A Different Take on Intellectual Property and Blogging

7 July 2009 1,436 views 12 Comments

We put everything in Creative Commons

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so that anybody can take anything without permission,” Jeffrey Tucker.

Happiness Through Sharing

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image credit: tipiro

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Update: After re-reading through this post I wanted to clarify a few things.

Some areas in italics (not the quoted material) have been updated for clarification specifically on the notion of “free content” that I addressed in the original post.

In short, I provide content in the sense that Web content is copy-able. It’s for this reason that while some of the content on this site is ‘hidden’ it’s the participation, personalization, and learning experience that hopefully provides value to Hunting Business Marketing members.

T. Michael Riddle

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(who is one of the best participators on this site) left a comment requesting a post on intellectual property
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:

The one thing which you might mention on your next post is the “Perils Of Plagiarism”

Albert, over at the Rasch Chronicles

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has a good one going on right now with a thief such as they (Plagiarist’s
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)

I have had several run in’s with this terrible activity during my 30+ years in the music industry, and it is heartbreaking to witness any artist (such as are in the outdoor blogging community) that has to endure the thievery of their intellectual property.

Keep up the good work which you are doing here Dayne, and please protect yourself from these type people!

————————————

And there are things which people are completely unaware of concerning copyrighted material.

Such as: The producer of an artist has every right to copyright the “Sounds” which are used in the recording of an artists’ material.

And said producer, will even attach a “Royalty Fee” for each time the artists material is sold or played anywhere for public purchase or entertainment.

This would hold true for anyone who even uses “Public Domain” material which might be enhanced with reverb, echo, chorus, flange etc. etc. by a web designer, who is in essence, the producer of your content.

If your website starts becoming popular and you implement any merchandising program, said designer/producer could come back with their hand extended out for a piece of your pie!

It never hurts to carry your own liability, disclosure and copyright release forms for anyone whom does work for you for them to sign.

If a person refuses to sign your forms, then move on down the line and find someone whom does not have a problem with doing so.

Because generally, if a person has a problem with that, then they most likely had bad intentions and ulterior motives to work for you in the first place.

Immediately I had a hunch that my take on the topic might conflict with T. Michael’s.

I wanted to write on the topic of Intellectual property because:

1| It’s important to bloggers and readers like you

2| T. Michael requested it and he made some great points in his comments

3| It’s a topic I’m passionate about

Now, I don’t want to get into the fact that people steal, harm, and harass other people. There is no excuse for putting others through pain. The issue that Albert and others are addressing is serious and I’ll say that some material from this site has been used on the sites addressed.

This article concerns intellectual property and my views on creating content for your hunting business, Website, and blog.

Let’s begin…

My General Take

I give away content and intellectual property for free – free in the sense that online content is copy-able. For this reason, I focus on providing added value on top of content to provide a product and service that hunting business owners are willing to pay for. Some articles and discussion in the forum are available for members only (unless members wish to share this content). The participation, personalization, and learning experience is where the value is hopefully provided.

Anybody can steal content from this site.

I like to believe that readers like you use the content on this site for the benefit of your hunting business so you can help hunters experience hunting as a fulfilling passion in life.

I do realize, however, that there are those who will abuse the content I create. It’s a necessary evil of sharing all of mythe content.

For me, it really comes down to accepting the bad with the (overwhelming) good and deciding to spend time on creating more quality content.

I hope those who share the content will provide attribution, but I realize it won’t always happen and that’s Ok. The fact that the content is being shared is enough. I hope to provide an appealing platform and hope that those who are genuinely interested in the content will realize that I’m the true source.

While I’m in favor of sharing content for free, let’s take a look at some arguments from both sides.

Pros of Sharing Content

In my view, the pros outweigh the cons in this argument.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the arguments in favor of sharing your content on the Web.

Larger Audience

The goal of any hunting business should be to connect with as many hunters as possible and to improve their hunting experiences so they can enjoy their passion in life to the fullest: hunting.

Sharing content on the Web leads to larger audiences.

Thousands of sites allow Web users post content to share with friends, family, and peers. People also share content face-to-face, via email, or over the phone.

Sharing content is a way for people to feel good about providing something of value to someone else.

And if your goal is to provide value to others you may feel the need and drive to provide value to as many people who share the same worldview as you.

