Friday, February 24, 2006

who owns the content...?

now that the current web 2.0 wave seems to have peaked, a few more thoughts on the content created in the new web world - over the excitement about the read/write web a lot of users/creators don't seem to realise that some of their content might not be their content any more: in the web 2.0 world publishing often means to give away rights to a site that provides a particular service, and while you can always read the terms of service, a lot of people probably don't do that, and if they do they might not fully understand them. (and how should they: not everyone is a lawyer and a native english speaker at the same time.)

last december i stopped using a particular bookmarking service because it was sold to a big search engine. i did not want to become a little unpaid worker bee for a major web portal. i still think it was not o.k. to sell the service without telling the users in advance. but i learned the lesson: web 2.0 often means that a company sets up an often brilliant, community orientated platform, lets users create content and then, when it all works out, sells the platform to one of the major online players that a lot of people don't want to be with. so i started reading all those terms of service even more careful. i will not bore you with legal details, instead suggest that you have a look at the terms of service of your favourite web 2.0 site. and specifically try to answer the question "who owns the content?". you may be in for a surprise - that is, if you can understand what the terms of service actually mean...

so far (february '06) my conclusion is that i can only trust with the (free) hosting of audio/video. all other sites want certain rights, retain the right to change/alter work, will use it for advertising etc... all of them. seriously. or: prove me wrong.

i wonder how long it will take until people realise that a lot of their video work, some of their link collections or their pictures or texts can or will be used/altered for advertising, that certain rights were traded in for a bit of webspace and bandwidth/traffic. often it is just a very bad deal - good for the web 2.0 service, bad for the user/creator.


(a reminder for myself: have a look again at the blogger terms of service and ask: a) who owns the content? b) what can/can't they do with it? c) do i really understand the terms of service?)

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Blogger Anne Walk said...

some interesting questions raised here.

i am assuming that the bookmarking site you are refering to is delicious which, of course, begs the question as to why you are blogging on blogger which is owned by google.

yes, i think all of these web2.0 sites will be either bought out or will fail...or might even become a big player themselves (although it's highly unlikely).

what are we to do about that?

ourmedia is a good place to put your work, of course and, I hope, the internet archive will survive.

something about the smithsonian being bought out sends a chill my way, though.

soon, we will all be making ads for coke and nike.


p.s. thanks for the link to testing grounds, btw! check out, the main site. i talk about stuff like this a lot too! subscribed to you :)

8:51 PM  
Blogger digital_kevin said...

not being used to see people commenting on this blog i must apologise for answering so late to your comment - i only found the comment now... (i first answered by email, since i receive comments via email - anyway...)

blogger: i still think that google is different than many other big companies, this might be a bit naive, but what other major company is founded upon a principle like "don't do evil"...?

still, i will have a look at wordpress...

some web 2.0 sites will become bigger players, i agree. but what will change: there will be less and less big stars (be it in music, online video, podcasts etc). instead we will have a much richer culture with many smaller "acts". the traditional star system à la hollywood is not the future. why i am so sure...? a couple of hundred years ago only a minority of people could read. with the invention of the printing press this all changed. it is true that too many people in our world still can't read and write, but we never went back to a world where only a (clerical) elite could read and write... now the same is happening with (mass) media. i can only repeat a bob marley quote from another one of my earlier blog entries (.pdf available via ourmedia):

"you can fool some people sometimes, but you can't fool all the people all the time."


p.s.: i just linked to loadedpun via the sidebar - i like your blog, you are a critical voice, there are not so many who ask those questions you ask... - thanks!

4:49 PM  

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