This sounds interesting: an online marketplace that attempts to match publishers and writers, with accepted pieces earning authors a “bounty” of between $20 and $100.

But the devil is in the details and here’s the fine print from Helium:

Helium does not claim ownership of the content you publish on the Site. After publishing content on the Site, you (or a third party who permitted you to publish their content on the Site) continue to retain all ownership to the content, subject to the license terms described herein, and you continue to have the right to use the content in any way you choose. In exchange for your services and granting Helium a license to use your content, Helium provides you with earnings and recognition as define herein.

So far, so good. But there’s the licence you grant to Helium (my emphasis added):

By submitting your content to Helium, you grant Helium (and any Helium successors-in-interest, subsidiaries, or parent companies), a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, transferable, non-exclusive, sub-licensable right and license to, in whole or in part, with or without attribution to you, use, copy, modify, edit, adapt, publish, publicly display/perform, translate, display, create derivative works from and/or license (or sell with your authorization) and/or distribute content posted to the Site. Helium’s rights to content you submit include the right to make editorial revisions to your content; to use in any way the materials you submit on the Helium website or in other Helium media, whether now or hereafter created; to use for our own internal business purposes; and/or to reproduce and distribute the materials for Helium’s marketing and publicity purposes.

The internet is a wonderful for writers hoping to get noticed, but writers, new or inexperienced, really need to read and understand the small print. The idea of giving anyone the perpetual right to your stuff, to put to basically whatever use they want, makes me shiver.

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