So, Cornell is seeking volunteers now to search for the IBWO. Check out the waiver they want birders to sign. In my view, the most egregious provision of this "volunteer agreement" is that Cornell is asking you to sign over your intellectual property rights if you take a photo of the bird! This means that if you volunteer and are lucky enough to take "the" photo of the bird, Cornell can put that photo on t-shirts and coffee mugs and thongs, and you'll get nothing!!!
I have no problem with Cornell requiring that searchers keep the location of any sightings confidential, but why would they need to keep photos or field notes or sound recordings confidential? (If you read it carefully, I think that in paragraph 6 they also ask you to sign over your first-born to Cornell.) I personally would never even consider signing such a release, and I would strongly advise any "volunteer" searcher to consult with their own personal attorney before signing such a draconian "agreement." You have been warned.
Ivory-billed Woodpecker SearchDecember 5, 2005- April 23, 2006
I, __________ (name), agree to the following terms and conditions governing my participation as a Volunteer in the Ivory Billed Woodpecker Search Project (hereinafter “Search Project”) in the Cache River and White River National Wildlife Refuges:
1. I agree that as a Cornell University Volunteer, my participation in the Search Project is without pay or other compensation. Any data, drawings, field notes, audio or visual recordings (including, without limitation, photographs and motion picture video) that I may generate or assist in creating during my participation in the Search Project will be the sole property of Cornell University, and I hereby assign any and all rights that I might assert in the same (including copyright) to Cornell University. I may not distribute, copy, release or disclose any such data, drawings, notes or recordings personally or through any form of media to any third party without the prior written consent of an authorized representative of Cornell University. In addition, I agree to keep confidential any information I learn as a direct result of my participation in the Search Project that is identified by Cornell as sensitive information, including (without limitation) information on the location of Ivory-Billed Woodpecker roosting or nesting sites.
2. I understand that Cornell University may, in its sole discretion, terminate my participation in the Search Project without prior notice. I understand that I am not a University employee and that I do not have a formal work appointment for any services I may render as a participant in the Search Project. Notwithstanding the above, I agree to abide by all applicable University policies during my participation in the Search Project.
3. I understand that as a University Volunteer, Cornell does not provide me with accident or medical insurance and is therefore not responsible for any accident or medical expenses incurred by me. Further, I understand that I am neither covered by Worker’s Compensation nor entitled to employee benefits as a result of my participation in the Search Project.
4. Cornell University agrees to provide me with third party liability insurance to protect me from any third-party claims filed against me related to my good faith performance of any activities described in the attached Cornell University Description of Volunteer Duties. In exchange, I, on behalf of myself, my heirs and my representatives, do hereby release, indemnify, and hold harmless Cornell University or any of its officers, agents, or employees from any and all liability, damages, or claims of any nature arising out of or related to my volunteer activities.
5. I understand the terms and conditions of this agreement and I am signing this agreement of my own free will. Further, by signing this agreement I attest to the fact that I am eighteen years of age or older.
6. This agreement will be valid from [date] to [date]. The insurance and indemnity provision in paragraph 4 will survive the termination of this Agreement. This agreement may only be modified in writing with the consent of both Cornell University and the above-named Volunteer.
This agreement shall be construed by the laws of the State of New York, without regard to conflicts of laws principles.
Signature of Volunteer: Date: Home Address of Volunteer: Telephone: Emergency Contact:
P.S. OK, this is BINAC again...here is a great law-school hypothetical: If the federal goverment closes access to a particular piece of federal land, without *any* public input or comment, and grants access to that land to one or two favored groups, to the exclusion of all others, and that favored group makes money off of their activities in that area...for example, in selling photos taken on that land...has any federal law or regulation been violated? Interesting, eh?