Do I Own My Content?

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If you own a blog or are active on social media platforms then you need consider some pertinent issues.

  1. Do you own the rights to what you post?
  2. Will the platform you create the content on always be available to you?

If you created the content that you distribute online then you own it. However, if you allocated the rights to another party or if it violates copyright laws then you don’t own it. The platforms (Facebook, WordPress, etc.) you create the content on do not always have to be available to you. They are there so you can post and share content, however they can choose not to do so for a number of reasons.

Most of these platforms begin as free services. The owner of the platform can’t guarantee the service will always be available or free, so promising the platforms will always be available would be too great of a risk. Essentially they have to preserve the right to suspend customers or delete their content.

Make Sure to Read the Terms and Conditions

Social media and other platforms where you can post content to, retain the right to terminate or suspend one’s service at their discretion, at any time. When you sign up for their service this is always mentioned in their terms and conditions.

The only difference is in how each platform executes their terminations. Google is very generous and gives users to all their social properties a reasonable amount of time to gather their content if they are going to discontinue their service. However there are platforms like Tumblr (owned by Yahoo!) who say they may change, discontinue, or suspend any of your services at any time. This became a highly talked about story because one of their users, who had over 100,000 followers, got their account dissolved without any chance of taking down their material over 5 complaints about using copyrighted material.

These platforms don’t even have to examine or explore these complaints. If they are getting multiple complaints about a singular account they will probably just delete the user to ease the hassle. At the end of the day make sure you are posting real, genuine content so you don’t lose your reputation or following. It can take months of hard work to build a reputation as an authority in your industry, but only hours to tear it down.

Protect What You Produce

Here is a list to help you minimize your risk of losing your content.

  • Always read the terms and conditions of any platform you decide to sign up for and abide by them
  • If there are any allegations on copyright, respond quickly. All allegations should be taken seriously.
  • Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Build your reputation, fan base, and your work on multiple platforms. Make sure you have all your content saved offline as well.
  • Always have a back-up plan in case your account gets deleted or suspended.

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