Walking a Fine Line: When is Sharing Considered Stealing?

As fans of anything, a lot of us like to share our passions with others so that they may also bask in that same awesomeness. This is a common human trait a lot of us exercise in our social media run world.

Now imagine that this thing that you like so much which you share to everyone is actually hurting the people behind the work. That fandom which you want to express so much actually ends up being the downfall of that very thing you love. Should this sort of thing be stopped entirely or is there a way for content creators to turn it around to their benefit?

Walking a Fine Line: When is Sharing Considered Stealing?

This is specifically in reference to recent Facebook status updates made by ScrewAttack.com owner “Stuttering” Craig Skistimas. It was over the past weekend where he posted on his page the following outcry.

"Stuttering" Craig

“Stuttering” Craig

“So I’m looking through YouTube and our stuff is ALL OVER it uploaded by other people. Do they realize that regardless of what they are putting in their description they still are literally stealing? Stealing the content and posting as their own REGARDLESS of if they say ‘I do not own this’ or ‘I did not make this’ in the description. Stealing money and views from the people who spent literally hours and days creating that content.”

As a result, many comments followed with points made on both sides of the argument. Those who agreed pushed the notion that, as a business owner, Craig has the right to be upset and take action if he so chooses. On the other side of the fence, there were cries of “hypocrisy” and “double standard” where many folks claimed they found out about the site and their videos through posts on other channels. I’ll admit, even I commented originally questioning Craig’s outburst over this.

Having time to think on it, I can understand where someone in his position is coming from to a certain degree. You absolutely have to keep a watch over any situations where content that you or your company made is unlawfully being used. In cases where if people are actually profiting from videos made by ScrewAttack with no link or credit, that’s when the hammer should come down.

"It's a-me, lawsuit!"

“It’s a-me, lawsuit!”

What about the average fan who doesn’t mean any harm? How could they go about posting content that’s not theirs the right way? Personally, I believe everything is cool as long as there is a link to the site where the content came from.originally. That way if viewers are seeing a particular video from a series (e.g. Video Game Vault or Top 10) for the first time, they have an easy way of finding more of the same content as well as giving views where they rightfully belong.

Craig also seemed to share a similar viewpoint a couple of days after posting his original status update.

“Pretty amazing response to the post about people uploading our content to YT (YouTube) on their channels. As suspected, I’ve been called a hypocrite and a douchebag for, once again, simply wondering why people would take (not share) our content. This is not me complaining – simply observing the culture of the Internet. To be clear: I VERY much want EVERYONE to share ScrewAttack’s videos, news, community posts, etc to your friends. Just do it the right way. Embed the videos, like the page on Facebook, tweet about it, post links.”

ScrewAttack.com

He continues by addressing the different arguments brought up such as posting videos that’s not theirs on the site as well as people finding out about ScrewAttack for the first time from another channel. The closing statement sums up nicely how differently those who create and view videos can see this issue.

“The original post is a great look into the psyche of how people look at online video. The thing I hope people consider is that while to most it’s ‘just a video’, to the people who created those videos it’s a way of life. That’s not meant to sound preachy or anything like that. It’s simply pointing out the different mindsets of the producer and the viewer of content. Remember – I’m both of those.”

"Stuttering" Craig hosting Hard News

“Stuttering” Craig hosting Hard News

In the end, folks have to realize that they run a risk when putting up any content that is not their own. That may sound like common sense but it’s worth bringing up in this post-Napster world where younger generations may not put much thought into this sort of thing. If you’re totally unsure how to go about posting up something, it never hurts to ask the owner of said content. You may be surprised how willing that person is especially when it means expanding their audience.

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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4 thoughts on “Walking a Fine Line: When is Sharing Considered Stealing?

  1. Pingback: Walking a Fine Line: When is Sharing Considered Stealing? - Blog by logicallydashing - IGN

  2. Sharing videos: No, Posting them as your own: Yes. As an avid content creator I get super stoked when someone shares my stuff. If someone were to steal it and attempt to purpose it as there’s, then we have a problem. As long as it’s attributed properly and done in good faith, I see it as a plus

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