Who Owns the Content? Framejacking in Web 2.0

by Ben Cook on April 14, 2009

In covering the Diggbar controversy I’ve been confronted several times with the question of “What’s the big deal?” or even that only SEO’s care about it.

While there are certainly SEO concerns, content producers (read as bloggers, podcast producers, video producers, artists, and just about anyone with a website) across the web should be up in arms whether they care about SEO or not. Why? Because at the heart of this issue is one small question with some BIG implications…

Who owns the content?

To illustrate my point, look at the image I’ve created below:

click to see the live example (may take a few moments to load)

click to see the live example (may take a few moments to load)

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, that’s 5, count them 5 layers of framing on top of the content’s source!

Rev3 was framed by Truveo which was framed by BurnURL which was framed by Digg which was framed by Owly which was finally framed by Stumbleupon, and those were just the ones that I came up with off the top of my head!

Sure Digg is making a big fuss about getting feedback and trying to do the framing the right way, but in the end, they’re still “taking your shit.” But they’re not, by any means, alone.

While the example above is extreme to be sure, it illustrates the issue quite well. Kevin Rose and the rest of the crew at Rev3 were the ones to create the content (in this case a video), but 5 other sites are trying to profit from it.  StumbleUpon, who has thus far escaped the same kind of wrath that Digg has faced, even goes so far as to include their own version of  frame-busting code that stops any other “toolbars” being displayed above their own.

They obviously don’t want their content being framed, and yet they seem to think it’s ok to do it to the rest of the web.

While this may not seem like a big deal to many users of the different sites, can you imagine the controversy that would ensue if the New York Times simply cut a story out of the Chicago Tribune and printed it in their paper? That of course would be plagiarism and wouldn’t be tolerated.

Why is the online world any different?

While the Web 2.0 world is all about sharing and interacting with content in new and exciting ways, that doesn’t mean content producers give up the rights to their content.

In the end the simple question has a pretty simple answer.

Who owns the content in the web 2.0 world?

The content producers.

It’s time Digg, StumbleUpon, and the rest of the web figure that out.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Josh April 3, 2010 at 1:08 am

Great post. Framejacking is terrible.

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