I was looking at my feed from Boxxnet for Web 2.0 related items and I saw one called "Hey, that's my data!" from Canadian Technology News. And like any good blogger, I stole what I could from the post, including, in this case, the title.
Before I even read the article, I had an idea from the title, which was that what we write online is "up for grabs" from anyone and their brother (or sister). So what if someone decides to write a book and publish it and uses only information that has already been written from other people, without giving any credit (or money) to those people who actually wrote the book? Or who takes the best of flickr and makes a beautiful coffee table book from the pictures they find? Or I watched a show on TV that is ongoing that is just a bunch of YouTube videos they have found on the internet. I can't remember what it is called but I just did a little looking on my digital cable and found a show on the Comedy Channel called Web Shows and the description is "A compilation of online videos". When I went to ComedyCentral.com, I could look it up but when I clicked on "go to site" it took me to a page with episodes they had on the web (I think). So I looked clicked on "Go to TV schedule" instead and it too me to the schedule for that show and described it as "This groundbreaking half-hour series features several of the internet's best webisodes and short-form content.".
Anyway, I know I have watched shows on TV made up of videos that other people have made and posted on the web. Now I don't have a problem at all with people sharing information that I have written or posted or videos or pictures I've taken. That is the beauty of the whole Web 2.0 concept. That it is greater than its parts. But what control is there over people taking the creative and hard worked things that people have done and using it to just make money?
Or what if someone wants to use something that you created in a way that you don't agree with? What if, for example, you took a series of beautiful nude photographs and posted them on flickr as an art set. But someone copied them and put them in Hustler magazine as "Hot Chicks from the Web"?
Or for that matter, for something a little closer to home, usurped your website and redirected to a site you found offensive? We had a website at one time that we no longer use, but since I was into koi ponds at one time and posted pictures and descriptions of our ponds, there were links to it several places. However, a porno site redirected our links to its site and even worse, it had a million popups and all sorts of things so once you got there, you couldn't get out or stop the madness. I tried every way possible to do something about it but had no luck. I couldn't even edit the places where my link was posted, or in most cases, contact the person who could.
And back to the point of the post that originally sparked this thought, what control do you even have over anything relating to you on the internet? The original post was subtitled "Why we're all on Facebook, whether we like it or not" and dealt with a situation even closer to home that I am sure we all can relate to. It is about how this person had been at a party on a cruise ship and found his picture (looking rather raggedy) on someone's facebook page. Here is a quote: "This is what happens to data in an age of social networking. We don't necessarily create the content, we don't store the content, and we have little to no control over how it is managed, distributed or manipulated. At the moment, if all you knew about me was the stuff about me you found on Facebook you'd assume I was a haggard-looking ne'er do well who spent too much time boating and not enough time sleeping. Which might be true, but it's not the entire truth."
I highly recommend you read his post, he has much to say on this particular issue and I don't really need to re-state it here. I guarantee it will hit home and raise some interesting questions.
And as you can see, I am not above stealing a catcht title, or using what someone else has written. Are you?