Who Owns Your Content?

How Important is Archiving the Real-Time Web?

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Have you ever wondered what would happen to your content on third-party sites if those sites ceased to exist? You may own your content on them as it stands now, but what if they went away? 

Would you be ok if your tweets or your status updates disappeared? Discuss here.

You may recall earlier this year when URL-shortening service Tr.im announced it was going to shut down and sparked a big discussion about what happens to all of these links if such a service just decides it doesn’t want to exist anymore. It is an interesting discussion, and it ultimately led to Tr.im having a change of heart and deciding to remain functional.

Now, the Internet Archive has announced the launch of 301Works.org, a service, which archives shortened URLs. The organization sums up the need for such a service pretty well:

The use of shortened URLs has grown dramatically due to the popularity of Twitter and similar micro-streaming services where posts are limited to a small number of characters.  Millions of shortened URLs are generated for users every day by a wide variety of companies.

But when a URL shortening service shuts down, the shortened URLs people put in their blogs, tweets, emails and web sites break.  Unless users have kept a record of each shortened URL and where it was supposed to redirect to, it’s not possible to fix them.

Over 20 URL shortening services have gotten involved with 301Works.org, and Bit.ly (Twitter’s service of choice) has already begun donating archives.

"Short URL providers have in the space of eighteen months become a corner stone of the real time web — 301Works.org was conceived to provide redundancy so that users and services could resolve a URL mapping regardless of availability.  The Internet Archive is a perfect host organization to run and manage this for all providers," said Bit.ly CEO John Borthwick.

"The Internet Archive is honored to play this role to help make the Web more robust," added Brewster Kahle, founder and Digital Librarian of the Internet Archive.

The issue of archiving the web of course touches a much broader spectrum than that of URL-shorteners. 301Works should go a long way for maintaining shortened URLs, but what about Facebook updates? Tweets? What if Facebook or Twitter decided to shut down one day? According to Twitter’s terms of service, you own your content, but Twitter does host it and they have control over it regardless of whether or not you own it. Jesse Stay talked about this with WebProNews in a recent interview:

The concept of Twitter or Facebook shutting down seems far-fetched, but the same thing probably could’ve been said about Geocities 12 years ago. Now Yahoo has shut it down. It’s just something to think about. Given the speed of the real-time web, it seems that archiving could become a concept of growing importance.

Do you agree that archiving is growing in importance? Share your thoughts here.

Related Articles:

>Ushering In a Whole New Era of Linking Questions

>R.I.P. GeoCities: A Community is Killed

>Who Really Owns Your Tweets?

Who Owns Your Content?
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  • http://www.sitebyjames.com James

    It depends what your archiving…

    If the user has right to their information and keep it from the public, or should they wish to erase it at a later date then archiving could be a problem for some.

    Some people enter facebook and assume they are sharing with friends and not the rest of the world. I think for the most part, privacy has been seriously breached where some people are concerned.

    I mean what do you do? Encourage “book burning” or protect the individuals user privacy and forgo archiving within social networks? Same goes for email…

    If the user is well aware they are posting to a public venue, sure, archive it… but when hundreds/thousands of developers are “mining” the social networks, it’s debatable if they have turned a private venue inside out for many people.

  • http://www.body-rockin.com James

    What would happen to my content if Twitter and Facebook shut down?

    Personally far as I feel nothing, since I don’t rely on either of those sites to generate me the paying traffic I need as adult website owner. Can’t put my trust in Facebook mostly because that site has to be the most anal of any social site I have ever used based on how quickly and easily they delete a users profile if..even if your are adult industry but do not post adult content, see more below related to what I mean about their unfairness I really like to see some one expose!!

    Facebook can’t be counted on at all if you are in any business that may be related to the sex industry that includes models and adult industry folks.

    Why is it unimportant, when you are one that has your profile deleted 5 or more times, your Facebook business Pages deleted for reasons you really can understand or are provides…example:

    Playboy obviously adult content but FB never deletes their profiles they use for their business…seems like specially treatment based on who you are and unfair if you ask me.

    Not worried about Twitter yet because they seem to be okay with any users except spammers.

    • Guest

      What do you do? set around playing with yourself all day.

    • http://www.escortsincalifornia.net California Escorts

      I am sure that those who are not in the adult industry may get business and hits from such sites but I have been deleted a couple times myself. I didn’t even post anything that could be viewed as risque besides the fact that we are in the adult entertainment business. The fact that Playboy doesn’t have issues urks me alittle too. It is because they are so well known but Playboy offers dirty mags, dirty movies and so on as well. Face book seems like a lost cause for business anyway. I haven’t had an issue with twitter either as of yet. I feel your pain! I even wasn’t allowed to go through Monster for phone operator jobs either. Many places will not accept even our ads for jobs no matter how discreet just because of our title which is what we are licensed under. We may be a different business but same industry. We are now working on a panty site, I realize that will be an issue as well. Any advice? Advertising advice? Hit me back. :)

  • http://atriclepower.free.fr Article Marketing Power

    I think we are missing the point.
    When you post something on FB, it becomes THEIR content. They can do whatever they want with that. That’s why I never publish anithing original on FB. It’s not like an article directory where your article can be taken and republished but you’re entitled to be given credit for it.
    I don’t know if something like this has ever happened, but FB terms of service say that they “could” use your pictures, posts, all you put on their site, as they want.
    Anybody has any experience about this?

