What Does "Ownership Of Content" Really Mean On Steem?

in steem •  19 days ago  (edited)

I've heard ownership of content being mentioned as an advantage of publishing on Steem. I don't quite understand what that means. In common parlance ownership means the right to control what one owns. The ownership of content can only mean owning the copyright to that content. Posting a piece of content to Steem changes nothing in terms of copyright. Regardless of whether a copyrighted work is on Steem or not, it is subject to copyright. The owner of a copyrighted work has the legal right to demand that that work be taken down from a website, which can easily be done by any Steem front end upon request. The only difference between blockchains and centralized digital information storages is that anything stored on the Steem blockchain is really hard to erase as would be "erasing" a printed publication by hunting down every single copy of it to burn them all. Unlike with Steemit, Inc, the Steem blockchain has no Terms of Use a Steem account holder has to accept before being allowed to use it. The chain does what it does according to consensus rules and that's that.

Quite interestingly, Steem front ends routinely publish all content stored on the Steem blockchain without asking the authors for permission. As far as I know, Steemit is the only front end that monetizes the content with advertisements even if the author of some piece of content had never used Steemit or agreed to any of the terms of use, which do not mention ads at all. As far as I know, everyone who uses Steem front ends has so far been fine with this. We get paid for our content in the native cryptocurrency of the Steem platform, which is given value to by investors in Steem who either believe in its long term potential or are speculating on it. In that particular sense, content posted to Steem is a common resource just like the reward pool is despite no one ever formally agreeing to any of this.

To deviate from this model, we could encrypt our content before posting it to Steem. If we wanted to have it accessible only via our own personal website so as to be the only entity capable of monetizing it through ads, we would only have to encrypt it and have our website decrypt it after being pulled from Steem. We could only leave a teaser unencrypted and a link to our own website on which could be used as a Steem front end to allow Steem users to comment on our posts. I have actually seen something somewhat like this done on a few occasion on Steem. I have seen Steem posts that were a summary of a longer article on another website behind a paywall. I would personally never upvote any such summary as the reward pool is a common resource in which case the content should be, too, as in available to anyone for free.

What do you think about what ownership of content means on Steem?

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Perhaps they were meaning that instead of Zuckerberg making the money from our content, we the "owners" make the money now.

On Steem, literally anyone can make some money from their content from the get go. Google Adsense is a way to monetize blogs or any other type of content. Google takes a cut, of course. Content can be monetized on Facebook, too, but its much more difficult. Google Adsense has a minimum payment level. I wonder what happens when a user never makes that threshold. Does Google pocket that money?

But on Steem, we have witnesses who take a cut in exchange for running witness servers and there's Steemit, Inc that constantly sells STEEM in order to fund the development of the blockchain. Also, some front ends take a cut as beneficiary rewards.

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