I'm beginning to tire of this phrase, not because it's not true (because it is), but because I keep hearing it. Back in March of 2006, Corbis Chief Executive Steve Davis, in a Business Week article "Content is King at Corbis reported "Davis...harkened back to one of the rallying cries of the '90s by quipping: 'Indeed, content has become king.'"
Gates himself is reported in TNC.net to have said "“Content is King”...Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet..." Indeed, Mr. Gates, you are right.
The San Francisco Chronicle writes, on March 16th of this year, on the Viacom v. Google $1B lawsuit:
figuring out who is right in this lawsuit is also a no-brainer: Viacom. Is there even a gray area here? YouTube is profiting (or, theoretically could profit) from artistic content that it didn't create. It's taking something that was developed by Viacom, namely a number of popular television shows, and offering them free to YouTube users. Call it what you want -- say, an infringement on our mindless fun and viewing pleasure -- but it's essentially stealing. Fair use? Uh, no. Stealing.Youtube does not make the content, they are the delivery vehicle, and just as the drug dealer gets his car impounded, so too will delivery vehicles of the technological sort also stand to be liable, DMCA notwithstanding.
What's important to contemplate, at least from the perspectives of television and its future uses, is the core issue highlighted by the lawsuit. And, no, it's not the cash thing. It's the content...What does YouTube make, again? Content is king...You make the content, you wear the crown."
After 27 years, CNN is dumping all Reuters content, still photography, text, and video. Reuters is reporting (about themselves no-less) "This is all about us, not Reuters. This is about content ownership," CNN's spokesman Nigel Pritchard said. He went on to say "Everything is changing and content ownership is king."
So, why is it that photographers continue to simply give away their content, for a pittance? for between $200 and $400, any number of freelance photographers will give away a day of their life to chase news, signing away their content in the process to wire services. These organizations are like the medieval tax collectors, coming to my fellow creatives and taking more of their money than they have, and they feel they have no choice, yet they do. They have become, in a way, enslaved to these kings of content. Not diverse in their client base, beholden to one master, and on a whim these masters could simply tire of them, and they would have no resources to sustain themselves.
Tony Maddox, executive vice president of CNN International, said in a memo dated August 29, "It's a step forward to greater control of our editorial product, of the quality of the CNN services we provide and of our growth and success in the Digital Age."
You too must recognize the value of your editorial - and commercial - products. Moreover, you must realize that you are, in fact, creating a monetizable product, and, as such, you should do everything to protect it, from actually registering it with the copyright office, to engaging in a dialog about the nature of a rights package a prospective client wants for assignments you are to do for them
Please post your comments by clicking the link below. If you've got questions, please pose them in our Photo Business Forum Flickr Group Discussion Threads.