Is FaceBook Engaging In IP Theft?

Here I go posting past midnight again …

Besides this blog I run a local media site in my small town. It’s using WordPress for the site engine. You can see it at gftv.ca

I run local news stories, city council, local events and have a community events calendar. I shoot a fair amount of video in the community and post that to YouTube and it ends up in article postings on my site. The community events calendar portion predates the rest of the site. if you go to whatsupgf.com you end up on a page at gftv.ca

Between 2008 and now I’ve put up hundreds of videos shot here in town and about things going on in the town.

I also have a Facebook group associated with the events calendar identity of the site.

Last spring I thought I saw behaviour on Facebook, by Facebook itself, that I found rather disturbing … it had to do with what happens when I, or someone else, posts a link to an article on a site like mine.

Before I get into that I’d like to backtrack and point out that for a few years Google was in a rather large argument with a number of news organizations regarding Google’s news aggregator. If you look at the Google News page you see a lot of headlines with a small abstract and thumbnail. When you click on the link you go into the target website to the particular article. Some news websites complained that this bypassing of their web site’s front pages was bad form. Denying them revenue because you didn’t have to go clicking through links on ad laden pages on their sites to find the article.

Personally I never agreed with them – if I had to do that then I’d likely not visit their site all that much but if I was already in their site I’d be more likely to take a look around to see if there might be something else of interest. And it’s not as if google was stealing their website content and keeping the visitor from ever going to the site – the idea is to get them to do that.

Now let’s get back to what I thought I saw Facebook do some time ago …

I had just posted a video to YouTube, written an article on gftv.ca with the YT video embedded inside it and then created a post on the group wall in Facebook that contained a link to the gftv.ca article. After I posted to Facebook it sure looked like Facebook made it possible for someone to watch the video from my article without visiting my website … effectively ripping the video out of my article and embedding it in a Facebook page. What that means is a casual viewer who did not follow the link, they did preserve the link, that casual viewer might not even visit the article – would never read my words. And, if I did have ads on the page on my site, I would see zero revenue from the consumption of my media but it would enhance Facebook’s product offering to it’s customers.

If someone takes your Property and uses it in a way you do not agree to that denies you revenue but generates revenue for them then is that not some form of theft?

Have I agreed to this by signing on with Facebook?

Even if I as a person have actually agreed to it I would point out that if this happens when someone not associated with my website posts a link to an article on the site then it is NOT something that they have my permission to give away.

When I first noticed this it didn’t appear to stick – the Facebook post appeard to go back to ‘normal’ right away. Lat night I noticed it again as I posted another time. And the chain of events followed the same pattern: youtube -> gftv.ca – facebook which ends up YT-video-embedded-in-Facebook.

This time I got a screen grab facebook media theft article_edited

I don’t claim to be a lawyer so I cannot say for sure if FaceBook is violating any laws. But I am a creator of Intellectual Property and I reserve the right to control how and where that IP is shared, used, exploited or loaned. It is MY RIGHT NOT FACEBOOK’S.

My rights are my rights regardless of how small I am and large Facebook is.

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