Those YOOTOON Submission Requirements in Detail

So I was all set to write a post on the YOOTOON channel in general but Amid Amidi took care of that for me so instead, let’s take a closer look at those submission requirements shall we?

From the Tumblr submission page:

    1. Have fun! We want to see your style shine through your video.
    2. Make sure your video is set to UNLISTED on YouTube. Your video must be brand spanking new, not one you’ve previously uploaded.
    3. Videos should be 10 seconds to 2 minutes long.
    4. Only use licensed music or music that you’ve created. You can find free music online! If you use licensed music, we will need a copy of that license agreement.
    5. Please keep your video kid friendly to be eligible for submission. Get creative, but no nudity, swearing, bad stuff, you get the picture.
    6. Only submit your own original videos. If accepted, this video will be posted on the YOOTOON channel EXCLUSIVELY and CAN NOT be live on the internet ANYWHERE else, including your own Youtube channel.
    7. You must be over 13. If you are not over 13, please have your parent or guardian submit the video for you or have them contact us at: joinyootoon@gmail.com

Let’s break these down one by one:

1. Have fun! We want to see your style shine through your video.

Okie dokie, seems fair enough.

2. Make sure your video is set to UNLISTED on YouTube. Your video must be brand spanking new, not one you’ve previously uploaded.

So the video must not have been shown before. That’s OK too. A lot of few film festivals generally require that your film not be available online in order to be eligible to enter. In other words, it’s not a deal-breaker.

3. Videos should be 10 seconds to 2 minutes long.

Again, a straight-forward request.

4. Only use licensed music or music that you’ve created. You can find free music online! If you use licensed music, we will need a copy of that license agreement.

This is pretty much an indemnity clause. As you may well know, record companies love crawling YT looking for their unlicensed use of their content. Besides a quick DCMA takedown to YT, they also love to send legal nastygrams, sometimes extorting money in exchange for not suing you. With this, YOOTOON is basically saying that they won’t even consider a video without the proper licensing in place becaues of the potential legal pratfalls. Again, this is fairly standard.

5. Please keep your video kid friendly to be eligible for submission. Get creative, but no nudity, swearing, bad stuff, you get the picture.

OK, we get it; no boobies and F words.

6. Only submit your own original videos. If accepted, this video will be posted on the YOOTOON channel EXCLUSIVELY and CAN NOT be live on the internet ANYWHERE else, including your own Youtube channel.

OK, so this basically reiterates what was said above in addition to stating that the video can’t have been hosted anywhere else either.

7. You must be over 13. If you are not over 13, please have your parent or guardian submit the video for you or have them contact us at: joinyootoon@gmail.com

Fair enough.

Now, this is where it gets interesting because below those requirements, is another statement:

YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit. We want your idea to succeed! If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos. If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series! Imagine, you could be making an online series with Butch Hartman!

Now IANAL (I am not a lawyer) but this is most definitely an ill-drafted legal agreement if ever I’ve seen one. Let’s break this one down too:

YOO retain all rights to your animated creation, we just own the particular video you submit.

Any lawyer worth his salt could find fault with this. Who is “YOO”, he is not “you” because legal documents love specifc language. “YOO” is not specific, and could even be construed as being short for “YOOTOON”, thus making this clause a bait-n-switch kind of deal.

If it attracts an audience under the YooToon banner, we will provide the funding deemed necessary by YooToon to make more videos.

In other words, if the video is good, we’ll fund the promotion of it to an extent that we think is OK. Not sure why this is in the agreement, YT has the same basic thing in their agreement because that’s how YT makes money too! Surely no reason to call it out specifically for a channel, right?

If the idea REALLY takes off and goes viral, YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator to make the video into an online series!

Let’s isolate the key words here:

YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator

What is a “best effort deal”? Well, what that means in the context of YOOTOON is that they will make you an offer with the best intentions of hoping you’ll accept it. The gist is that “best intentions” can translate into “we hope you accept this offer, but if not, then we tried really hard to make it so that you would, and now that you don’t like it, we’re not going to offer you a different one”. In other words, we’ve fulfilled our side, you can take it or leave it.

That’s an awful lot of trust right there, because chances are, the agreement will be skewed in YOOTOON’s favour and there is little you can do about it.

Some of the particulars that aren’t described or mentioned include copyright. You can’t sign away your copyright unless the agreement specifically states so. I therefore find it hard to believe that the above agreement, where YOOTOON claims to own your video, would stand up very well (if at all) in court.

Secondly, it’s interesting to note about this channel is that it’s based on YouTube but accepts submissions through Tumblr. Yup, I haven’t quite figured that one out either because presumably, submitter’s videos will be on YT too. This adds an extra murky aspect to the whole scenario. Which license supersedes the others? YouTube because that’s where the videos are hosted? Tumblr because that’s where they were submitted? Or YOOTOON, because they are the channel’s owners?

It’s all a bit too much for a Tuesday morning before the first cup of coffee. So grab a cup and share your thoughts in the comments below.

And don’t forget:

Let’s be honest, this makes me think that Butch is siumply the frontman for the operation.

  • SpongeBorg

    About a million years ago (ok, it was really 12) I worked for a mega media company during the dotcom bubble. They had a similar project to try and get web cartoons made that would eventually spin off real TV shows and make everybody gobs of money. Didn’t happen. Looks like another bunch of executives trying to find the next big thing without wanting to pay anything for it.

  • Amid

    Good article, Charles. A couple points:

    “YooToon will strike a best effort deal with the creator” is pure bunk from a legal standpoint. Typically, such a clause would say something like, “The parties will negotiate in good faith.” While still vague, the term ‘good faith negotiation’ offers an indication of their intent and can be debated in a court of law.

    Also you wrote that, “A lot of film festivals generally require that your film not be available online in order to be eligible to enter.” That is not true. In fact, the majority of festivals today have no such restrictions for short films. Only a few places, like the Academy and Sundance Film Festival, still have that rule on the books, and Sundance has been known to ignore that rule.

    Avner Geller, who made the short DEFECTIVE DETECTIVE which has appeared in over 30 festivals, wrote about the issue recenty:
    http://avnergeller.blogspot.com/p/film-festivals-vs-web.html

    He wrote, “Every Festival has its own ‘rules and regulations’ section. I’ve been reading each and everyone of those for all the festivals we submitted to (mostly to see that there is no fine print saying ‘we now own the rights to your film’) and none of mentioned anything about having your film online. In our experience, the opposite was true. Since we posted our film online we’ve been getting many requests from festivals who want to showcase our film.”

    • http://animationanomaly.com/ Charles Kenny

      Thanks for the clarification on the festivals, Amid. I don’t tend to be involved in those sorts of things so I mistakenly went with my gut on that one.

      I agree on the “best effort” statement. If you’re going to make something a legal agreement, you should at least use the proper legal terms, for both parties’ sake.

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