USER-CONTRIBUTED CONTENT plays an increasingly
important role in the Internet’s evolution, overtaking
professionally created and curated resources.
Sophisticated recording technologies allow non-professionals to produce high-quality photos and
videos. Improved editing and sharing applications
facilitate other aspects of media creation, including
larger-scale collaborative efforts. And social media
venues give their users new opportunities to publish,
curate, and recommend content. Every phase of
the creative process—from recording to editing
to publishing—has become more popular and
interactive. At the same time, content ownership has
become more complicated. Any distinct item may be
associated with a virtual web of stakeholders.
User attitudes toward online intellectual
property reveal how far social norms have
strayed from legal notions of ownership.
BY CATHERINE C. MARSHALL AND FRANK M. SHIPMAN
˽ Intellectual property law and social
norms concerning content ownership are
diverging in conspicuous ways; we find
that legally contentious actions (such as
downloading and saving content) may
seem benign to most Internet users.
˽ Managing rights relies on content owners’
ability to envision plausible reuse
scenarios, including commercial reuse
of their content as data, and predicting
which are most likely.
˽ Everyday reuse of social media content
is opportunistic, pragmatic, and highly
contextual; users reason about the
fairness of reusing other people’s content
but do not necessarily trust them to do