HomeWriting LifeArticles on WritingWhy I shut down my Patreon fundraiser


Why I shut down my Patreon fundraiser — 10 Comments

  1. I was just looking at this today and read that. Wondered bout it. Didn’t sign up. Then I read this and now am glad I didn’t sign up.

  2. I’d like to suggest that you may actually have misunderstood the purpose of this particular bit of legalese.

    This sort of clause is one of the most scary, and yet most frequently misunderstood, clauses in any online service that displays user content.

    It SOUNDS scary, but that’s because it’s written in confusing, obfuscating legalese. What it actually *means* is, “If you submit content you want us to display for you, we have the right to display it for you.”

    Literally EVERY SINGLE SERVICE that displays content you submit has something like this in its terms of service. Every blogging service, every social media, every ANYTHING that lets you upload something to their web site. And sometimes it seems like every other month someone discovers it and gets upset because they don’t understand it and it seems scary.

    Here’s an explainer of one such clause.


    • I accept that Patreon may not mean harm with its phrasing, and may not have offered it with any evil intent.

      The problem is that while services like Ko-Fi explicitly state that fact:

      Quoted from the Ko-Fi TOS:

      “Any content you upload to our website will be considered non-confidential and non-proprietary. You retain all of your ownership rights in your content but you grant us and other users of our site a limited licence to use, store and copy that content and to distribute and make it available to third parties. We may use this content to improve our site and our business without liability to you.”

      …Patreon goes the big step further in delineating all the many ways that it can use your (ITS) content for free forever.

      And though it says it isn’t going to, Patreon has specifically claimed the following UNLIMITED rights.

      “you grant us a royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display or prepare derivative works of your content”

      This isn’t a case of “seems scary.”

      This is a difference between “limited license to use, store, and copy” and “royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, reproduce, distribute, perform, publicly display, or prepare derivative works”.

      Which are not the same thing.

    • And a tiny extra note on this: Sun Tzu in The Art of War noted that what matters is not what the enemy might do… but what the enemy can.

      And while it sucks going through your life looking at every contract and asking “what CAN they do with that clause?”… taking that step when looking at your livelihood and rights a third party is claiming to it is not misspent time.

  3. I just opened a Patreon account a few months ago, and I’ve been debating how to use it, and this comes out.

    Not good – it’s getting harder and harder to find anything writing related that doesn’t have a gotcha clause of some kind.

    Where will you go when you leave Florida?

    I live in Kentucky, near Louisville, and except for the Allergy Issue in the Ohio Valley, it’s a lovely state.

    Best Wishes

    • So far, Ko-Fi.com looks clean. After investigating, I went in with a pay-for-the-year purchase — and I’ll give them a year to not turn into dicks before I relax a little. But the fact that the people benefitting from their service are the people PAYING for their service is a model much less likely to turn ugly.

      If you’re earning your money from the people you work for, you’re less likely to look at your customers as sheep to be sheared. Patreon is a sheep-shearing business because the fans, NOT THE CREATORS, are their revenue source. Ko-Fi is a business-to-business service, where the creators are their revenue source.

      With Ko-Fi, there is no buffering layer between the people for whom they provide the service and money coming in.

      Big. Damn. Difference.

      As to where we’ll live, I have two kids in two states several hundred miles apart–and neither of them particularly wants to live where they are. So I don’t know. I’ll make plans when doing so makes sense.

    • PayPal.me is still working. Sad about the rights grab with patreon. Just as I was about to start something there too… oh well.

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