Musings on Photography

Food for Thought

Posted in business, the art world by Paul Butzi on March 24, 2008

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I’ve long pondered the whole issue of copyright and public discussion forums – when you make a post, do you retain the copyright? There have been a few outright usurpations of content that I remember – photo.net pretty much copied the entire content of the discussion forum at http://www.largeformatphotography.info at one point as it transitioned away from Philip Greenspun’s non-profit thingie into the photo.net we see today. That’s one reason I never got involved in the community at photo.net – why contribute content when someone else is reaping the rewards?

So, with that to establish context, go read this article, about the rights of the people who made musical contributions to bebo.com. Ok, done that? Did you read the whole thing? Fine.

Now, let me just suggest that you read the article again, and this time, hold the word ‘flickr’ in your mind as you read.

Hmmm. Lots of content, there. Lots of pageviews. Not much compensation. Hmm.

3 Responses

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  1. Ed Richards said, on March 24, 2008 at 5:29 pm

    I am not sure I see the point, beyond that these sites get rich by using atoms of content that are too small to be valuable on their own, but that are valuable in the aggregate. Google would be the big dog in this game.

    What is the value to each person in Flickr or Bebo – clearly people get something they value or they would not post. Whatever that is, times the millions of posters, is a pretty substantial value back to the users.

    I doubt that the huge premiums paid for these sites will prove to be smart investments – but then, neither did the huge payment for AOL in the first place.

  2. Dennis Allshouse said, on March 25, 2008 at 1:29 pm

    billy bragg is so right. The value of the social networking is in the networking not the content. These sites should make it totally clear what the rights policy is UP front. A couple of years ago I was going to push photos up to Apple’s ecard system, but Apple made clear that they got the rights… so I didn’t do it.

  3. Martin Doonan said, on March 26, 2008 at 11:39 pm

    I really liked the comparison to radio play of songs, for which PRS payments are due. The Internet makes tracking play/view/download relatively easy, so I could see a similar system working (on a micro-pay basis). It’s the way advertisers are getting paid.
    Of course, that is really going to cut into the profits of the share sites who currently seem to be taking members for a ride.


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