Who owns the content?

While I was aware of the recent proposed litigation by some newspapers asking Google to pay for indexing and displaying their links in the search engines, I was flabbergasted when I read about the case of Irish newspapers on Monday Note.

Try googling the following French legalese: “A défaut d’autorisation, un tel lien pourra être considéré comme constitutif du délit de contrefaçon”. (It means any unauthorized incoming link to a site will be seen as a copyright infringement.) This search get dozens of responses.

This is not all. In the recently concluded ‘failed’ discussion at the WCIT meeting in Dubai there was an attempt to own the content(read data) by many a parties.

And couple this debate with Twitter not allowing Instagram to show pictures or another platform snapping connections with the rest of the ecosystem to not give away benefits of user data to the other.

To add to this is the complexity of two-sided markets where If you use a service and it’s free, you are not the customer; you are the product being sold.

When you sign up on a platform and click on ‘I agree’, you enter a legal contract talking about who will ultimately have the rights to the content you post on a platform. So suppose you write a passionate post about the recent public protests on Delhi on Twitter or Facebook, it is you who has created that post but it does not stop the platform bots from mining the content to show you related ads.

As I write this there are new platforms popping up to support your content, pictures and videos. I think there is a need on the part of the platforms to communicate to the user about how they are going to use the their data more lucidly. Taking in user feedback or allowing to users to vote for the policies on the platform should help remove some of the vagueness associated with such issues but then I assume everyone’s on a learning curve.

While reading up on this topic I chanced upon Wikipedia’s rules of content ownership and they say – Since no one “owns” any Wikipedia content, content should not be signed. The exact contributions of all editors are seen with their names on the page history.


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