Interactive copyright symbol: The 21st century monetization tool for content creators

Posted on Jul 25, 2013
By Ellie Becker

It’s more difficult than ever for musicians, photographers, writers and other content creators to thrive in our online economy. 

That’s because a culture of “free” has taken root, depriving the creative class of the fruits of its labors.

The traditional copyright symbol may put users on notice, but hasn’t really offered protection for online content, which is so easily copied and reused.

Plus, it does nothing to express to the world the unique value of a piece of content beyond asserting a creator’s rights in the work.

A Foothold for Piracy and Plagiarism

Even when we want to license and pay for content, the current environment can make it difficult, if not impossible.

Just last week, we wanted to license a photo that was re-blogged thousands of times on Tumblr, Pinterest and elsewhere, without attribution.

Sadly, the photographer/rights holder could not be identified; the opportunity to be paid for his or her creative efforts was lost.

This happens on social networks and blogs over and over again every single day. Perhaps creators will borrow a line from the classic movie “Network,” and collectively say, “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

“Authors and Publishers Gotta Eat!”

We love this quote, from Tomely, a website that offers a DRM-free (Digital Rights Management) publishing platform for indie authors. In these five words, Connor Tomas O’Brien sums up the crux of the content debate.

Why should musicians and photographers, writers, bloggers, and others who share their work online, give their labors away for free?

After all, it’s not free to create content!

In the case of professional media and traditional publishers, there’s a cost of hiring top talent and housing them and developing new digital formats for news and opinion delivery.

In the case of bloggers and writers, there’s an investment and commitment of time and knowledge that helps others.

Hope For An Endangered Creative Class

Yet, amidst this cultural shift, a few things offer hope:

  • Content creators are beginning to buck the system, and demand better treatment.
  • We encounter individuals daily who ARE willing to pay for content, and who reject the morally bankrupt practice of content theft.
  • Innovative tech entrepreneurs are addressing this conundrum with real, workable solutions.

Recent blog posts in Medium and elsewhere have shown just how ready the creative class is to embrace a solution.

Two recent posts by Elmo Keep“The Case Against Free” in MusicJunkee and “Combating the Cost of the ‘Free’ Economy” in ThoughtJunkee -- show that the debate is picking up steam!

It's also why we created the interactive copyright notice. The iCopyright Toolbar basically makes online content what we call "License Friendly" -- amplifying the benefits of a traditional copyright symbol -- making it easy to obtain instant licensing and other options for reuse.

But there’s a lot to be done to shift the culture back to a place of greater fairness.

Emerging Content Monetization Strategies:

Content Creators: Try repubHub

In our next post, we will explore three emerging content monetization strategies that we think are worth a special look.

In the meantime, would you like to get broader distribution for your original content?

Contribute your content to repubHub, to build traffic and monetize your work!

It's free to join--and adding our toolbar is easy. It can be installed in under a minute with our WordPress, Drupal, or other CMS plug-ins.

repubHub can also serve as a great source of republishable content for your site.

We hope you'll take a moment to try repubHub, and let us know what you think.

Learn More About repubHub

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