Freebooting and Video Content Ownership: 6 Tips for Fighting Digital Piracy

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A Recent and Notable Uprise in Video Content Thefts Prompts Video Entrepreneur Magazine Executive Editor to Issue Six Tips for Combating Digital Piracy Rife Among Abusers of Video Hosting Platforms

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Freebooting is Digital Piracy

While you cannot stop freebooting entirely, you can adjust your content creation, sharing and revenue strategies.

L. Scott Harrell, Video Entrepreneur Magazine's Executive Editor, wrote about a notable uptick in the amount of video content that is being downloaded from the creators' video hosting websites and social media sites then uploaded elsewhere without the copyright owner's permission or awareness. The practice is called “freebooting” that Harrell defined as “the act of taking digital media and uploading it as one's own without the content creator’s permission.” Infringers often do this for the benefits of web traffic and advertising revenue earned on popular videos that are going viral.

Harrell, himself a recently retired private investigator who specialized in fraud, said, “While you cannot stop freebooting entirely, you can adjust your content creation, sharing and revenue strategies.”

He offered these six tips for fighting online video theft and getting the most out of video content produced for business:

1. Reevaluate the revenue earning strategies behind business videos.
Harrell said, “Video content creators are going to have to get smarter about their monetization strategies and how they deploy them in-video, rather than on a specific page where that video resides. You have to be specific about your message and calls to action. Spell them out in the video itself. That's very difficult to edit out of a video and maintain it's continuity.”

2. Have a clear goal in mind when planning and creating videos.
“While sounding counterintuitive, if you find your videos have been hijacked first ask yourself the question, 'Has this helped me or hurt me?' before doing anything about it." Harrell continued, "If you have communicated your call to action clearly in the video, could you benefit in the long run from the additional distribution.”

3. Create “purpose built” content and upload it natively.
“Video gets better engagement when viewed on the platform to which it was uploaded. Create specific versions of video content that take advantage of the native video host's functionality and users.”

4. Include branding elements throughout the video.
“Add a video intro, outro, copyright notice and persistent video logo to videos while editing. All but the most committed freebooters will leave them intact. Infringers cannot then hide behind outrageous excuses.”

5. Use Digital Millennium Copyright Act takedown notices correctly.
“If you want the infringing video taken offline, your next best option is issuing a complete and accurate DMCA takedown notice,” Harrell pointed to an article posted by attorney Carolyn E. Wright to as one of his favorite DMCA resources. “It includes important considerations, a sample letter and information about determining where to send the takedown notice.”

6. When all else fails, take an unresolved complaint to the Court of Public Opinion!
“Overwhelmingly, people we've polled believe that digital piracy is unquestionably theft. It just so happens that many of these same people also love to mete out well-deserved punishment online. Infringers often suffer the wrath of upset fans as a result. It never plays out well for infringers across social media.”

L. Scott Harrell concluded about the very public thrashing he often sees of companies who are accused of intellectual property theft, “It seems that publicly hanging pirates has never lost its appeal.”

To learn more about these six strategies for fighting online video theft and getting the most out of video content, visit the full article posted at or email L. Scott Harrell directly at editor(at)vtrep(dot)com.

About Video Entrepreneur Magazine
Video Entrepreneur Magazine is positioning itself as the leading online media publisher and community resource for creative video entrepreneurs (vtreps) who are ready to capitalize on the unprecedented business opportunities that digital video presents in 2015 and beyond. For more information, please visit

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L. Scott Harrell
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