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New scheme where others make money off of your content (and you get nothing)

Heads up, publishers, writers, and anyone with a website containing copyrighted content. There may be companies making money off of your copyrighted content, without you even knowing it.

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Those wascally wabbits

Heads up, publishers, writers, and anyone with a website containing copyrighted content. There may be companies making money off of your copyrighted content, without you even knowing it.

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How is this happening?

Curated content sites like Business2Community (B2C) and NewsCred are turning profits by non-consensually subleasing content to and from other sites.

Several bloggers on Business2Community discovered that their copyrighted work was being sold to other companies behind their backs.

Blogger Mark Schaefer saw his work on another site, with the note, “This article was written by Mark Schaefer from Business2Community (B2C) and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.”

Schaefer was confused, because while he had given consent to syndicate his blog content on B2C’s site, he never said it was cool to sell that content to another site, nor did he ever see any money for it. How did it happen? And is it legal?

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Lawsuit on the horizon

According to the experts, no, it isn’t, but so far, curated content sites are getting away with it. If you gave permission to a site to publish your work, it is illegal for that site to sell your work to another without your explicit permission. And yet, companies like B2C and NewsCred are built almost entirely on licensing out content created and copyrighted by others. Attorney Sara S. Hawkins says that a class action lawsuit is likely on the horizon.

Schaefer discovered that, while there was no mention whatsoever of sublicensing during the submission process, B2C’s terms of service state that “by posting to…the site, you are granting the site a perpetual, royalty-free, and irrevocable right to…sublicense.”

Again, this is illegal, because Schaefer was not required to read or agree to these terms before he sold his work to B2C.

Don’t let it happen to you

How can you be sure it won’t happen to you? Hawkins recommends thoroughly reading the fine print, including contributor guidelines and terms of service. Better yet, have a direct conversation with the site owner about what rights you will retain. If anyone is making money off of your content, it should be you.

#ContentThieves

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Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Kenneth Coleman

    June 13, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    The agreement is nothing new. B2C and other sites like them would have had that legal disclaimer on them from the start (it’s standard web language). If bloggers like this Schaefer guy can’t do his homework, maybe he shouldn’t syndicate his work.

  2. Pingback: How to successfully launch and grow your company’s blog - The American Genius

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