Information wants to be free, the saying goes, but information also wants to be expensive. But which parts end up being free and which parts end up being expensive can get pretty complicated. With so much content flooding through Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and the rest of the online platforms, tracking down who owns what (and how much it’s worth) has turned into one of the central questions of the internet. The answer to that question is copyright — specifically, who holds it and why, as mediated by automated systems like Content ID and a seemingly unending fight between platforms and content companies. This is where we navigate those issues, inside and outside the big platforms, the good systems and bad systems alike. If you’ve ever wondered how much a tweet is worth or why your sing-along YouTube videos keep getting taken down, this is the place to find out.
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