It’s Okay to Steal Online Content?

:: This was originally posted a guest commentary on ::

Youtube Facebook Radio Content Theft Embed ShareI’ve been meaning to write this for awhile.  And finally, I’m going to say it.


Video copyright infringement has been running rampant on Facebook for awhile now.  But over the last few months, I’ve noticed RADIO has gotten into the game.  Which is funny, because I thought it was all about the music and nothing but the music with PPM?  Hmmmmm.

The main culprit is someone finding a “viral” video on a Facebook page or YouTube video, using software available online to download it, and then uploading it to their own page without giving any sort of credit, acting as if it’s their own.

Why?  Because “viral” is the hot term and some consultant said “you need to do more of that.”

I mean, why take the time to create your OWN content when you can steal someone else’s

Earlier, I brought this up on a post on my Facebook wall.

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Along with this, I pointed out one culprit that was brought to my attention: “Mix 94.1” WHBC-FM Canton, Ohio.  On their Facebook page were numerous videos uploaded as if they owned them without giving credit.  One video even starts with a voiceover identifying the video as being from, where it has been seen over 2.3 million times on YouTube.  Blatantly obvious, huh?

Case in point….


I decided to call out the people who work at the station to find out why they feel this is okay. The station’s morning host chimed in with this:

If the video is uploaded TO Facebook, it becomes the property of Facebook per their TOS. So if a video is ON Facebook and is scoped off of Facebook and is reuploaded TO Facebook there isn’t any ‘intellectual theft” as alleged because the video is the property of Facebook.

That’s really pushing the rules a bit, huh?  Isn’t that like saying “well I heard something on the radio and the radio is public airwaves controlled by the FCC and my tax money, so I can do exactly what you did anyway without a problem.”

For the record, I was blocked moments later after I pointed out one of their videos was ripped off from a Cumulus station in Atlanta. It was obvious it was from the Atlanta station… the mic flag visible in the video had the Atlanta station’s logo all over it.  Oops.  Try using that excuse you gave me with their lawyer in court.

Ironically, Cumulus in Atlanta is another one of the culprits where CHR “Q100” got twice as many views as the original poster despite the lack of credit and theft. iHeartMedia’s Atlanta cluster also appears to be a frequent offender. CHR “Power 96.1” ripped the extremely viral video of the Delaware police officer lip syncing Taylor Swift’s Shake It Off.  The anonymous social media manager at Alternative “Radio 105.7” WRDA says “My Dog Rules” in an abbreviated clip from an uploader in the UK, where at least the original poster’s username is displayed on the lifted video.

I could go on for hours with this.  There’s THAT many examples of content theft.

Why does Facebook allow this to go on?

Facebook is becoming increasingly reliant on video. The company states that video posts per person has increased 75% globally and 94% in the US in 2014. The Guardian reported earlier this year on how Facebook is looking to take down YouTube. The Daily Dot made a detailed report in October on the copyright infringement issues plaguing Facebook

Some of the biggest pages on the site, including celebrities and media companies, are uploading copyrighted material illegally—with no consequences whatsoever.

Radio stations and other brands that steal the works of others are not profiting directly, as any advertising revenue on Facebook goes ONLY to Facebook.  The stations use these works to attempt to bring visitors to their pages, regardless of the relevance of doing so. How does a 55 year-old Australian discovering the page of a CHR in Atlanta via sharing bring revenue to the radio station? How does that Australian benefit your client looking for results from their ad dollars, say a local car dealer wanting to sell vehicles to local listeners?

You want to share videos people are talking about… I get it! But that’s what you have to do.  SHARE. Don’t download and upload as your own. Use the share button next to any content and do it the proper way. Take it from someone who has had his content stolen: we appreciate you sharing, not stealing.

Radio personalities are just that: personalities!  They’re paid (nowhere near enough) to be themselves on the air and build a relationship with the listener on the other side.  I’d bet you a candy bar from the break room that your staff comes up with and says funny things all the time that would make for GREAT online content.  Is it really that hard to press record on that camera embedded in nearly every cell phone, tablet, and laptop and create your own unique video content with that material that makes yourselves laugh?  No.  It’s not.  If you don’t believe me, feel free to contact me and I’ll show you how…