Content Ownership Online

Know Your Social Network Before You Share

Owning your material online seems like a given. After all, it is your content to share and distribute as you want. The problem is once you put anything out there, you give up a significant amount of control. You have no idea what someone else can or will do with it, and in some cases no course of action after they do.

MYTH: I own everything I put up online.

Everything from images to video to your written word can be taken. Now, that is not always a bad thing, The right source picking up on your work and promoting it can do wonders for exposure. In many cases this risk is worth the reward. The key term here is reward.

Many social services claim rights over your content. It is seen as a trade for the free service. You might be okay with that as it seems like a good trade. What if their goal was not to treat you with the same fairness?

PRO TIP: If you create images for a living, only put smaller low-res images in your social services. Keep the high res images on your site where you have better control.

Knowledge is Power

Ideas pushed up online are being harvested and grouped. Will they be used, I do not know. However services owning them once they are placed into a stream they provide could prove an issue. What if you walked into a cafe for a brainstorming session, and upon leaving you were told that the cafe listened, monitored and recorded everything you said. You were then informed that as the cafe owner, they had the right to fully pursue and act upon whatever you and your group had discussed. The idea you were hammering out and spending hours developing might just be co-oped and built.

Now, that is a bit extreme. There are several factors in play and most people cannot do something with your idea. Simply because I, the cafe owner, heard your idea, I have not lived and breathed it. It is not core to who I am and I might not want to invest the energy. The main point is that the cafe owner should not lay ownership.

PRO TIP: Even though it is a hassle, be aware of a companies Terms of Service (ToS).

Let us keep it simple. Images. There are many services out there for photographers to post work and get paid when people download and use it. Many stock image sites pull in some serious cash, but still pay something to the artist. Looking around social media streams, say Instagram, there are some stunning images out there. If a company were so motivated, they could pool all those images into a repository, already tagged and sorted, and sell them to people wanting images for their projects.

Said company could stand to make some money off that and have no obligation to pass that back to the people who created the image. Or even site the creator. I will use an image I find online, but I also credit the source. That is not even necessary according to many companies ToS.

Sharing is Caring

The goal of this is not to prevent or scare you from sharing. The networks and avenues available to push your message, whatever it might be, to the entire world is a wonderful and powerful tool. You should absolutely leverage them if you can and they make sense, but be aware. The content you work so hard to create might just become someone else’s property.

How do you keep your assets safe in the social sphere? Or do you even care about it? Drop us a line and share your thoughts!

IMAGE: Post Gazette