Michael Geist @mgeist and the Turning Tide of Legal Implications of Social #cdniabc12

This is one session I don’t want to miss at International Association of Business Communicator’s (IABC) Summit 2012, Trends 2012.

In the last year events have transpired that have huge implications on how social media will impact the way information is curated and shared: Pinterest and the IP issues; the ongoing debate on Bill C32.

Michael Geist has spoken at length about intellectual property (IP) and the “fair use” of copyright.

The fact that Pinterest was called out as a platform that infringes on copyright has tremendous effect on how all other platforms deal with consumer use of images/property for which they have no real legal ownership.

This speaks to the heart of Digital Rights Management, which is defined by Wikipedia as”a class of access control technologies that are used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, copyright holders and individuals with the intent to limit the use of digital content and devices after sale.”

Imagine what this would do to user-generated content. Remember, according to Forrester’s Social Media Ladder that the number of “creators” in Social Media make up approximately 13% of the total who are part of social networks. Mind you that was at least 5 years ago. Now that penetration is growing… and growing rapidly.

The infographic below provides a view of the value of content marketing. Here are some critical numbers:

  • 90% of B2B marketers use some form of content marketing
  • 60% pf B2B marketers plan to spend more $$ on content marketing
  • content primarily used in article posting (79%), social networks (74%) and blogs (65%)
  • the investment that companies are investing in unique “owned” content is significant at 25%

The value of that content to the customer/prospect is demonstrated in the amount of shares, republishing, or any ‘derivative” form of the original content use. Imagine what would happen if doing any of this “behaviour” constitutes a possible “criminalization” of individuals. The limits and standards are still being worked out and I may be taking this to the extreme, but I need to see that scenario in order to clarify what may manifest at that “extreme”.

The larger picture is how it would impact the Internet as a whole. The collapse of networks who rely on the sharing of information will result…. not at first, but it will put a strain on the online population as they come to think twice about choosing to or “how” they share the content.

What is the point of brand investment in content if they were unable to really determine its value? We are all held shackled to a set of rules that government creates to protect the rights of the content owner, but in the end, wind up punishing those very same owners as a result. How ironic!

Where social media seeks to democratize information and allow the masses to have a say, the impending laws, Bill C32, may turn the tables and bring back control to the corporation. And that would have severe consequences on networks, information and the internet as a whole.

The Hope for the Internet

I went to Michael Geist’s site and saw some glimmers of hope:

He states that the Copyright Modernization Act combined with  the Reduce U.S. Pressure Copyright Act combined will seek a compromise on a few issues:

  • on fair dealing, it adds education, parody, and satire as categories.
  • on education, it creates several limited new exceptions, that arguably are too limited, but still mark an improvement over the current act.
  • on consumer rights, it creates important new exceptions for time shifting, format shifting, and backup copies. Those exceptions are undermined, however, by the digital lock rules.
  • on creativity, it establishes the new remix provision that protects individuals who create their own non-commercial mashups

If you have a chance to go to International Association of Business Communicator’s (IABC) Summit 2012, I urge you to also check out the following sessions:

  • The Power of Internal Branding: The Communicator’s Secret Weapon – Day 2 with David Grossman
  • Content in Context and the Content Marketing Revolution – Day 2 with Jonathan Harris
  • Privacy and Communications in Changing Times – Day 2 with Jennifer Stoddard, Privacy Commissioner
  • Communicating During Times of Crisis – Day 3 with Anick Losier

[Image Credit: Bigstock.com]

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