This is the internet – Great content gets stolen ALL THE TIME. That “logic” is, however, not fair on the real reason why we enjoy online content – the creators.
Which is why more efforts are being made to make it difficult to share what’s not yours. Facebook just added another tool to that fight with its new Rights Manager feature.
Launched at the ongoing Facebook F8 Developers’ Conference, Rights Manager is an administration tool for Facebook Pages that lets administrators upload videos they don’t want others to use or upload.
Facebook then actively keeps track of copies of the videos that end up being posted on the social media platform, and it can then automatically report them as violations to be deleted or notify the original publisher.
It works in the same way as YouTube Content ID, a key feature which has helped the video focused platform position itself as a more suitable platform for protecting the intellectual property and earning potential of content creators’ work.
Why is this such a big deal?
For ordinary consumers of video content who aren’t bothered about whether they get to watch a video on Facebook or YouTube, the impact of Rights Manager is probably not worth mentioning.
However, for internet video creators who have moulded their revenue models around views, there is a serious problem that lies in the unsolicited distribution of their content from Facebook pages that are not entitled to those views.
Through a process called freebooting, some Facebook pages rip videos from platforms like YouTube as well as traditional TV or even from other Pages before posting the videos as their own. This creates added engagement and views from followers.
Freebooting has been heavily criticised by content creators who have been unable to police the free distribution of content.
Interestingly, Facebook has been singled out as the biggest culprit because of a failure to nip the practice – something which has been attributed to the fact that Facebook enjoys sorting numbers of views and engagement at the cost of the creators.
Popular YouTube creators, In A NutShell, even created a video that succinctly captures the beef that content creators have with Facebook and freebooting.
Rights Manager is not yet openly available but Facebook has opened up an application for all interested content creators. It hasn’t started fixing the freebooting mess yet, but its premise is enough to offer some form of relief for those affected.
For African Internet video content creators, this new feature has an even greater significance, mostly because of Facebook’s prominence as a the primary repository of content.
In addition to content creators also distributing their material on the social network, its popularity makes it the one platform where pages are out to gain prominence something which can be aided significantly by views and engagement that come from freebooted videos.
The same can be said for Zimbabwe where Facebook, which is the second most popular platform after WhatsApp, is spurred on by bundled services from mobile operators who provide the widest distribution of internet.
A tool to protect content on that same popular platform from being shared illicitly has an intellectual property cover that creators might not be willing to rush to embrace at the money but will need to do so as the dynamics such as views and reach change.