Jesse Stay is one of the better people to follow on the internet and his writing is always interesting to read, plus he also owns Social Too and has written two books as well. Jesse is no stranger to generating content, startups, and some generally interesting reading on his blog. What has apparently happened is that Jessie has noticed that Google is stripping his ads off his RSS feed, shoving his full content into Buzz, and then monetizing the content without Jessie getting a dime. As he states on his blog today
To be clear, I’m fine with them either displaying the ads that I put there (and allowing me to monetize off the other ads that are on the page), or just summarizing the article and encouraging users to click through to my site. I’m not okay with Google scraping my content, stripping my ads, altering my content, and pushing it out for them to get 100% of the revenues off of something I spent time and money making. Source: Stayin’ Alive
What makes this interesting to me is that there seems to be two types of copyright, copyright for big corporations under the rule of Law like the DMCA, and the forthcoming ACTA (which should scare you if you read Micheal Geist), then there is copyright for the rest of us. Bloggers who deal with scrapers is a daily issue. What makes this more interesting is the number of headlines from such companies as the MPAA who had to remove the MPAA Toolkit for copyright infringement. There is the long drawn out battle between Shepard Fairey and the AP over a picture of Obama where copyright was clearly in dispute over who owned what. Pictures of Obama being used in Fashion Ads. There is a 15 year old Dallas student who without permission find their pictures ripped from Flickr and used in an advertising campaign in Australia. Or even big media companies like ESPN playing commercials that used pictures that did not belong to them and the owner was not compensated. Google is no new comer to this controversy – they are desperately trying to get a book settlement through the courts that allows them to scan books that are without findable owners and drop them into their search system.
Jessie, and indeed many bloggers and people who actually do create new content are at the rock and hard place. While it great to add a CC 2.0 share and share alike copyright, or even insist on full copyright of all materials on our blogs, the reality is that many people are trying to make money off of what creators write. It is not just limited to shady scrapers, it has permeated the entire culture, we scrape we make money. It is everywhere, my fair share notification each week shows me tens of sites that scrape every single article I write. I have only authorized two sites to use content from my two original blogs.
This is where things get interesting, and where it might be time for bloggers to take a deep look at what is happening to our content on the internet. How it is used, who uses it and who monetizes it. How we share monetization from the major advertising systems that use our content to make money. How we view full text feeds which are popular and in many cases necessary to keep readers. I do not recommend a RIAA/MPAA style pogrom, but a deep research project in how much money is really made by others monetizing content while the creators get little or nothing. We might find that we are ahead of the game or behind the game, but maybe it is time to seriously look at the blogging model we have now, and see if there is a way to ensure that the few copyrights we do have are respected and not subverted by a larger company.
(Cross-posted @ TechWag )