Alex Schleber says on April 6th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

In this new attention economy, I would argue that worrying about antiquated notions such as copyright in regards to your own work will largely only slow you down. Except for the most egregious of rip-offs, your mission should be to spread your ideas as far and wide as you can, by any means necessary, so that you can brand yourself alongside of your content/ideas/etc.

Be first, be fast, be loudest. Why is it that the likes of Gary Vaynerchuck and Mashable are garnering so much attention even though their stuff is also being talked about by many others, sliced, diced, and repackaged all over the blogosphere (often without attribution)? Because they are loud and/or relentless:

They simply emit the highest number of signals! Same for Scoble & TechCrunch/Arrington. Thought leadership is not established by stopping at every turn to worry about copyright. By the time you get around to resolving a case (and remember that’d just be one, do you really think you can keep up with the internet?), the information you are trying to claim as your own has very likely become worthless/outdated, or at least less valuable.

Thought leadership at this point is an EMERGENT property of your voice rising above the din. And to make that happen, you need to be in the game. Lawyering is a different game.

Unless you have the money to keep a copyright attorney on retainer/staff, I would forget all about “playing business” in this regard (a term I first learned from Internet Marketing guru Eben Pagan).

Even if you do have the money, it is likely better spent elsewhere…

Which reminds me, I wrote a piece a while back on how shortsightedness/fearfulness in regards to copyrights has been costing Old Media in more ways than they know:…

Also this: Your biggest fear at this point should be NOT being copied/ripped off. Now read that sentence again.

Your real problem is rather that people tend to just not give a dear about you or your ideas.