Posts Tagged ‘intellectual property’
Property is something that can be taken from me. If I don’t have it, somebody else does. Expression is not like that. The notion that expression is like that is entirely a consequence of taking a system of expression and transporting it around, which was necessary before there was the Internet, which has the capacity to do this infinitely at almost no cost.
Note: #eg8 refers to the current e-g8 Forum taking place in Paris, a pre-cursor to the g8, where world leaders and assorted invitees are discussing the future of the Internet
Twitter users are accustomed to freely quoting other’s tweets (particularly when re-tweeting). But where does the law lie on tweets being published in a book?
Extanz document the case of the US travel site zipsetgo, where tweeters became angry when they realised their tweets were to be used in this way.
Apparently this is a grey area where legality is yet to be shaped… it is a question of the book as aggregator – should authors be able to profit from collecting other’s words together? How different is this from Google making money from advertising around collecting words from multiple sites?
All creative expressions are a collection of others’ work in some way; books quoting others without permission is common practice: unauthorised biographies, for example, rely on doing this.
But should there be new laws for publicly accessible social media commentary hitting print? I’d say no – but, as ZipSetGo found out, whether or not it’s legal, community norms may mean developing such compilations without member buy-in is, commercially, a very bad idea.
This video features Yochai Benkler discussing his incredibly important work on ‘the memetic economy.’ Key points:
The ‘memetic economy’ is an emerging technological-economic condition – a new stage of ‘the information economy’ whose two defining characteristics are:
- An increased role for non-market production
- Radically decentralised production of information
A meme in this sense is a unit of cultural transmission: covering all information, knowledge, culture. The memetic economy indicates the production of cultural units shifting to individuals – replicating more closely the diverse mechanisms in society more generally – reversing the control focus of the industrial information economy.
In the industrial information economy people have been constrained to consuming products from managerially determined, heavily advertised finished goods – but it is highly valuble to democracy, autonomy and social justice for individuals acting outside markets to determine information relevance and drive cultural content and wider production.
The emerging techno-economic situation where substantial components of information production is owned by end-users means productivity can be sustained with non-proprietary and non-market production – leading to radical decentralised information production, and intelligence at the edges of a network whose core is relatively quite stupid.
Efficiency of non-market production does vary from industry to industry, but in addition to non-market production, market-based indirect appropriation of revenue not reliant on information as property is also possible (e.g. the Spotify Freemium model).
It is of great social value for individuals to participate in direct discourse instead of relying on proxies for political conversation, and centralised and commercialised control structures determining what information they see. The ‘memetic economy’ means the opportunity for a radical shift in the extent to which people can participate in forming the cultural meaning of their society through talking to eachother.
There is / will be a battle over the institutional ecology of information (the giants of the industrial age will not go quietly) but it would be disastorous to allow the winners of yesterday’s economy to dictate the terms of tomorrow’s.
I still have occasional conversations about ‘people coming to our website’ and ‘stealing our content’. The web’s facilitation of sharing and interactivity continues to rub up against traditional business and intellectual property rights models – and those who cling onto their familiarity.
The newly launched Tynt tracer is so simple it’s suprising it hasn’t been done before: it automatically adds attribution text whenever someone copies and pastes from a participating website. Although the copier can delete this if they wish, this turns the vulnerability of having work copied into a much better chance of being credited for great content.
“You put a lot of effort into creating interesting content for your site. And when someone copies and pastes it into their blog or website, you should know about it.
Each time users highlight or copy/paste content from your site, we record that user action and the copied content giving you unique insight into how users engage with your site. You learn exactly what content users are interested in. Page Views and Time Spent on Site are only part of the engagement story – when a user is moved to take action on your site, you know they are impacted by that content.”
This has a few benefits:
- Depending on a website’s goals, editors can make future content decisions based on what is most engaged with (tynt claim there is often a disparity between content that is most viewed and that which people most interact with).
- Editors can revise how content is displayed depending on the goals you have for your website- based on what tynt reports. For example if pages that have sub-headings and paragraphs do better than those with video or lists of tips they could increase that type of content layout.
- From the other side: When creating content – if including copied text from a site that has implemented tracer, time is saved because it means the editor doesn’t have to go back for the link.
- Usability gurus can compare the different sections and pages of a website people are interacting with – replicating what is working and revising what isn’t.
- When someone copies text from a website they will be encouraged to use the appropriate attribution – this will be good for driving traffic back to it and for its Search Engine Optimisation.
(Unfortunately I cannot test out the tracer myself on a WordPress hosted WordPress blog. grrr.)