American Idol and Legal Contracts Throughout the Universe
If you’re one of those shower-singers who annoys the hell out of his family, but secretly hopes he might just be the next Jason Mraz, like me, then you’ve probably been to the American Idol video auditions page at MySpace.
And although I haven’t worked up the courage (yet) to humiliate myself in front of thousands of people, I did read the painstakingly long terms and conditions—that is, until I came across a very strange item within the flood of legalese. It says that Fox, MySpace, affiliates, etc., etc. have right to use your video submission, likeness, and any information they gather about you “in perpetuity and throughout the universe.”
It’s kind of funny how overboard the lawyers went to seemingly drive home the point that they have full rights. But then the slightly paranoid, superstitious part of my mind, which I usually keep tucked far away, began to teasingly think, “what if there are aliens among us, creating business and contractual deals at the uppermost levels?” Could this clause be giving them the right to air your video and make fun of you all the way out in Gliese 581 c?
Well, if you’re following the same paranoid line of reasoning I am, and type the phrase, “in perpetuity throughout the universe,” into Google Search, some of the first results will through you for a loop. In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe was play, written by Eric Overmeyr in 1988. How weird is it that this legal clause uses the exact same wording?
The situation becomes even weirder, when you read the reviews: In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe is all about various conspiracy theories, including “intergalactic pyramid builders,” according to an off-Broadway review.
So I go back to Google and find the legal results. Evidently the term has been catching on over the last couple of years, among contract writers—and not because of secret extraterrestrial contracts and intergalactic viewers.
With the growing use of satellite technology, lawyers are starting to take into considering the fact that using the word “world” to signify universal rights may not cover media that is transmitted outside of Earth’s atmosphere, hence the “in perpetuity throughout the universe,” or more commonly used “throughout the universe in perpetuity.” And, while I’m sure the threat of outer-spacial intellectual ownership lawsuits is probably miniscule, the person who discovered this theoretical loophole and plugged it, nameless though he or she may be, deserves a medal for thinking outside the box (or the globe).
…or maybe that’s just what they want you to think.
Other Hubs by Carl S. Miller
- Lawyerese Goes Galactic as Contracts Try to Master the Universe - WSJ.com
Lawyerese that stretches beyond the Earth's atmosphere is rising as media companies tap into amateur talent and try to anticipate every revenue stream.
- Throughout the Universe - AdamsDrafting Blog Archive
Another evaluation of the term "throughout the universe in perpetuity," as it is increasingly used in legal documents.
- Review of "In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe" -- off-Broadway production
A local review of an off-Broadway production of the play, "In Perpetuity Throughout the Universe," written by Eric Overmeyr.
- American Idol Video Auditions on MySpace
Submit a video audition for season 10 of American Idol through your MySpace account.
- An Introduction To Basic Contract Law
Attorney and fellow HubPages writer, attorneyal, goes over legal contract basics.
- Choosing Audition Songs for American Idol
A HubPages guide to choosing American Idol audition songs, written by Kathryn Vercillo.