Do you legally own your Periscope content?


I’ve been on Periscope chatting it up on why your content is queen (I legit love it over there). With Periscope being the latest and greatest in social media land I thought it was important to answer the important question of…

Do I legally own my Periscope content?

I’m so glad you asked. 

Most creative entrepreneurs and innovators are avid social media users. Why wouldn’t we be? It’s one of the absolute greatest ways to share our message, connect with new peeps and promote our businesses. It’s love. Truly.

But, as business owners, we also have a responsibility to familiarize ourselves with the lay of the land. It’s important to take a look at the terms of service of those social media networks so you know exactly what it means for you when you post your valuable content.

I knew many would ignore my rally cry to “Go read those Terms of Service!” so I didn’t want to leave you hanging.

The great news is…

You legally own all of your original content that you post to Periscope.

When you post to Periscope you give them:

A non-exclusive (meaning you can post the same content wherever you want, whenever you want, and give other people that same right) royalty-free license (meaning you won’t make any cash if they put this license to use) to use, copy, reproduce, process, adapt, modify, publish, transmit, display and distribute such content in any and all media or distribution methods (now known or later developed).

Don’t panic.

This is a pretty typical licensing provision for social media networks. A license is like a lease. When you lease something to someone, you don’t give away ownership. You give them permission to use it. That’s exactly what you’re doing here.

What makes this Periscope situation unique is that a lot of people on it are coaches, consultants, infopreneurs or other professional service providers, using Periscope to teach. I am absolutely loving all of the value people are bringing to the virtual table. But keep in mind, these peeps are also paid to share information with clients.

Is this you?

If so, you absolutely must do some strategizing before hopping on the scope. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy process. Give it 15 minutes.

After all, your content is queen.

Here is what I recommend:

  • Strategize first. Decide up front what your end goal is for the topic you want to scope about. By end goal, I mean…do you want to create a webinar from it? Do you want to teach a workshop from it? Add it as a chapter in a book? License it for inclusion in someone else’s program? Whatever the case may be, think about that up front.
  • Decide. Then, you’ll make a business decision on whether the content should go on Periscope or not. Even though you’re not giving away your ownership or rights in the copyright, you do potentially dilute the value of the content by granting the license for Periscope to have it’s way. To further illustrate this point…

Would a book publisher want to publish a book from an author who has already circulated bits and pieces of their manuscript around social media? Would a serious art collector want to purchase a work that has had 1,000 reprints? Nope. And if they are willing to make the purchase, they will pay much less than if the work was not widely distributed.

  • Put it in a second, tangible form. If you decide the content is cool for Periscope then after your broadcast put it in a second, tangible form. By tangible, I mean capture it on video. Write it up in a blog post. Create an audio recording.  Putting it in a second, tangible form gives you a new, undiluted version of the content. It’s going to naturally be a bit different than your original broadcast, because you’ll think of new points to make and you may build in the questions from the audience. This is exactly what I’ve done with this blog post. I did a scope on this same topic, and now I’m writing up a recap.
  • House the new content on your own cyber real estate. Next, house the new, original content on your own cyber real estate (i.e. your website). Remember, if it’s on a website owned by someone else, you still have to play by their rules because you’re entering a new licensing agreement. For this reason, simply uploading your newly created content to Youtube or Vimeo simply won’t do the trick.
  • Register it! Lastly, you want to register your content with the U.S. Copyright office (you can register a series of works and just pay a single filing fee for the entire series. But, that’s another conversation for another day).

Now, that you’ve set up your business + legal strategy you can relax with a bourbon or your spirit of choice. Later, you’ll decide how you want to monetize this content and will have full negotiating power when it’s time to license it to other peeps.

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