Facebook Video Faces Massive “Freebooting” Problem



Facebook logoFacebook has quickly become a major player in the online video space, thanks to the site’s ability to import and display videos natively. This has created a quick and convenient way for users to upload and share short clips and home movies. But it’s also created a new venue for social media savvy celebrities and big brands to distribute shareable content, similar to YouTube. The big difference being that native Facebook videos are easier to share on the massive social networking website. This has been a boon for some creators who’ve seen success in posting exclusive content to their Facebook pages. But it’s also created a problem for others, who’ve seen their videos posted natively to Facebook without their permission. This practice is called “freebooting” and it’s become fairly prevalent on Facebook.

The freebooting issue is felt most by YouTube creators who discover that their videos have been ripped from YouTube and then uploaded to Facebook without their permission. Freebooting is a problem that’s really as old as the World Wide Web itself. But it’s gotten a lot of attention recently due to a post on Medium by YouTuber/author Hank Green, which reports that:

According to a recent report from Ogilvy and Tubular Labs, of the 1000 most popular Facebook videos of Q1 2015, 725 were stolen re-uploads. Just these 725 “freebooted” videos were responsible for around 17 BILLION views last quarter.

That’s a lot of freebooted content! Naturally, Green is pretty upset by this, since it’s definitely cutting into the YouTube traffic he relies on for ad revenue.

Freebooting like this probably isn’t as big of a problem for most podcasters. In fact, most of us release our content under Creative Commons licenses that might even allow for this kind of redistribution. But when a third party gains from your work, whether it’s in direct financial compensation or just social currency, it’s a problem. Especially when that third party isn’t even providing proper credit or attribution for the work.

If you suspect your creations have been freebooted, reach out the party responsible for posting your content and politely ask them to remove it. If they decline, file a DMCA takedown request with the website’s administrator or hosting company.


One thought on “Facebook Video Faces Massive “Freebooting” Problem

  1. This is a very solvable problem concerning YouTube. When you upload a video to YouTube, as the owner of the video, you have the option to UN-check the “Allow Embedding” option, when you submit your video. By doing so, this will allow your video to be send on your channel, but will not allow anyone to place it on another site. They can still use the share options to provide a link to it. If you leave the “Allow Embedding” option checked, you are in fact, giving permission to anyone that wants to use it.

    It is 2015 and people grab videos, pictures as well as the written word off of other sites, hourly. There are so many watermarking software’s on the www, and most of the best one are free. If you depend on your material to pay the bills, it is your responsibility to protect your work, not the public’s. As far as breaching any copyright laws, if you as the owner do not take the time to file with the Copyright Office, then you are taking the chance that someone will use your material, if the need arises. You only other option is to place very heavy statements on your material that you are copyrighted, and you will prosecute the offender to the fullest extent of the law.

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