I believe in sharing what I have to offer (hopefully it’s valuable to some) with anyone willing to accept it. I don’t want to push anything on anyone. I believe in creating an atmosphere of sharing so the content has the ability to reach those who may be interested in finding something that might be of value to them in some way.

And the way I envision reaching a large audience is by sharing content on the Web.

Priorities

One thing I’ve found in the time I’ve spent sharing content on the Web is that allowing the content to be shared (and accepting the bad and the good that comes with it) has allowed me to focus more on creating quality content and figuring out ways to better share it with hunting business owners.

When you’re running a business it’s always a constant battle to choose your priorities. You have to focus on how you spend your time.

As a resource for hunters you’re most precious asset is your time and the quality of the time you an provide your customers. Your resource shows up in the products and services you provide your customers.

I’ve found that when I prioritize and make the most time for creating quality content and connecting with people like you, I feel the most successful and fulfilled.

Here is an inspirational video on dissident publishing by Jeffrey Tucker

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of the Mises Institute
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.

For the part related to this piece, please jump to about 26:30. I suggest watching the entire video, but to see the part about dissident publishing you can skip ahead.

Cons of Sharing Content

There are objections to sharing your content online and protecting it with copyright.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the possible arguments against sharing content.

Giving Up a Feeling of Ownership

For any artist or creator, it is difficult to give up ownership of your art.

Most times when I discuss copyrighting and intellectual property with artists the fact of giving up ownership of their work is the main issue.

The idea of someone else using the work and art you’ve created and representing it as their own creation is difficult to accept.

There is a lot of work and passion that goes into creating content online and it’s difficult when someone misuses that content and takes the credit for creating it.

One of the things that can also happen is that people will recognize your content and share it with their friends, family, and audience while giving you the credit for creating.

People will also expand on your thoughts and ideas.

If you allow others to share and rework your art there are amazing things that can be created.

And it all starts with your work.

It’s rewarding to connect with people through your content and art.

While I accept the fact that I lose ownership of the content, I understand that more times than not, I’ll be recognized as creator in some way and this recognition and connection are reward enough.

Misrepresentation of You and Your Business

One thing that goes along with losing ownership of your content on the Web is that you and your business may be misrepresented.

There is always the chance of being misrepresented or slandered when you open a hunting business. A former client, competitors, or con misrepresenting your content as their own is all part of the reality we live in.

It can be difficult if you’re company is put in an ill-light especially for new business that don’t have a strong audience or client base.

If this were to happen to me I think what I would do is to go back to my base: creating quality content and connecting with my audience as a valuable resource.

I’d be angry and upset if I, my business, or the content were misrepresented, but I probably wouldn’t go further than an email to the party asking for a change in the representation.

I’d go back to my audience and work on creating more content and making sure my audience knows the quality of content I create.

And I believe that if your audience is strong and loyal enough they’ll come together to make sure you are represented properly.

Making Money with Copy-able Content

The issue that follows hunting businesses around on the Web is the issue of making money.

Since content publishing on the Web is easily copied and shared, it’s difficult to make money simply from content you share on your Website and blog.

I know making money online is difficult for all hunting businesses and especially for those who create content so I felt this topic needed to be discussed.

I want to highlight an excellent article on the subject of:

When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied

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Here is a short excerpt and the 8 things people pay money for:

Our digital communication network has been engineered so that copies flow with as little friction as possible. Indeed, copies flow so freely we could think of the internet as a super-distribution system, where once a copy is introduced it will continue to flow through the network forever, much like electricity in a superconductive wire. We see evidence of this in real life. Once anything that can be copied is brought into contact with internet, it will be copied, and those copies never leave. Even a dog knows you can’t erase something once it’s flowed on the internet.

Yet the previous round of wealth in this economy was built on selling precious copies, so the free flow of free copies tends to undermine the established order. If reproductions of our best efforts are free, how can we keep going? To put it simply, how does one make money selling free copies?

I have an answer. The simplest way I can put it is thus:

When copies are super abundant, they become worthless.

When copies are super abundant, stuff which can’t be copied becomes scarce and valuable.

Check out the entire article. It’s worth the read.

Eight categories of intangible value that we buy when we pay for something that could be free.

