Home > BCS, Content Protection > The Rules of UGC

The Rules of UGC

While this may sound like some nasty blood sport, it actually marks the first step on the journey to a well-balanced approach to the use, and control, of User Generated Content on the Web 2.x world of today / tomorrow.

A couple of DRMWatch articles have done a good job of explaining the recent developments in this area. Thefirst article relates how content owners like Disney, Fox, Viacom and NBC Universal came together with UGC operators like MySpace and Microsoft (but not Google) to hammer out what has become known as the UGC Principles. These principles provide clear guidelines to UGC website operators, and offers a huge carrot whereby content owners will not pursue copyright infringement actions on offending content provided the operators adhere to these principles in good faith.

The second article discusses the additional principles proposed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation which focuses on the Fair Use aspects of UGC. It primarily deals with the rather thorny question of how to determine if and when the Fair Use argument can be applied to UGC without resorting to the traditional legal process.

In my opinion, both developments embody a much more constructive mindset than the out-and-out legal warfare we have witnessed in the past. Mutual cooperation and collaboration and seems to be the best way forward for all parties involved. However the question remains as to whether this can be sustained and how long before some spoilsport content owner or UGC operator throws a spanner in the works. What do you think?

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