Memo to Bloggers: Not Everything is Free.

Just a small, possibly controversial, thought on Redlasso shutting their doors for bloggers to use their content.

NBC and Fox filed copyright infringement actions against Redlasso for allowing users search, clip, and post excerpts from copyrighted video content on their blogs. Redkasso (rightly) closed up their free service, but continues to supply to (paying) business customers.

There were some puzzled, angry bloggers out there wondering why they would keep their system up for the bigwigs, but close off access to the free “beta” service. Press releases crowing about Fair Use and whatnot.

Just because it’s a clip and you’re commenting on it does not make it fair use. Why?

Blame Google.

If you have AdSense ads, or any ads whatsoever on your blog, it’s not fair use. You’re making money. With someone else’s content.

Some people have a problem with that, other’s don’t. My flickr photos are Creative Commons licensed. I still have the Copyright, but I can decide how to license my content. Maybe one day I will decide that I want to charge for using them. But not yet.

Did you know that TV networks don’t always own their content? House, MD is broadcast on Fox but owned by NBC Universal. Even if Fox had no problem with RedLasso allowing House to be clipped, it’s not up to the broadcaster. It’s up to the content owner.

RedLasso might even have permission to be distributing clips to paying subscribers. I know at least one other service that does something similar. But those subscribers can’t do just anything with the clips. Especially if money changes hands.

I care about Fair Use. I’ve been involved in the issue since DeCSS hit the ‘net. Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt. Really. I do have a DeCSS T-Shirt.

I also know that copyright is a serious thing. Producing content, whether written, video, or audio is hard. If you pay for it, you do have rights. Fair Use. First Sale. Stuff like that.

Why are people so angry about losing something they didn’t have in the first place?