Freebooting? The word was new to us too, but it’s highly relevant to Facebook’s ambitions to start monetising music videos and ultimately – as we revealed yesterday – audio music streams.

Freebooting refers to the process of ripping a video from YouTube, removing any branding from its original creator, and then uploading it to Facebook as a native video under your own name or brand.

Slate has an investigation highlighting some specific examples, including a ‘Tattooing Close Up (In Slow Motion)’ video created for YouTube by science channel SmarterEveryDay, which was subsequently uploaded to Facebook by a British men’s magazine where it attracted more than 18m views in two days.

Another video by YouTube channel The King of Random was watched 600k times in its first 24 hours on that service, but 10m times on Facebook after being ripped by another user.

For now, the rewards for Freebooting are social rather than financial: the culprits hope to increase their Facebook pages’ followings through likes.

But as Facebook prepares to introduce monetisation for videos, this problem is going to become much more high-profile. Hence the chatter around the social network’s plans for a YouTube-style ‘content ID’ technology to detect videos that have been freebooted, and allow their original creator to claim them.

Yesterday, we broke the news that Facebook is in early talks about an audio music-streaming service, following on from its plans to start paying royalties for music video views.

As we noted in our report, a robust content identification and takedown / claiming system is being seen by rightsholders as essential to both. Facebook is promising to match YouTube payouts for music videos, but if those payouts are going to freebooters rather than the original rightsholders, the social network will have a big problem.

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1 Comment

  1. I’m super curious to see where this will go. Facebook seems like an internetception; the internet within the internet, with miniature versions of everything. Is that really doable? And more importantly: do people really want that? I find it hard to believe.

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