Why does traditional media fail to accurately attribute user generated content?

Content creators especially on live video platforms are increasingly investing in developing their skills at telling and sharing visually engaging stories.

Take for example the live streamer Mitch Oates on Periscope. In early November he shared a live stream recorded with a drone.

About 10 days later he posts to Twitter that his ‘whale scope’ is going viral and links to an article on the Irish Times.

So I went to look at the article and what do I see but a segment of the original live stream hosted on the Irish Times website, branded with the Irish Times logo. Mitch gets a mention under the video but there is no live link to his original content, his Twitter account or even to his Periscope account should people want to follow his content there.

Perhaps Mitch was asked by the Irish Times for permission to post his content? Perhaps he was paid for the content?

There was no mention under the video on the Irish Times about who Mitch is nor a story about the footage — only the video (which there is no embed link for) with the Irish times watermark.

What you usually see under a post such as the the live stream on Twitter is a request for permission to use the content by main stream media from TV stations to print media — I did not see this against the post, though it is not to say the Irish Times did not ask for permission.

But this example did get me to reflect on how the traditional media seem to think it is OK to take content and re-brand it as their own without the true attribution that they could have given — especially as you can even embed many social media updates including Tweets and public Facebook posts.

Bloggers typically attribute sources — it’s good blogging practice. The media on the other hand seem to have ‘laws’ just for themselves.

As Mitch is a photographer and camera man I am sure he is acutely aware of the value his content has. I also know there are organisations that today act as agents for user generated content, especially in times of tragedy, sourcing content, verifying it is accurate and agreeing fees with the media for it’s use (taking a percentage for their commission before paying the creator).

If you are creating valuable content through your live streams make sure you know your rights should the media choose to re-purpose it and overlay it with their own brand.