Tuesday, January 26, 2010

When Is My Intellectual Property Not Really Mine?

I saw through the Twittersphere reference to a Gawker/Valleywag post on how the Huffington Post was reposting tweets on their site.  Through the use of the API, tweets were visible at the following location::  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/twitter/ [Twitter user ID]

Now, this message appears::




While users were irate at the prospects that their content could be used by another site for that site's commercial gain, it's all spelled out in the Twitter Terms of Service::
"You retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying Content on or through the Services, you grant us a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (with the right to sublicense) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such Content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).
Tip: This license is you authorizing us to make your Tweets available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same. But what’s yours is yours – you own your content.
You agree that this license includes the right for Twitter to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals who partner with Twitter for the syndication, broadcast, distribution or publication of such Content on other media and services, subject to our terms and conditions for such Content use."
So, users may own their intellectual property, it's licensed to Twitter and anyone who can use API.

I think what I find interesting is how people understandably cling to the notions of having control over their content, as in intellectual property rights, which is contrary to the realities of social media. While it may seem wrong that others can profit from your content, controlling how others use your content, with or without consent and with or without profit, is untenable. Users need to think long and hard about why they are posting their content and relating it to their "strategy" about content and communications.

Social media allows the rapid diffusion of content by anyone, but offers little in the form of control. The Huffington Post {or Digg} and the use of technologies like RSS and API can help to build audiences and cut through the clutter, but don't afford control in the diffusion process. Unfortunately, in the era of Web 2.0 and beyond, the only way to control your content is to put it on lockdown.

Twitterversion::  HuffPo uses API to appropriate Twitter tweets. Users unhappy, but doesn't Web 2.0 mean little real control over content? @Prof_K



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