‘THIEVERY IS KILLING THE INTERNET’
Journo, racer, purveyor of fine facts and tomfoolery online
Ever since the advent of social media, there’s been a fresh 21st century first-world irritation regularly boiling my blood: the mindless theft of photos and other intellectual property which are the intangible creations of the human intellect. Except, of course, they are tangible. This narrative trickles over to every other industry but, being a hardworking freelancer who deals with this on an everyday basis, it’s a particularly personal and poignant matter in the motorcycle sector.
When you work your balls off, slaving over creative content and putting every fibre of your being into publishing informative, and hopefully entertaining, substance to the world, only for other websites, Facebook pages and Instagram accounts to steal said content; it’s a far bigger deal to those on this side of the fence. Whether it’s MCN or a blogging site, it doesn’t matter; the effect is the same.
“Oh, but it’s only a photo.” Oh, that’s ok then. When you consider photographers’ day rates start at £250 and go as far north as £750, and then you include the effort and cost of arranging the bikes, locations, riders and frequent Mcdonalds stops, not to mention the blood, sweat and tears that go into postproduction; it’s a royal pin in the botty.
And I don’t care if it’s only little Nathan stuck in a bedroom in Cardiff, innocently stealing wheelie pics. The fact that little Nathan is building a following out of stealing over peoples’ work by gaining likes, clicks and shares and consequently selling a product, means he’s directly profiting from my hard work. Theft of intellectual property should be treated the same as burglary. Crime isn’t supposed to pay, remember?
And then there’s video, which has even more value. To be fair to Youtube, they’ve worked hard on vetoing software that allows embezzlement of content, although that dwindles into insignificance when you realise someone could remotely shut down a city by pressing a few buttons.
On the one hand, you could argue that ‘publishing’ content on the interweb invites any Tom, Dick or Harry to right click and save any pic they’d like, but that’s not how things should work. The internet is almost impossible to police, although education should be just as important as punishment, as some of today’s society is genuinely unaware of correct protocol