You can’t throw podcasts onto your intranet without understanding copyright

Have you been given a cool video or document or podcast and you’d like to share it throughout your company? Well you can’t.

photocopier“Hi Wedge, I’ve got a couple of podcasts I’d like to pop on the intranet for people to download and listen to.”

“OK”, say I, “send ’em over or send me the link and I’ll take a look.”

Email arrives, stage left.

Wedge listens to the MP3s with a less than hopeful expression.

“Hi, yes, well. The podcasts were produced by an external, commercial, company, and therefore we don’t have permission to use them.”

“But I brought them from my previous company; we used them all the time there.”

“I see; you’ve brought stuff from your previous company into our company, aha. Your previous company may have had permission to use them.”

“I was given them during a training session.”

“For personal use then…”

“Well, yes, but can’t I share them online?”

“No, have you heard of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act? No? How about Napster? Pirate Bay?”


“This material is owned by someone else, and without express permission, we can’t share it. Our legal team are on hand to discuss such matters if you’d like to learn more.”

Sheesh. I mean, sheesh.

Everything is owned. Unless there is a clause that says ‘use me, share me, take me apart and use bits of me’ then you can’t just take written work, video work, audio work or anything from the Internet and plonk it on your intranet or website. It is not good enough to ‘give credit’ to the originator of the work, or hide behind the pathetic claim that you’re ‘not making any money out of it’. You wouldn’t photocopy a whole book and give it to your team, so don’t copy a podcast, video or article and slap it on your intranet.

Creative Commons is a wonderful idea, and helps people choose to share their work so others can use it. Anti-copyright or copy-left or work in the Public Domain can be shared and re-used et cetera,  but you can’t go uploading other people’s files on to your intranet. It’s rude, unprofessional and illegal.

I can’t stand it when people steal work from their previous company and bring it to use in their new company. It’s lazy, it’s cheap and it’s theft.

“But it was my work; I wrote it.” They plead in their defence. Sigh. You may have created it, but if you did so under contract, during the working day, then your previous company owns the work. You don’t get to keep a copy ‘for reference’. If this is news to you, or it’s too crazy to believe then please grow up and learn something about the country you live in and the contractual facts that govern your life. I truly think you’re an idiot if you’re so naïve as to believe that you ‘own’ anything that just happens to be on your hard drive of your computer.


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Photo Credit: Indigo Goat – used with permission under the Creative Commons agreement.

1 comment
  1. I’ve come to accept that *many* people do NOT understand even the basic concept of intellectual copyright. And, frankly, they do not consider it theft or even wrong to use the work of others without compensation or attribution.

    People who would never even *think* about stealing material items don’t blink at “borrowing” words, ideas, art, etc. They don’t seem to grasp the concept of intellectual property at all. Especially when you are talking about the intellectual property of a faceless business.

    Then again, if it were not for my formal higher education in mass communications, *I* might not understand the concept, either.

    Seems to me this is something all students *should* be taught “along the way” as they learn how to do research and how to create their own intellectual property. But we don’t seem to be doing a very good job at it, do we?

    Perhaps it is a symptom of the era? We are able to share ideas and information so quickly and so easily through modern technology that we have started to think of anything that is “out there” on the web or elsewhere as just “open source”?


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