    Anyway, I massively use FB, I love it, I don’t care what they do with my stuff, I post it on a thousand other places, nothing would be lost.
    But I know people who are scared by these tos and would never pout their own pictures on FB. I think they don’t get the “sharing” concept at the base of all the social medias.

    • Silverman

      They own the content and it will continue to appear after you die. Some people like that because they can continue to see loved ones who are now gone. It is like a memorial to the dead person.

      • http://www.sitebyjames.com James

        “They own the content and it will continue to appear after you die. Some people like that because they can continue to see loved ones who are now gone [Citation Needed]. It is like a memorial to the dead person.”


        I think people would rather build a proper memorial rather than live with ghosts…

  • http://santamistura.blogspot.com patricia de miranda

    if blip stop i get very sad because is my new virtual vicius ;o)) but facebook and twitter have my friends but i know close all of them so i can continue to talking using e-mail ;O))

  • Billy Montana

    Who cares… Too many people have way too much time on their hands. Get real folks, there is a lot more to life then digital social networking. What ever happened to enjoying your friends face to face. Getting together “in real time” interacting, dancing, going on a real date, taking to each other on the phone, hearing their voice Not texting. I’m sure I will get slammed for writing this
    but as electronics/software Tech who in the past discovered there is a wonderfull world outside
    with blue skys and green trees. There is a lot more to life than spending all your free time in front of a computer screen. Enjoy… :>)

    • http://www.raypfob.com/oldies.htm Ray

      I totally agree with …”there is a REAL World” … all around us … out in NATURE… Love your Comment … Have a GREAT Day, Ray … (–_–)

  • http://officialsafetyandsecurity.com Official Safety and Security

    My best guess is that where ever you post the content, they own it and if they go, so does your content. I typically use FaceBook and other social sites to market my safety and security web site but I avoid using the tiny url feature since I’m never sure if it will actually work as planned. I used it one time and when I went back to check it, the link took me to a porn site. UGH!

    • http://www.stuffdone.com Paul

      When you create something like an picture, photo or written work the rights automatically belong to you unless you specifically give those writes to another. While there is a mechanism in the Federal Copyright office to register your work, it is not necessary to do so to own your own work. If you were to write a book for sale I suggest you do so, same for any work of art or photography that has some substantial value. Otherwise a simple notation (not legally necessary) should serve notice.

      Put something like © 2009 My Name, all rights reserved at the bottom of each article you post. You can even link that to your home page so someone actually has a means to contact you for permission to reprint it.

      As for selling ads along side your work, you typically agree to let the site owner do that as a condition of them hosting your article on their server. It does not mean they have bought your works or have exclusive rights to anything. But always read the fine print in you are worried or just want to know what you agree to when you use their site.

      I suppose one could make a legal argument if you have the cash to fight it, that if a site has your content then closes and archives it then someone else takes those archives and sells ad space on them that you could assert your right to be paid or demand it be removed. Is your work worth the cost of litigation? Probably not unless you become a famous writer !

  • http://geocities.ws Guest

    When news of Geocities

  • http://w1z111-campfirecontent.blogspot.com/ w1z111

    If you originated the content, you own it; unless you sold it outright, along with exclusive copyrights. Then, they own it. That’s the short answer. The longer answer is more convoluted and complicated, for sure.

    At present, Google (and likely others) allow use of paid advertising, even on archived domain sites. Thus, if Twitter or Facebook were to shut down; and, if their web pages were sent off to the “black hole” of archive-land, it seems it might be possible for whoever owns the archived material to collect revenues; even if not very much. Visitors to the archived sites who click on paid ads would ultimately generate the nano-penny click-throughs, would they not? If so, who would collect that revenue? Wouldn’t that be the ‘owners’ of the sites?
    Dunno…I’m just saying…something to think about, y’know? Maybe I’ve got it all wrong?!

  • http://www.timessquaregossip.com Guest

    Google bloggers have already lost their archiving. Sometime in July, google maxed out at only letting you edit or delete up to 5000 of your stories. If I need to edit something from 2007, I have no way to access it. If I have a possible lawsuit over a story from any of them over 5000, i can not delete or edit. Every story I do makes one more story un-editable and un-deleteable. They keep saying they are working on a fix, it has been a very long time already. These guys own you.

    • Refiner

      If you have 5000 blog messages, maybe you should consider making a more official website for your content.

  • http://www.spa-n-things.com/shopping thespamama

    I wouldn’t be worried,because I have created 2 great sites that has that function the way they do but better anyway.I will be promoting soon.My website listed isn’t one on them.These sites don’t generate any traffic for me to worry about if they leave the mainstream of social networking.
    If they care much about exists of the business owner benefit, they will have different adverting categories and traffic packages to promote my business. plus a way to know and track if any one from there site has looked on my website.If it was even used for business.Creating other new ways to engage our potential customers of keeping updated. If Twitter & Facebook should be wondering how can they keep us interested so they won’t fall off. Maybe they should think about other ways of keeping our interests.

