Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Why copyright needn't be a barrier to online sharing

Chris Brogan started my morning with a post reflecting on the nature of sharing online in social networks and why it matters.  And here's another take, just as encouraging--but one that you may want to share with the internal naysayers, attorneys and others who want to strictly limit sharing of your organization's copyrighted material online.

YouTube's head of user experience Margaret Stewart uses this five-minute TED Talk to describe the "complex web of relationships" created on the web--and how to think about copyright and how it works in an ecosystem where sharing is popular and natural.   She uses the Chris Brown video of "Forever," looking at fan uploads of the video, including the virally popular "Wedding Party" video, which used the tune as the wedding party danced down the aisle, eventually getting 40 million views.  The 18-month-old song had dropped from the charts before this video, but went back to number 4 on iTunes as a result of the viral sharing. Instead of going after the wedding couple who posted it, Sony put ads against the video and took other steps to encourage the sharing.

Stewart describes how YouTube scans the equivalent of 100 years of video and compares it to reference files every day, looking for matches between copyrighted and copied material. Interestingly, she says that most copyright holders allow some level of reuse and sharing (to do so, you need to register your copyrighted material in YouTube's content verification system, which forms the basis of the scan-and-match process.)

Stewart encourages companies and organizations to avoid blocking all reuse and look instead for the opportunities that sharing can offer. "By simply blocking all reuse, you'll miss out on new art forms, new audiences, new distribution channels and new revenue streams," she notes.

What possibilities do you see in sharing your content?  For more on the powerful audience numbers, trends and tips that are most recent in online video, check out this post, which includes a tip on finding video that's in the public domain--and audience numbers that may help you rethink your online video sharing policies.

Join the discussion for communications directors on don't get caught on Facebook.

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