Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bloggers are yappy chihuahuas? (On obeying copyright claims)

Yesterday Fredrik Svedjetun of Dagens Media wrote an editorial where he decided to compare the community of at least Swedish bloggers to yappy chihuahuas. The generalization and silliness aside - this is a part of a long running discussion (both pages in Swedish, sorry about that) about how DM request payment for when their copyright protected material has been used by bloggers, which in turn has made the bloggers furious for more or les wellfounded reasons (therefore the yapping).

Before giving my view on this debate, I'd like to display a picture of myself depicted as a roundabout dog:

Now to the issue at hand - obviously there is a bit of friction between what is with some despise called "old media" and the new media represented by bloggers (though which to be fair should include also microbloggers, youtubers, podcasters, shoutcasters, livestreamers etc.), on the way things are done, accountability and licensing. My simplistic judgement is that the new media of course will play according to different rules, you cannot register a legal entity for every space in which you would like to share your thoughts, comment or communicate, and you can't keep track of if your material may be dissipated in either of these spaces. Though if someone manages to catch and complain to you (as was the case with Blondinbella and deeped), I suggest you follow the law and fold as much as you have to. Simple as that - they have the law on their side so quit whining!

On the other hand, we of the new media are also in our every right to make a lot of noise about copyright holders choices to greedily charge us if we'd without buying a license use their material, and it's not making Dagens Media look very good. Don't whine - notice, complain and show disliking by buying your services from someone you like better the next time.

To the point of diminishing the Swedish "blogosphere", indeed they are largely Stockholm-residing latte-sipping MF's, but they have also proven a couple of times that they are being heard and that they can accomplish some very real changes on society, which is enough reason to want to consider myself part of them. It's a bit curious though - the Swedish blogosphere is so much more tightly knit through sites like knuffa (Swedish that even with a smaller potential audience, I would probably reach a much larger actual audience if I would write in Swedish than I do currently, writing in English. The global internet is simply to big and I'm excluded from the Swedish blogosphere since I want to be read also by my Estonian friends and others. I will have to suffer that for now I guess.

(Update: Simon has generalized the whole thing into a simple yet efficient scheme for achieving more visitors to your web sites. Yes, sometimes a small fine or bill is cheap to pay compared to the publicity you get - now if I only would be able to make money off the doubtfully legal things I do...)

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