Social Media, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Blogs and Twitter, are public forums where individuals from all over the world gather to discuss ideas, collaborate, debate and, in effect, publish. As such, one’s content (opinions, knowledge, etc) is exposed in an environment of implicit ‘trust’.
However, it would be naive to assume that everyone in that public forum will treat the content with the same standards. In fact, it is far more likely that individuals will use such forums, and perhaps content, for their own purposes whether that is self-promotion, learning or ‘research’.
In such public forums, such content is technically ‘public’, i.e. without protection, anyone may lift it and re-use it without permission. And, in every public place, there are deceitful individuals who will ‘steal’ these opinions and knowledge and re-print for their own gain, with or without the appropriate citation. Use of one’s content without citation is one problem – quoting one’s content with citation can also have repercussions – some perhaps positive, others negative.
Use of the copyright symbol after one’s profile name is emerging as a means of explicitly signaling that there is a condition for re-use of any content published by that individual, i.e. that is it ‘owned’ and that permission is required for any re-use. Of course, there would be ‘issues’ with enforcement and with prosecution of any infringement. However, it seems reasonable that if you want to have any purview whatsoever over how your name and content might be used you might want to indicate this along with everything you publish. This protocol provides for that at least. On that basis, I have adopted the protocol.
Please be advised, I have not sought legal opinion in this post, it is merely a reflection of a limited amount of research and my personal opinion. It should not be relied on for protection – rather you should consult with your own attorney.
Interested in others’ opinions, observations and experiences with this.