How Stolen Content is Ruining the Creator Economy

Stolen Content for Online Selling Exposed

Stolen content is a hot topic these days. We’re all under pressure to produce good work as quickly as possible, and sometimes that pressure tempts us into doing things we otherwise wouldn’t do. Even online stores are guilty of this.

If you jump onto X for example, you’re going to see the most popular accounts telling stories about how they’re stolen from daily.  Stuff like this happens all the time.

Stealing Content is Never a Good Thing
Stealing Content is Never a Good Thing

So it’s time to talk about stolen content for a bit. It’s a topic that’s very important to all content creators, as there is nothing worse then putting all that time and effort in creating your craft, and then seeing it stolen by someone else.

And if you’re ever tempted to steal other people’s content, think twice. It’s a losers game that will always bite you in the end. But it isn’t just about plagiarizing content, it goes much deeper than that. It also extends into online stores, who steal not only influencer videos and their likeness, but also used to false advertise products they don’t even own.

Consider this story from Safiya Nygaard, who spells it all out for us.

How Stolen Content is Ruining the Creator Economy

Just a few days ago, Safiya Nygaard, a well-known Youtuber put up a video entitled “I Bought The Same Dress For $4, $30, $60, and $200”. This type of content isn’t new to Safiya’s channel, as she has exposed scams like this on her channel for awhile now.

In this specific video, she very much does what she claims on the title – buying identical dresses from five different shops with five very different price points. If you’re no stranger to online shopping, this isn’t really new. You’ve probably seen the same items for different prices, depending on which shop you buy from.

One thing Safiyaa talks about though that is really poignant is the amount of stolen content that is taken from content creators and influencers. These shops take a content creator’s videos without their consent and then uses these videos to promote and advertise their items. And to add insult to injury, these products aren’t even theirs to begin with! This is not only content grabbing but also false advertising.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Not only is content from creators being stolen, but so are reviews too! These shops take reviews from other sites and put it up in their shop as their own. Seriously, who can we trust?

What Does Stolen Content Mean For Creators?

Sadly, as shown in the video, some platforms do nothing about content grabbing even if the creator reports the issue multiple times. This is an issue because now the creator no longer controls their likeness or content, which can be used to claim they approve an item – making your followers think this shop can be trusted.

This not only has the potential of damaging your credibility and personal brand value, but can also deeply affect your own bottom line financially.

And with AI and Deep Fakes starting to become more and more prevalent, this problem will definitely only get worse.

What Creators Can Do to Protect Themselves from Stolen Content

There’s a few things creators can do to protect themselves from stolen content.

  1. Include a clear copyright notice on your site. See the footer of this site as an example. This gives you some legal protection should you discover people are stealing from you.
  2. Search for your content using Google: Set up a Google Alert to scan for your name or site name/title. This increases your chances of discovering content that is stolen without your permission.
  3. Protect your images: Consider adding a watermark to all our original images. This could be as simple as your URL in the lower right corner (done tastefully, of course).
  4. Fight Back: If you do find someone ripping off your content, call them out on your own social channels. If they stole from you in the first place, you probably have some good social sway, so use this power to expose them.
  5. Explore Protection Tools: Another small step are services like Metaphysic, which aim for consented AI likeness. Poke around and see what might be best for you.

None of these solutions are foolproof, and let’s face it, it’s going to become harder and harder to enforce our protections moving forward. But vigilance is key.

And if you’re ever tempted to take the shortcut and steal content online, remember this: The one thing we have as creators is our integrity. Hold onto that at all costs, no matter what. Or you will pay the price.

We wish you luck out there!

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