I write a lot, and a lot of what I write is online. I publish photos, too. This stuff is my intellectual property, even though I’m OK with other people using it as long as they credit me. Depending on your field and your personal interests, you may also have quite a lot of creative content online. Do you know who’s using it and how it’s being used?
A new app called FairShare, developed by Attributor, offers a free and easy way to find out. It takes just a couple of minutes to register a site with FairShare, and you can add multiple sites and blogs once you’ve registered the first one.
You start by entering your feed address. A window appears, showing the various types of Creative Commons licenses available.
(If you have a static site with no feed, click the Help link and you’ll find out what to do in the Getting Started section.)
I’d been meaning to add a Creative Commons license image to my blogs, and signing up for FairShare helped me get that off my to-do list.
Once you’ve registered your site, FairShare searches 35 billion web pages to see if your content appears on other sites. You can choose to receive this info through a feed reader. For each page containing your work, FairShare will show you how the reuse compares to your license conditions and point you to a page where you can see more details.
In this case, FairShare caught me red handed; I’d cross-posted some content from one of my blogs onto another site of mine.
Unfortunately, another of my posts contains Obama’s entire inauguration speech, with my comments throughout. So FairShare is now telling me every time portions of that text appear. I wonder how many years that will continue! I’d like to be able to tell the app not to look for copies of that particular post. I asked FairShare about this, and they are, in fact, working on a feature that will let you exclude posts that reuse common speeches or articles. Fortunately, the app already ignores content you have in blockquotes.
FairShare has another excellent feature on the way: a license that will allow you to share ad revenue when your content is being used elsewhere. Hopefully this will help keep content “borrowers” honest while also benefiting the content creators.
FairShare is similar to other plagiarism-monitoring tools, like Copyscape, but the ability to specify the license your content uses and subscribe to the results through a feed reader make it easier to use.
The Internet is still a wild frontier (and some of us like it that way). However, these days, many of us are concerned about managing our online identities, and the web makes it awfully easy for others to find and use content that they didn’t create. So it can be comforting to have tools that allow us to monitor, and have some control over, our own online presence.
What do you use for monitoring how your content is being used?