Copyright Traps

How could you use a copyright trap in other creative work, like writing and photography? It’s not like a watermark for photos but a way to prove the work is your own from something only you would know was an error.

The more likely story, though, is that Argleton was an example of a copyright trap, which cartographers have long used to catch would-be thieves from stealing their hard work. In this case, either Google was laying the bait for a competitor (hey, Bing?) or the mystery town was inserted in analog form long ago by Tele Atlas, the Netherlands-based company that supplied Google Maps with its initial framework.

Source: D E C E P T O L O G Y: Why digital maps killed the town of Argleton

Content Shock

Let’s fast forward one more time to 2014 and look at the two factors that impact the economics of content marketing — the amount of content available and the amount of content consumed (supply and demand).

Of course the volume of free content is exploding at a ridiculous rate. Depending on what study you read, the amount of available web-based content (the supply) is doubling every 9 to 24 months. Unimaginable, really.

However, our ability to consume that content (the demand) is finite. There are only so many hours in a day and even if we consume content while we eat, work and drive, there is a theoretical and inviolable limit to consumption, which we are now approaching.

This intersection of finite content consumption and rising content availability will create a tremor I call The Content Shock. In a situation where content supply is exponentially exploding while content demand is flat, we would predict that individuals, companies, and brands would have to “pay” consumers more and more just to get them to see the same amount of content.

Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy – Schaefer Marketing Solutions: We Help Businesses {grow}.

My comment:

You’re talking about what is mainly regurgitated content, repeated from one blog to the next and the next and then shared on social media too. There is still a “market” for fresh and original content – something which has not been duplicated and repeated and made to suit the almighty Google.

Niche blogs from people who actually are a source of information, an authority on their topic and artists who still create something of their own will still have readers.

The problems will be copyrights, not having content ripped off (shared without permission). With so many content marketers, content curators, social media and Google rank obsessed people it is not so hard to get original content picked up and shared around. The hard part is keeping the source link (the artist’s link) with the content.

There is a lack of original content and the marketers are quick to dive in when they actually find something unique because it is becoming harder to find something that hasn’t already been shared and overshared.

Sample Image Only for Content Curation?

sample image only

How Much is too Much?

There are a few issues with content ownership (copyrights) and content curating. The focus is – how much is too much? When you curate content the main point is to show what you found worth linking to. Explaining your reason for the link in a quick, simple way which will send readers to the source to read or view more. Content curators should not be copying so much information that their reader will not need to visit the source.

I know I have not done a 100% job of staying on the right side of that line. A content curator is an aggregator – the person who casts the net and chooses which hooks have the best bait in their lake (niche/ topic). The readers are the little and big fish who choose which hook to bite based on their own needs. A curator finds a lot of good stuff in the net and we want the readers to find our resource useful, topical, resourceful and an authority on the topic. It is tempting to give just a bit more, to post the information in a quick, simplified or condensed form. However, I also like being the provider of that little nibble to send readers to the mother fish. I like knowing I am generating traffic for the source of the information.

Getting it from the Source

Another issue is backtracking the link to find the actual, original source rather than those who have shared and re-shared the link. For the content curator, the original source is important to catch. To be just one more person re-linking and re-sharing is not the way to make ourselves seem a reliable authority.

Sample Image Only?

Another issue is images versus text. To content curate an image you take the whole image and paste it up. Meanwhile, for text content we take only some of the content. Should images be curated differently, as a small preview size or a partial image? I don’t see many people talking about this aspect.

When an image is the post, should we use screen capture software to just give a preview of the image, a sample of the original image, photograph or web graphic? Why is text content given more protection and consideration than illustration and image content?

Judging Criteria

HubPages is having a writing contest. But, the judging criteria aren’t all about writing a good post, for readers. They want a crappy SEO title. Not a title that might interest or intrigue readers, no… just something spammy for search engines. This bugs me! Plus, they want people to use their own photos yet HubPages doesn’t want people to retain copyrights to their images. A bit backwards then to suggest people use their own photos. They also like video in posts. I very much hate video posts, or video in post, so that just won’t be happening on any post of mine.

Mainly, I admit, the SEO stuff irks me. It always has. It’s so artificial and phony. I did change my title to something boring and bullshitty, just to give my post a touch more chance. I don’t really have much chance. There is only so much artificial junk I can stand. Besides, the idea was to answer a question posed on the site. So, unless I pretty much ignore the original question and go spinning off on a tangent of my own… I’m doomed to be writing about a topic that has been written about before, frequently.

