Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Who profits from user-created content?

In a recent post, George Siemens pointed to a real problem "Who profits from user-created content?". "Over the last several years, end-user created content has been increasingly commercialized...and individuals are starting to ask for a piece of the revenue", George said. This issue has also been discussed in a post by from Henry Jenkins about the Youtube acquisition. "This is an issue I raised here a few weeks ago. At the heart of the Web 2.0 movement is this idea that there is real value created by tapping the shared wisdom of grassroots communities, composed mostly of fans, hobbyists, and other amateur media makers. I have often celebrated these efforts as helping to pave the way for a more participatory culture -- one that will be more diverse and innovative because it expands the range of content we can access. Yet, as I suggested here a few weeks ago, there is a nagging question -- if these grassroots efforts are generating value (and in fact, wealth) and their creative power is being tapped by major corporations, at what point should they start receiving a share of revenue for their work?

We have all seen major media companies telling us that file-sharing is bad because it takes other people's intellectual property without just compensation. So, why are these same companies now taking their audience's intellectual property for free? Do we understand their profits primarily as a tax to support the infrastructure that enables their distribution?", said.

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