Corbin's Treehouse - Corbin Dunn, Santa Cruz, CA
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Facebook promotes stealing other people’s content

I’ve had the unfortunate affair of several people stealing one of my videos to gain hits on their Facebook pages.

It is this video: LED Cyr Wheel v2 – Initial Test, that I uploaded to YouTube in April 2014:

I blogged about it here, and it this is the YouTube link:

The two copies of my video are: Krafty Kuts (2/25/15: 413,081 views, 4757 shares) and Cypher-Glover (2/25/15: 65,000 views, 1482 shares). Cypher promptly responded to my request to update the video — Krafty took a while longer, but probably because they are on the other side of the pond (UK). My video on Youtube (2/25/15) has ~7,000 views.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m super happy this video has been seen so much, and it has directly and indirectly increased traffic to my site. I’m also talking with Krafty’s manager about doing some sort of collaboration, and Cypher is going to re-post my video on some other site (at some point). I will gladly share my projects, videos, and photos with people — I just like to get proper credit if someone re-posts something I did. If people are going to make money off of my content, then it would be nice to get some sort of kick back (licensing). Having Krafty and Cypher add links does help me; this directly gives my website referrals and I get more traffic. Google ads on this site help pay for the hosting via traffic, but I’m talking about $100/year — and usually I don’t make that much in a year off of advertising.

People create content. They write text in a blog, take pictures, film videos, do performances, and create artwork. The people creating that work have a right to control how it is used, and other people can buy it from them or license the use of it. Or people can explicitly give their content away with an open license, such as a Creative Commons license. Things that aren’t explicitly given away are owned by the content creator.

Now I do freely give away ideas and processes on how to make things. I could have patented my LED Cyr Wheel; it’s construction was invented by me through experimentation and design (actually, I still covet the code). I could have patented my V-frame 36 unicycle or custom handlebars. But I did not want to because I want other people to build on my ideas, and tell me about how they made them better. I want other people to be able to make things that I have made. I have learned so much from the internet, like how to build an electric car. I enjoy sharing with people my ideas and having them build upon them. I also know I have helped other people with their businesses; I know a few people who are building cyr wheels, and probably are in some part using some techniques I documented on my blog.

Unfortunately, Facebook promotes stealing other people’s content. People go to YouTube and grep around for short cool videos. They then illegally download them with something like Clip Converter, and proceed to upload it to their Facebook page as a “public” video so anyone can see it. Some choice wording describes the video, like “Imagine showing up to the rave with one of these.”, and tons of people watch and share it on their Facebook pages. The description does not reference where they got the content from. I don’t blame the people watching and sharing the video; I blame the person who stole the video and uploaded it. People actually have a job where they do this for a living to promote musicians! I hope they will think twice about taking videos like this. Even if there was a reference to the original content, it is still illegal to copy a video and upload it to another site — let’s be clear, that is the essence of what pirating is.

I don’t just blame the person who uploads the video, but I also blame Facebook. People want to have the video appear on their site because a “Facebook Business page” will get higher ranking and more exposure. They do not want to have links leaving Facebook because it lowers their rank. Cypher – Glover – who’s job listed on Facebook is “Social Media Manager”, was the first person who uploaded my video to his page. He later updated the description to give me credit, so I was okay with this. He specifically told me the following:

“Links kill reach, i cannot link directly within the text post to an outside site of facebook without hurting our edgerank (facebooks way of handling pages) and therefore hurting our reach on not just the post but our page as well. One thing i can do is place a call-to-action button, What that is, is a “Shop Now” or “Read More” or “watch more” button which is present on the video itself so people can see the source from which the video came from. It drives all clicks and conversions to your site, with nothing on our end but us sharing your name and content. Would that be okay with you? the cool thing about it is that after 24 hours, i am allowed to post the link into the text. Meaning that if people love it as much as they did on my page, and you reach shares in the hundreds, your link to your website will be on hundreds of peoples walls where people can see it. Direct uploads are the highest driving content, this one is pretty self explanatory, and means that i would just have to repost the video directly to our page, which i think you expected already.”

My answer to him is yes, it is okay to do this. But people who do this type of marketing should strive to reach out to content owners in the first place and ask for permission! Or, better yet, license their content. PS, Cypher, if it isn’t okay to quote you, please let me know and I can remove and paraphrase it. I also figured this is common knowledge, but not everyone understands it.

Wait, is it really illegal to download someone’s video from YouTube? Technically yes, it is. Here are the term’s of service, which I captured as an image in case it changes:


I highlighted the important part. My video does not have a Download link. Even if it did, the second part still applies; “one can not copy, reproduce…or otherwise exploit any Content” the media managers are violating this term to it’s fullest!

Unfortunately, I’m sure it is impossible to track who scrape or download videos with a service like Clip Converter.

I also blame the millennials. They have grown up in the internet era, and feel like sharing content without attribution is okay. Sort of like how my generation (X) felt like it was okay to “share” (aka: pirate) music on Napster. It really wasn’t okay to do that. Yet people do have limits; people seem to realize that it would not be okay to copy Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda video and upload it to their Facebook page. VEVO would be all over them, and they know it. But they don’t see the guy who films Star Wars pancakes characters as threatening, and therefore upload his (or her) video and get views off of it.

Of course, sharing the original content as-is is fine. An original YouTube video creator has their description listed, and their ads play, and they potentially make money off of it. Posting the Youtube link will convert to an inline video and looks very similar to the Facebook user —- but the person or social media manager will not get as much credit. Therefore, they don’t do it. This is a shame.

What have I learned? Always have my website URL in my videos — even for stupid short videos like this one. Don’t let your content get away!

2 Responses to “Facebook promotes stealing other people’s content”

  1. Jesse Hughson says:

    Smarter Every Day did a great video on this recently:

    And thank you again so much for keeping your stuff open source! I’m doing the same with my additions to your design :)

  2. corbin says:

    Cool Jesse — I’ll check it out!

(c) 2008-2017 Corbin Dunn

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