Content Marketing Blog

Copyright: A source of debate for content marketing

With a slew of content easily accessible in today’s internet era, copyright issues have never been more pertinent.

Following the release of the Australian federal government’s Online Copyright Infringement Discussion Paper, Sydney’s Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre opened its doors to a number of industry representatives earlier this month.

Minister for Communications Malcolm Turnbull hosted the event, inviting a number of guests to comment on copyright issues in today’s internet age.

“I don’t think people understand the nature of the business,” Australian screenwriter and producer Peter Duncan said.

Mr Duncan questioned whether people truly comprehend the labour that goes into producing films and television shows.

A lack of appreciation of the effort that goes into copyrighted material could go some way to explain – but not excuse – why individuals across the globe misuse it, whether that means illegally downloading songs, streaming television shows or otherwise.

According to findings presented at the forum, peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing in Australia remains high. BitTorent, a P2P file-sharing protocol, made up 31 per cent of US internet traffic in 2008, dipping to 5.96 per cent in 2014. By contrast, BitTorrent use in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia, rested at 25.95 per cent.

As a protocol, BitTorrent is not problematic. The issue lies in the potential to disseminate copyrighted material.

The forum touched upon enforcement of copyright breaches in the internet sphere, with reference to internet service providers’ (ISPs) powers across a selection of jurisdictions, such as New Zealand’s ‘three strikes’ approach.

Entrepreneurs have identified a subtle shift in internet users’ understanding – and appreciation – of copyrighted material. For instance, music-streaming service Spotify now has over 40 million active users worldwide, 20 per cent of which are paying subscribers. Music piracy Down Under dropped 20 per cent in Spotify’s first year of service in the country, according to research undertaken by the streaming platform.

Spotify has itself attracted controversy (regarding royalties, for instance), but its popularity among paying subscribers highlights a willingness among individuals to pay for what they use. Exactly how far this will go remains debatable.

It’s not just the television, film and music industries that are affected – a broad range of corporate brands’ activities need to abide by copyright laws. Legislatures across the globe are exploring avenues for discouraging unlawful use of copyrighted materials and intellectual property issues are entering the mainstream discourse.

So – just what can brands learn from the copyright forum?

This is where Mr Duncan’s point is so salient: Users of copyrighted materials need to understand the labour that goes into such works.

While there’s certainly an argument for furthering public consciousness by exploring, and building on, copyrighted materials, fair use principles apply in order to protect the creator of the original source material.

Businesses disseminating information in order to grow their customer base and boost engagement need to take a diligent approach.

For instance, when developing a content marketing strategy, it’s important to ensure that you use source material fairly and only publish original content – not only is this important for legal considerations, it will also boost your SEO and user engagement.

Using first-hand information to drive your articles, whitepapers and case studies is vital, and will help you create more original, more accurate and safer content for your website or blog.

Proper attribution of sources is also a must – not only is it best practice from a copyright perspective, it communicates to readers that articles are underpinned by solid research.