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Facebook’s Piracy Problem Isn’t Affecting Its Plans to Host Original Content, Strangely Enough

8560618867_010ae3da7b_bDo you recall all the talk about Facebook hosting original content (both articles and video)?

That’s not going to come to much if the Face doesn’t get its piracy problems under control. Business Insider noticed this week that when it comes to video piracy, Facebook is effectively the wild wild west:

Facebook’s video views are skyrocketing — but there’s a dark side to this growth. The social network also has a serious problem with copyright infringement, and rights holders say the company is doing little to stop it.

Some of the biggest celebrities on the site are lifting viral videos created by others, sharing them with their fanbases, and then earning money on the clicks those views generate on links to their own work on iTunes or elsewhere.

Even when the videos are ultimately deleted, they can rack up tens of millions of views within days — and make the thieves serious money in the process.

This is by no means a new problem. I don’t spend much time on FB but I’ve seen enough reposted videos on FB to know this has been a problem for years. In fact, I thought FB had already solved.

When Facebook announced the slew of new video and other features, did you notice that they did not announce any type of automated copyright scanner? I had assumed that Facebook already had such a tool, but I was wrong.

Youtube may have Content ID, and Vimeo may have launched its own scanner in May 2014, but somehow Facebook has managed to avoid taking any proactive steps to fight piracy.  That is  a startling statement to make in 2015, but it is true.

Rather than having any real protections in place against piracy, Facebook has taken a pro forma position similar to the one Google has taken with piracy in Google Play Books. According to BI, Facebook said that the social network "respects the intellectual property rights of others and is committed to helping third parties protect their rights".

Bear in mind that this is the same site which enables pirate kings:

Rapper Ludacris has previously shared material belonging to Lichtenberger without permission with his 19 million fans. Gossip blogger Perez Hilton (1.5 million) is another example. Skogmo pointed me towards comedian Dane Cook, who has been sharing Jukin Media’s content without permission among his 4.5 million fans.

And perhaps most prolifically, there’s Tyrese Gibson. The Verge’s Chris Plante has previously written about the singer, who is "lifting the internet’s most viral videos for fame and fortune" — and amassing a 25-million-strong following on Facebook in the process.

I can’t speak for you but I for one am having trouble squaring the official statement with Facebook’s record. And yet for some strange reason Facebook continues to operate blithely.


BI thinks the piracy issue is going to cause a problem, but I’m not so sure.  If this were bothered any of the publishers that Facebook is wooing the we would have heard about it months ago.

A dozen or more articles have been written on and around Facebook’s plans to host content, and I can’t recall any publishers expressing concerns over piracy.

Does that mean Facebook is working on a solution which they are keeping under wraps, or does it mean that the screaming hasn’t gotten loud enough to get Facebook’s attention?

image by mkhmarketingSean MacEntee

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