Content Marketing Blog

Copyright confusion has “chilling effect” on content creation

Over the past decade, the amount of content being produced, posted and shared online has increased exponentially.

Simple-to-use and often free blogging platforms and social media sites mean it is now easier than ever for anyone with an internet connection to become a publisher.

Every day, for example, users of Twitter, the popular micro-blogging site, post 500 million tweets.

A further 70 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram, one of 2014’s fastest growing social media brands.

On YouTube, Google’s video platform, 100 hours of video is uploaded every minute.

The chilly arm of the law

From private citizens keen to share their opinions with the world to brands looking for ways to connect with potential customers, content is booming.

But a recent study has warned that copyright law is beginning to have a “chilling effect” on all this creative activity.

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Content creators are worried about what might happen to their work when it’s published on the web and don’t trust popular platforms, including YouTube, to protect their rights. They are also unsure about how to safely use material that may be subject to copyright.

“The dataset showed specific instances of chilling effects within these communities,” said Casey Fiesler, who led the study. “These include decisions by users not to upload their work onto YouTube due to improper takedown notices or creators being told that their work would definitely be infringing if they didn’t get permission from the copyright holder.”

One of the solutions put forward by the research team was for YouTube and other similar sites to do more to inform people about copyright law with plain English explanations and more content that directly addresses legal questions posted on help forums.

Quality content is unique content

Copyright is an important area for content marketers to get their heads around. Using copyright material unfairly can be embarrassing and in extreme cases it can become incredibly expensive in terms of your time and money.

As well as avoiding copyright infringements, content creators should also take steps to protect their own material from misuse. If someone is copying your blog posts, for example, they are not only infringing your IP, they could also be negatively impacting how your site performs in search.

Google uses “uniqueness” as a quality metric and if your content is being ripped off and republished around the web you could find your pages dropping down the rankings.