Freebooting. It sounds like something that you might have stored on an old AOL floppy disk back in the day. In fact, it’s a very real and current problem facing many online creators. In essence, Freebooting occurs any time anyone takes some sort of digital media and passes it off as their own on another site.
Of course in of itself, that’s a copyright violation, but that’s not the main problem here. The actual problem lies in what the sites it is being re-posted to do with that content, and Freebooting on Facebook is an issue for a number of reasons. ‘Freebooting’ as a phrase, and a course of action, is becoming part of today’s internet culture:
Freebooting: What’s the Big Issue for Creators?
The issue with Freebooting is that sites can potentially earn revenue on ads that run alongside content that doesn’t credit the original creator. When in actuality the original creator should be earning revenue from this traffic as well. Some YouTube creators, like Destin from Smarter Every Day, report that Facebook is notoriously unwilling to comply with the takedown request of these videos. Destin explains what freebooting is in the following amazing video:
Take for example the video below, the most recent Bad Lip Reading for the NFL. The video itself has nearly 20 million views on YouTube as of this posting, with an exact copy of it was re-posted to Facebook earning nearly 4 million more views that SHOULD be going to the original creator. Now granted, this is an extreme example, but if Bad Lip Reading were running a $10 CPM against this video, that would be costing them upwards of $40,000 in lost traffic and putting it in Facebook’s pocket.
As a matter of fact, for this example, I’ve been following the same video for the past 48 hours and the views have climbed up from 1.2 million to their current level in that time.
How is it that not one of those 3 million views is a Facebook employee who can block this content that is taking away from creators? Simple, they have no incentive to remove it and currently hold no responsibility for the infringement – there is absolutely no incentive for them to comply.
Let’s take this one step further. This isn’t even the only copy. I was able to find two more results on the front page of Google doing the same thing that totaled another 2 million views between the both of them. Facebook may only be gaining pennies, but they are gaining them from lots of different creators and it has to be adding up for the site.
Facebook Should Take Action Against Freebooting Now
Facebook should learn from YouTube’s lessons with Viacom and act now. All it takes is one major lawsuit and Facebook will be forced to have a content ID system in place, along with a whole bunch of lawyers and wasted resources. Without one, they continue to leave themselves open for liability once somebody with deep enough pockets decides to get involved.
Practices like this show why Facebook is not quite ready to take on YouTube as the primary home for video creators. If they want content creators to trust them with their videos and make them a valid primary destination for video, Facebook must act swiftly to discourage this activity and develop a more robust content ID system.
Have you been a victim of freebooting? Let us know in the comments below.