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Response to blogpost by Ian In Sheffield, here. He is asking about free content hosting sites like YouTube or Animoto owning your content once it’s uploaded.

Are the films created the property of Flixtime or Animoto?

YourTube? MyTube? TheirTube?

I think the ownership concern diminishes because the *free* services have the right to distribute your content via their service as they wish on their platform. Do they have the right to alter what you upload? Well, yes. YouTube removed the audio on one of my first ever uploads because it breached copyright (sorry ChumbaWumba). But if YouTube mashed up your content with a few other vids, are they crossing a line? I’m not aware of this ever happening. I’m not sure about the answer but I imagine they would be within their legal rights and agreements.

This all becomes insignificant if you think about it from the users POV. You make a video. That video has some value to you. Who do you want to see it? What is your distribution channel? Users sign up to a free service as a distribution channel. You lose control within the parameters you agree to. For bands it was (still is?) similar. Record companies take control. They employ distributors to get music into the hands of those willing to pay for it.

The internet revolution occurred because Tim Berners-Lee gave his http invention to the world. He could have charged per click. This freedom from commerce is possibly the kindling that ignited the dramatic changes now apparent in all media and telecoms. Companies are now trying to turn a buck by providing a service popular enough to earn advertising revenue or as a teaser to a premium account. We, the users, are the product.

But here’s the good bit, for me at least. These companies cannot abuse their privilege because word would get around and users would leave, crushing revenue streams. The beauty (of some) of the internet is that it will protect itself. There are champions of openness and freedom online just in case users are subject to globalised corporate or government collusion. Certain behemoths might present a concern – facebook, google – but if they turned against their users they would face a backlash that would compromise their very successful business models.

Finally, it is the user that is responsible for what they create. Whatever public distribution channel you choose you have to make sure your rights are protected but equally appreciate your work can be copied and distributed by others, possibly without you knowing or against your wishes. If you want control, do not give your content to a free service. It is your choice. They are distributors who don’t charge. Is there any point in using these channels to share your content? Well that also is up to you.

Lying in bed writing on my mobile using wordpress app. Can’t sleep. Hospital tomorrow. :/

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