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1| Immediacy

2| Personalization

3| Interpretation

4| Authenticity

5| Accessibility

6| Embodiment

7| Patronage

8| Findability

It is possible to make money while giving away your content or art for free.

It seems that the music industry (in general) got caught up in trying to protect their old paradigm of controlling the distribution of the artist’s content.

Today, record sales and more importantly, profits are falling through the basement.

I think the artists that focus on what exactly people will pay money for they’ll be better set to connect with their audience and make profit.

Is the world better off with fewer record companies and more individual artists working with marketers, designers, etc. who understand sharing today?

The same is true for your hunting business and the content you create for the Web.

Focus on the things people are willing to pay for. It’s not the actual content you create because that can easily be shared.

Figure out ways to make your resource scarce and people will pay for it if your resource, products, and services are valuable.

Once you find something that works, stick with it, but always be prepared for shifting paradigms so you don’t end up like a select few in the music industry.

Here is a post on profit and transparency that is semi-related:

Appearing Transparent is Profitable, Being Transparent is Not

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Summary of My Take

Once again, I’m in favor of sharing content, but that doesn’t mean that you have to do the same with your hunting business, website and blog.

I’ve tried to present a few pros and cons to sharing content.

I accept that content on the Web is copy-able and there is nothing to stop it from happening.

So why not skip that step and give some away for free right away and focus on other ways to provide value and make profit while satisfying the needs of hunters?

I give away the content and intellectual property for free.

Even the ‘hidden’ content is copy-able in some way to determined individuals. The fact is that I try to provide value in others ways (see the 8 above) that people are willing to pay for and participate in.

Anybody can steal content on this site.

Bonus

Since it’s such a discussed topic right now and it relates to intellectual property, I thought I’d link to the Snopes entry on Michael Jackson and The Beatles

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concerning the publishing rights to some of The Beatles music.

Let Discuss

I know this topic is important to you and other readers.

Here is your chance to weigh in.

Please leave your comments below and let’s discuss.

You’re thoughts and contributions are always appreciated and never judged.

Related posts on Hunting Business Marketing

Flickr Creative Commons Series

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Take Your Parents’ Advice and Share

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8 Little Details That Make Big Differences on Hunting Websites

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Related posts on the Web

A Creative Commons License Is The Ultimate Music Promotion Tool

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Adam Singer on CC licenses and Music Promotion

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The best selling MP3 album of the year was free

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Update: Adam Singer wrote a great piece on this topic: Steal This Blog Post

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12 Comments »
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  • Albert A Rasch
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    said:

    Dayne,

    Overall I do agree with you.

    Where I draw the line is failure to attribute the work to the originator. And I am willing to be a little flexible on that point. If you’re trying to make a buck off the work then you damn well better give credit where it is due.

    I am fine with folks copying my work. Just put my link to it and we are cool. As long as your website is relatively morally acceptable, I see little issue with copying with attribution.

    The problem that arose over at TROC

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    was a multi-tiered issue of ethics, morals, and ill-gotten profits. Far from the issue and value of shared content.

    The real value of TROC

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    isn’t the content, but my ability to create that content.

    Now the content has value for others, otherwise they wouldn’t visit as often as they do! There are values that I am willing to give away for free, educational, comic, inspirational, emotional, and probably others. When someone tries to use that those values to profit from my ability to create it, then there is a definite problem.

    You are very perceptive to look at the music industry as an example of the disconnect between the artist/musicians, producers, marketers, hanger-ons, and leeches that have sucked that industries vigor right out of it. We are at the cusp of a paradigm shift in the music industry.

    “When copies are free, you need to sell things which can not be copied.” That sums it up very nicely. But again the issue for an Albert, Rick,or Zach, isn’t the money. We don’t make any money from our blogs! But by golly neither should anyone else. I put three to six hours a day in my blog… (Mostly because I type with two fingers and a thumb. Shhhh!) and I’ll be damned if some low life is going to steal my content for his lame dating service, (Which is predominantly stolen content too.), without me hunting him down until he wishes that Al Gore had never invented the Internet!

    Lotsa Love!
    Albert
    The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles

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    The Mark Osterholt Files
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  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    I see your point of frustration, Albert.

