Last Friday Turre Publishing published the book Community Created Content. In short; its about law, business models and policy issues of user created content. Longer description below. Buziaulane‘s Jak Boumans has excellent four part review of the book. 1 2 3 4. Creative Commons blog also has a short review.
This book presents an overview of the complex legal, business and policy issues in community created content. First, the book briefly treats the major doctrines in copyright law as well other (Finnish and international) laws regulating community created content services. Anyone wishing to start a new service should have a general understanding of the most relevant laws that affect community created content services.
Then, the book turns to open content licensing. Creative Commons is a leading but somewhat controversial project.
However, Creative Commons copyright licenses are tested and can be recommended for most community content services – with the general reservations that apply to all licensing decisions.
From law the book switches to business. It is subject to wild guesses what is the real business impact of community created content in the long term. In fact, the impact is already difficult to measure as the boundaries between community content and traditionally produced content blur. One scenario is that what one can today label as “community created content” will be just “content” in the future. The example of YouTube shows that community created content services
may be just one acquisition away from major media companies. Something similar has happened to open source software. On the other hand, there remain also community-based projects such as Wikipedia, which cannot be sold. This reminds of the free software ideology, which stresses societal impact over business impact.
Finally, the book discussed the details of actual policy issues in community created content. Copyright has been the hot potato of Internet policy as long as the Internet has existed. It is also in the heart of community created content. As many other books before, this book treats through a set of carefully though proposals to change copyright doctrines to reflect better the Internet reality. While the suggestions may not be implemented any time soon they should anyhow create a basis for further discussion. The book also suggests some intermediate alternatives for community content risk management. For example, best practise documentation for different aspects of copyright management may work as a shield against negligence-claims. Another major issue is the interplay between different licensing projects. No one needs another licensing project to produce another set of incompatible licenses.