I've been running into a problem a lot lately. It's this phrase, or ones just like it:
"a perpetual, non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable license to exploit all copyright rights now in existence or that may arise in the future"
That comes from the Terms of Service of Medium, a shiny new content platform. Yesterday I used Medium to write a post on why writing for Medium is a bum deal. The translation: Medium is claiming the right to take what you submit and use it in any way they can dream of, forever and ever, without telling you and, more to the point, without paying you.
I don't know about you, but if I posted something on Medium and it happened to make them a million dollars... I'd be super mad if none of that ever trickled down to me. (It's a moot point right now in that Medium doesn't appear to have a business model at all, but I'm confident that won't last forever.)
Alas, Medium isn't alone in that kind of language. Another example: Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal is running a contest to find an author for a tie-in novel. In their rules, they say this:
Each entry will be the sole property of the Sponsors. By competing in the Contest and/or acceptinga prize, each entrant (including the prize winner) grants to Sponsors the right to edit, adapt, publish, copy, display, reproduce and otherwise use their entry in connection with this Contest and in anyother way, in any and all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, throughout the world,in perpetuity, including publication on www.darkcrystal.com.