The text fingerprinting provider Attributor launched a beta version of a service called FairShare last week. FairShare enables anyone with an RSS feed — bloggers, for example — to attach Creative Commons noncommercial licenses to their content and use Attributor’s technology to track where their content is to be found on the web. There’s no charge for this service.
I signed up for FairShare to track uses of content from this blog. Naturally, most of them are in splogs (spam blogs). I’m certainly glad to see that Copyright and Technology content is being used by such sites as mobilehomerefininancingloan.org and one whose URL is not printable in a family-oriented publication.
Attributor confirmed that this service is a way for Attributor to attract attention to its technology, to upsell publishers to the paid services that major news publishers like AP and the Financial Times use. They claim that less than one-third of the uses they find are in splogs, but I suspect that percentage will increase with the number of curious bloggers who sign up for the service.
Yet FairShare is also a prelude to an eventual service that will enable content creators to monetize their content — presumably through Creative Commons’s C++ commercial licensing scheme, like Copyright Clearance Center’s Ozmo augmented with text fingerprinting, or like iCopyright’s Discovery service with CC+ licensing. To launch this, Attributor will need to build the commercial licensing infrastructure or partner with an organization that already has it. Attributor also expects that ad networks will be interested in aggregating the content that FairShare finds and sharing revenue.
All this depends on the willingness of users of online content to enter into licensing deals. This may work often enough to be worthwhile if the entity making the deal is a major publisher. But I wonder how effective these online content licensing schemes will be if the licensor is a little guy without access to legal means of enforcement.