    • Luca

      Business as usual. They are fake.

    • Refiner

      I do not post content on twitter as it is a waste of time and insecure. I have a personal boycott since July 29 against using Twitter due to the hacking that they did not address for 10 days. (The “Refiner” there is not me as I had to use a different username and not my preferred nickname when I registered at Twitter. I no longer have an account there.)

      The little amount of content I do have on Facebook I have in my own personal archives already. I only use Facebook for networking. Any of my important content is kept on my own personal websites and not on social networking sites. I see that Geocities is referenced here as well. All old content I had on Geocities was retrieved long ago as I no longer updated the Geocities pages.

  • http://authorservices.org Michael

    The fact remains that copyright, which is being heavily enforced as a right with increasing legislation around the world, still vests in the individual and their writings. That is despite any ‘terms of service’ by twitter or any other social network.

    But how much do people want copyright of their chatter? Somewhat different to writing an article for a web site say.

    A person has the right to be able to remove their copyrighted material. Not to say they woudl want to always. But the right remains nevertheless

  • http://www.oxygentherapyprogram.com Lynne

    I’m confused.

    If you have old shortened links circling around out there it is conceivable that the links will get clicked and purchases will be made years after you stop promoting it.

    What’s the big deal and how does this relate to owning your own content?

    Your tweets are not going to magically retweet themselves years after you tweeted them, so Twitter and other social sites shouldn’t play into this either.

    Certainly no one submits articles without maintaining a copy of it…right?

    And bottom line is, if you are putting information online, in almost any capacity, then never assume that it will remain private. That’s just asking too much.

  • http://bbmedia.com.au Garth Penglase

    Really people, get a life. Twitter & FB can die and it’s not going to really change people’s lives that much (or shouldn’t). And if you aren’t aware that the stuff you post on social media become theirs to do with as they please then you’re naive. And do we really need to keep archives of a whole lot of chatter, and old websites/pages? There are very few things from the past worth keeping. Out with the old in with the new.

  • http://medianowonline.com/news Yusuf kirmani

    You raise a good issue. Now it is more important to archiving content at right place.

  • Guest

    although the ideas, acts, works of art, reports, documentries and any other field posted on blogg site should continue to be able to be archieved. Upon analysis of the perscentage of americans that posses the human capital to figure out the shortened url to archieve the information, almost exclusively resides in the capability of the hosting companies.

    the hosting companies should continue to be able to archieve the content posting, not only for their legal protection, but also by the right of compolation and survey of the history as to the nature and specified criteria in order for their own florishing to be promoted as their data bases are the subset for determining the past, present and future trends of the market.

    the austounding inauthanticity as to the vast majority of the postings, dismantle a companies ability to sift through the entirety of posted contentent… nor would their employees be to happy to… as well as their iq may subsequently drop… and therefore the advent of key world seaches and other various filters genereally limite the companies interest in the actual ideas of the content and the concern becomes placed on the cohesive, oriented to attract the largest audience, and display a consistant standard of editing and prohibited content.

    furthermore, for the lay man who complains about the achieve as an infringement to their right to privacy, the sites are held to a public standard privacy as when the informationed is summoned; however when you wish to make a phone call the federal goverment posses the capability not only to listen in, but archieve the findings… and to those innocent men accused of belonging to the taleban, held for war crimes with no trial… lets just say they didn’t employ the aid of sites of the blogosphere. However, in a time of war, according to the Patriat Act the federal goverment expands their rights to oversee the exchange of information… to the extent of censoring some books from libraries. its just down right scary… imagine if the senerio in Farenheit 451 actualized.

    lastly, if the content that one posts is really the next greatest idea. that willl result in the author becoming of emense prestige, wealth and resounding respect… well then these sites may not be your best sounding board. they may be an only a slightly unbiased reflection of the popular public opinion; however you may want to try a patent first or business professionals that will help you develope and refine the idea, as well as form a plan of marketing to present the idea in the most effient manner.

  • http://sency.com Sency

    interesting post

    today, business insider posted an article covering several real time web startups


  • http://www.escortsinillinois.net Illinois Escorts

    I don’t personally use tiny links for twitter but I know people who do nonstop. If I was one of those people who did use this service and had my links all over the internet just to find that those links I worked so hard to get up is gone, Oh I would be so angry! I wouldn’t ever use whatever services that business provided ever again just in case they decided to do it again. I like consistency and reliability. Being in an adult industry myself, I may find allot of good from tiny links such as these on certain sites since my links get deleted from time to time. So far, twitter has been good to me. I don’t even use Facebook. There doesn’t seem to be a point if you are trying to advertise a business. Even if for the online community feel there are other communities to be in without having to worry about getting deleted.

  • http://www.ebaykicks.com Guest

    that is very good

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