Don’t knock tangent spinning though. At least that wouldn’t be a boring blah blah blah SEO post.


  • The extent to which the entry accurately answers the Question asked
  • The presence and quality of original photos and video
  • Whether the entry is on a long-tail, niche topic that has not been extensively covered online
  • Whether the entry has a search-friendly title (mirrors common search terms)
  • Excellent writing (proper use of grammar, capitalization)
  • The entry’s uniqueness (not copied or paraphrased from elsewhere online, full of details, examples, names, and figures)
  • Attractive formatting (avoidance of excessive link, eBay, or Amazon capsule clutter, excessive bolding or italics, and all-caps)
  • Judicious use of relevant capsules (original photos [especially your own], video, maps, tables, links, etc.)

Verifying for Technorati: 7HJRKVU9FTCE

Your Free Copyrights

Long before the Internet people used the mail service as a cheap way to protect and establish their copyrights for written material. You just make a copy of your work and mail it to yourself. If you keep the envelope sealed you have a preserved copy of your work, dated by Canada Post (insert the name of the postal service in your location).  It was a cheap and fairly good way to prove your work was your own original work.

Now we have the Internet. Publishing online is risky if you want to control your written work, your words. Copyrights are in battle with artists, governments, corporations and the public all pulling in their own directions. Each group has their own agenda and all too often they don’t really seem to listen to each other. At times they actually want the same thing and yet, can’t see it.

Anyway, today I found a link to on a blog by Veronica. I have seen it before but today I clicked the link and went for a visit.

I thought it was funny how the basis of the copyright plan was following the traditional idea of mailing your work to yourself. Something so old is still around, just in an updated version for the digital age.

This could work for most people. You would have something to show for the date your work was created. It would be using a service not of your own making to prove the date.

However, it doesn’t really do anything to control your written work online. It’s still out there, waving around like laundry on a clothes line. Anyone can still come along and take what they want. Publishing online is still reliant on the honour system, old fashioned trust and good will.

Is it frustrating? Yes. Is it worth steaming and stewing about? Not really. As individual artists we just don’t have the resources to do a lot about it. I have had my work taken. I’ve even had my ASCII Art taken and claimed to be created by the person who took it. I only know about that because she was silly and posted it to the ASCII art newsgroup as her own. I was active in that group. Everyone that mattered knew I had created the work. She looked like a fool. So, in that case I had my petty revenge and the thief did admit what she had done. From that I learned to stop focusing on controlling my work online. Once I put it out there it really is available, fully and completely. I just have to do what I can to protect it, which isn’t much.

I would like to see the copyright laws made to protect artist’s work online. But, I can’t see it really happening for us. For the corporations… yes. The music industry, the film industry… etc. those will be protected, as an industry. As individuals… I think we really just have ourselves and an old fashioned reliance on the honour system, good will and trust. Maybe a touch of karma, now and then.

Writing Content Contentedly

Being a freelance writer online is challenging. The biggest hurdles are copyrights and finding paying markets. Of course, that’s subject to change depending on what I’m working on at the time.

If you are a self publisher you will know all about fair use and copyrights. You’ve carefully borrowed content. You’ve asked almost everyone you know for a contribution to your ezine or newsletter. You’ve left them notes on their car window when they keep forgetting you finally hounded them into saying yes, a month ago. Or is that just me? Luckily there are several sites which distribute free content. But, you have to find the content you need from the general stream of articles offered. Often it’s all content you’ve run before, sometimes said in a new way or by another writer but still the same information.

Yes, ezine publishers can write all the content themselves, put up the site, create the graphics, the layout and all the little odds and ends. It is a lot to maintain and create a whole site though. If you have a life you can decide which pieces to discard such as pets, parents, jobs and kids. Friends might understand and give you some slack. Really, it’s much better to find help, free up some of your time and keep having a life.

There are endless free places a writer can be published and I don’t knock those, too much. A new writer can be published in some really good places and get their name seen in the markets they want to specialize in. But, at some point even the most timid new writer wants to see a cheque in the mail.

Also, make sure you are getting something out of the freebie work you do. Don’t give your work away to a site that publishes poorly edited work. If you want this as a writing credit make sure it really is a credit to you.

Most of all, don’t pay a site or publication to run your content. Never, for any reason. They are not doing you a favour.