While the concept of copyright may be common knowledge I’d like to offer a soft skills warm up on a way to protect your rights and copyright. Understanding the way to share information – both of your own creation and that of others can help you stand out in your career. Knowing a bit more about sharing content can help you avoid a potentially career limiting mistake. Understanding copyright, sharing and usage rights can help you protect yourself, your employer and your customers.
If you already know everything about copyright protection you can stop reading now. Or better yet take a moment and share what you know in the comments.
There is a lot of information online already available – a few references are listed below for your reading pleasure. I don’t want to re-hash all the detailed work that has already been done. You can do your own research and reading and dive into the pieces that interest you.
In the meantime let’s think about content – whether written, spoken, or video. Whether it’s your content or content created by others. Content you create should be protected … and it is. Content you read on Social Networks is protected too. This is not a post on protecting and sharing content that is shared across Social Networks, but there have been a lot of precedents explored and a few new areas broached.
This is more of a post to get you thinking about your content that you have created and thinking about how you may want to share it while protecting it. This is also a post to help you know what to look for and consider when sharing someone else’s content. Whether that content is written or in the form of some sort of recording – picture, audio, video, etc.
Pop Quiz – If you find a picture you like do you feel it’s OK to include it in a blog post or social post? Do you provide attribution to the creator of the picture?
A Real World Example —
What if you WANT your stuff to be shared?
I recently received an invitation to read a business document. It was written by a few people I trust and respect. I liked it. I wanted to share some of the contents. I didn’t necessarily want to share the whole document, but I would have likely done that too.
Here’s the rub.
I asked one of the authors if the document was available to be shared under Creative Commons. The response I received was a no. So, I asked a follow-on question. I asked … May I share some of the content? The response I received was again a no.
The end result. I didn’t share anything. I did NOT share their well developed research or any of their creatively written and inspiring thoughts.
Why? Because I respect copyrights.
What Could They Have Done Differently?
First and foremost — They should have considered sharing their content under Creative Commons. There are several options to consider here:
Here is an easy checklist to Choose which CC License to use.
Share Your Way – By selecting the Creative Commons license option that works for their needs they would have made it easy for me (the reader) to know exactly how THEY wanted their content shared.
Share When I’m Ready – Instead of forcing me to send them a note asking for permission I would have been able to quickly share their content … using their preferred option.
What’s wrong with this picture? (pun sort of intended)
The problem is by not making it easy to share they made it a more challenging experience than it should have been. If their intent was to share the content they should have made it easy, fast and predictable.
The End Result
Nothing! In the case of the content I mentioned in the example above NOTHING happened. I didn’t share anything. Why? Because I could not figure out how they wanted it shared. Then when I asked them they effectively told me they didn’t want it shared. So, their hard work lost one possible channel of distribution.
The End Goal
It’s up to you if you want your content to go viral or if you just want to get it shared out across a specific community of people. You goal should be to make it as easy as possible. Not doing so makes it too easy to ignore and allows the consumer of your content to move onto something else.
Resources for your further Asset Protection Education and Sharing Use Rights:
See the Creative Commons site — this is the primary purpose of this post. Consider using Creative Commons.
Copyright.gov — yes, the US Government site for all things Copyright.