Fiesler, Feuston and Bruckman (2015)
|Fiesler, Feuston and Bruckman (2015)|
|Title:||Understanding Copyright Law in Online Creative Communities|
|Author(s):||Fiesler, C., Fesuton, J., Bruckman, A.|
|Citation:||Fiesler, C., Feuston, J. L., & Bruckman, A. S. (2015, February). Understanding Copyright Law in Online Creative Communities. In Proceedings of the 18th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing (pp. 116-129). ACM.|
|Key Related Studies:|
|Linked by:||Fiesler (2018)|
|About the Data|
|Data Description:||Researchers targeted online communities that for art, music, video, and writing media types and selected two sites for each media type based on their user-generated content and active public forums.
Researchers scraped public forum posts associated with these online communities and collected the content as well as the header information. They then performed searches for posts focused on copyright and relevant conversations that did not include the word. Using a sample of 200 posts from these online communities, the researchers pulled out common related terms in order to create a comprehensive set of keyword to search for conversations about copyright. The final list of keywords included: attorney, copyright, copy, copying, illegal, infringement, lawyer, legal, license, permission, plagiarism, plagiarist, rights, steal, stole, and trademark.
Based on those keywords, another scrape was performed resulting in nearly 100,000 total posts across eight different forums. A maximum of 50 posts were collected from each site, though some had less than 50 as their total number of posts about copyright.
The final data set has a total of 339 forum posts.
|Data Type:||Primary data|
|Secondary Data Sources:|
|Data Collection Methods:|
|Data Analysis Methods:|
|Cross Country Study?:||No|
|Government or policy study?:|
|Time Period(s) of Collection:||
Copyright law is increasingly relevant to everyday interactions online, from social media status updates to artists showcasing their work. This is especially true in creative spaces where rules about reuse and remix are notoriously gray. Based on a content analysis of public forum postings in eight different online communities featuring different media types (music, video, art, and writing), we found that copyright is a frequent topic of conversation and that much of this discourse stems from problems that copyright causes for creative activities. We identify the major types of problems encountered, including chilling effects that negatively impact technology use. We find that many challenges can be explained by lack of knowledge about legal or policy rules, including breakdowns in user expectations for the sites they use. We argue that lack of clarity is a pervasive usability problem that should be considered more carefully in the design of user-generated content platforms.
Main Results of the Study
- One clear theme that emerged was the prevalence of problems related to copyright expressed by creators in these conversations. Most of the posts in the data set could be labeled as expressing some sort of problem. Five major types were identified:
- avoiding trouble,
- dealing with consequences,
- fear of infringement,
- dealing with infringement, and
- incomplete information.
- A common problem directly expressed by these creators is worry over whether something they are doing might be infringing someone else’s copyright. Many of the posts are essentially asking “Is this going to get me into trouble?” or “How can I avoid getting into trouble?”
- Many of the posters also note that they researched the issue first themselves and were confused by the law or unable to find satisfactory answers.
- With regard to authors, posters often express frustration that there isn’t more that they can do to protect their work—for example, that the site moderators aren’t doing enough or that the site’s policies aren’t effective, sometimes making suggestions for policy or workflow changes.
Policy Implications as Stated By Author
- Unfortunately, copyright will continue to be a hard problem in online creative communities. There are many stakeholders with competing interests—lawmakers, copyright holders, online content creators, content consumers. However, technologies and websites that facilitate creation and sharing are also part of this environment and should be considering these issues in terms of both usability and design
- This study reveals that it is an important aspect of interactions between creators in these online communities, and therefore should be an important part of the user model in design decisions. We should not only be thinking of ways to help creators better understand copyright, but also considering the implications of the ways they currently understand it as well.
Coverage of Study
|Level of aggregation:||Forum posts|
|Period of material under study:||Not stated|