€” which has helped raise capital for the sandwich and pickle shops dotted across the region â€” unconditionally releases Spicy Pickle from all claims â€œfrom the beginning of timeâ€ until the date of the agreement. â€œWeâ€™re trying to figure out how to cover every possible base as quickly as possible,â€ says Marc Geman, chief executive officer of Spicy Pickle. â€œWhen you start at the beginning of time, that is pretty clear.â€
Needless to say, there are still some legal experts who rail against such silliness in contract language as being both imprecise and unnecessary.
Ken Adams, a Garden City, N.Y., attorney and lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Law School who advocates for clarity in contract language, says references to outer space and the end time are silly.
To me it sounds like a 10-year-old calling â€œDibs for all timesâ€ on the recliner chair, and expect it to hold.
But then, I drink a lot.