    In your situation (and the other affected) it’s wrong for the other party to steal content and use it for profit. I think it’s more the way your content is being used for profit – the sneakiness of it that’s the issue.

    As you say, it comes back to attribution and simply giving credit where it’s due. In that situation I would be fine with someone using my content for profit.

    And I have to give credit to T. Michael for bringing in the music industry discussion. He’s the expert there and I’m hoping he stops by to comment. :-)

    I love music, but he has first hand knowledge of the business.

    Thanks for your very insightful comment.

    You’re a great resource Albert.

    Thanks again,

    Dayne

  • Tom Sorenson
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    said:

    As a blogger myself, I’m with you, Dayne – I have no problem with theft of my content…the web is for sharing information. I enjoy nothing more than to check my video stats and see a particular video has a bunch of embeds – I have no idea who has embedded them or for what purpose, but I know my video is being watched – and that is ultimately why I made the video in the first place.

    Seems I had more insightful comments on my mind, but had to run take care of baby for a minute and when I cam back, I forgot what I was saying! So this will have to do for now!

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Always appreciated Tom. You’re a great contributor.

    Take care of that baby. :-) I hope things are going well.

  • Cory Glauner
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    said:

    What timing. I am working on a content sharing project right now… but I guess sharing is different than stealing. I’m with you on this one Dayne. Pros outweigh the cons.

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    @Cory – Sharing is definitely not stealing.

    I’m curious about your new project. Is it through your site or another one you’re working on?

  • T. Michael Riddle
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    said:

    I couldn’t agree with you more Dayne about getting your content out to the public any way possible, That is the reason you produce your art in the first place. And like my dear ol’ daddy (who used to play guitar for the likes of Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard, and put a few records out himself) would say to me when the kids at school made fun of the way I dressed and my long hair.

    Good publicity, Bad publicity, It’s all the same son! :-)

    And I also remember when Metallica led the fight against Napster and everyone was admonishing them for it.

    But remember what I said and you won’t have any regrets later on down the road, when you become more popular than even you yourself ever dreamed!

    “Do not make a move forward without considering: Non-Disclosure, Liability and Copyright Release forms.
    Preparing ahead of time will save you from most (inevitable) court battles later on!

    I have been there, done that and got the shirt with seagull poop on it…. ;-)

  • Dayne Shuda
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    (author)
    said:

    Very good advice T. Michael.

    Preparing for future success and envisioning how things will transpire while protecting yourself as much as possible is important.

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

    And your Dad played with Waylon and Merle?!

    Those are two of my all time favorites. :-)

  • T. Michael Riddle
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    said:

    Yes he did Dayne, Tom Riddle (That is where the T. in my name comes from).
    Yea! Yea! I know of the Tom Riddle in Harry Potter ;-)

    But like most artists, dad succumbed to the enticement of wine, women and song and unfortunately carried all of it along a bit too far.

    Just remember the old terminology: “Bootlegger’s” concerning what we have been talking about.
    On a side note: (I used to help my dad jar up his moonshine when I was about 5-8 years of age and do runs with him).

    But remember that “bootleggers” are still alive and well!

    Now, there is a great album of all time: Still Alive And Well by rock/blues great: Johnny Winter.

  • On Life and Design » Why Share? A Designers Perspective on Copyrights
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    said:

    [...] if not thousands of people. Like a fellow blogger, Dayne Shuda discussed in his recent post A Different Take on Intellectual Property and Blogging, if a customer really likes your work, they will pay for it. It may also get your more projects and [...]

  • rickybuck
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    said:

    Hi Dayne,if im gona share my Photos and gleefull personality with the likes of free hunting internet sites and there are lots out there i see ,I feel that if im gona contrbute my content ie. stuff than if I have an oppertunity to promote me and my stuff useing that shared web-site Url than I guess what your saying is add that web-site into the conversation but if the person responding to the Url hits said url. than that should be my contribution of said web-site ,I get what ya mean a Url. is not the same as me saying the words and bringing the said web site into the convesation. O’ brother does that make sense? Mahalo RickyBuck

  • The Hunter's Wife
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    said:

    As always, very informative post. I do agree the pros outweigh the cons. I also agree with Albert when someone is stealing your content without attributing the originator is just wrong.

    Not sure how much can really be done about it.