Playboy, Protecting More Than Just the Articles


Playboy has a lot of assets to protect, both online and offline, and CEO Christie Hefner has an interesting philosophy about protecting content, via: baseline

I don't think there's any one answer. As in the physical world, you can't aspire to a situation where no one is ripping you off. Because if no one's ripping you off, it means that you no longer have a commercially viable product. The goal is to minimize how much market share the pirates have—and I think we're pretty good at doing it.

While most of don't have access to financial, legal and people resources of a major publisher, it's interesting to note that accepting a little bit content theft validates that your content has value. While I'm no expert in international law, or copyright law, in the United States to file a copyright on your work it's relatively easy, one form, $30 and few months waiting time are all that's required. If you're spending a lot of time or money creating content it just makes sense to protect yourself. So what are you doing to protect your assets?


nothing. the value of *mass*

nothing. the value of *mass* content is falling quickly. embed monetization opportunities in your content and rejoice when it spreads, and use it to gain attention for your other products/services and to build relationships with relevant parties that can be monetized in other ways.

IMHO encouraging the spreading of your ideas is far more important than artificially restricting its supply.

Controlled information

I understand Kid's point but it needs to be a controlled spead.

I'm very vigilant about keeping a tight lid of what's mine on my money making websites. Spreading ideas and fair use snippets is one thing but when people attempt to take my content wholesale and set up shop elsewhere pretending it's theirs, I do drop the hammer on them and have used the US copyright law to collect a few big fat checks.

I file copyrights, use DMCA notices, deploy bot blocking software, everything including publicly pricing my content. As a matter of fact, you should all take a page from photographers that quote the USAGE rates for their images on their websites. I quote the usage rates for my content pages and when someone shows up with a full page of text pretending it's theirs it's a cool $1,500 per page licensing fee. If they fail to pay the alternative is my legal fees (~$10k), their legal fees(~$10k), content fees ($1,500/page), plus statutory damages from being a legit copyright holder which can add up to 6 digits.

Never made it to court yet, the last person I sent an invoice to for a few pages of content ended up settling with me for a knock down amount after I told him what he MIGHT owe if it went to court.

So be careful kid, once the genie's out of the bottle it's real hard to put the cork back in it.

Big Bucks.

He's not joking.
I got $45k for 40 pages stolen and up on another website for just one month.

I think it's pretty

I think it's pretty hard/easy over here.

IOW you automatically have the copyright here as soon as you publish the works (and possibly the following 72 years). On the other hand I'm not sure the courts here are 100% up-to-date on digital assets, but I'm going to see a copyrights lawyer soon anyway, so I'll find out.

That price list is a great idea Bill, I'll implement that for sure on some of my sites. How do you set it up, practically? And how do you link to it - sitewide in footer or what?


Oh, forgot to add, the Playboy woman is 100% right in the observation that copying shows that the content has some value.


Claus technically you are correct, copyright in the US does exist from the moment you write/publish it. However should someone copy it and it get to the stage where you need legal proceedings to take down the copy, having filed a copyright with the government gives you a much firmer leg to stand on evidence wise. Which also means you will have a much easier time finding an attorney who will take the case on a contingency basis, instead of having to put them on retainer.

Yep I think Bill's price list is actually a really good idea I'll be putting into practice in a few places. Can you share any details of implementation without giving away the farm?

nothing to give away...

There's nothing to give away, as copyright is standard practice in photography (as he mentioned). It's here in the ole' "Internets" that people think "information wants to be free" and fair use includes blogging... even when blogging is part of a strategy to sell a network of for-profit sites for millions. It is important to actually file your copyright if you at to extort...errr....demand monetary compensation for other-than-fair-use.

Follow the steps for bulk copyrighting of content, which can be found on most professional photography association websites (you may have to be a paying member - lol). Cut a CD of your websites *prior* to posting, and send it in to the copyright office with the form and fee. Rinse and repeat.

Note that you can also file a "compilation copyright" on your compilation of content, even if you don't own rights to the content. You compilation copyright your scraper sites, for example, which enables you to sue those who scrape your scraper sites(!) Think I'm kidding?

Shrinkwrap License

Basically the copyright section includes something like this:

Copyright Infringement is enforced vigorously and any discovered infringement will be notified and invoiced at the rate of our standard licensing fee, US$1500 per page, and/or prosecuted for Copyright Infringement in U.S. Federal Court where you will be subject to a fine of US$150,000 statutory damages as well as all court costs and attorneys' fees.

My argument has always been that ignorance (not reading my notices) is no excuse as copyright is a law that everyone knows about. Therefore, the further fact that they are deliberately violating the copyright law shows intent to do harm in the first place. The fact that they also took no heed to the posted usage rates, which is their problem and not mine, doesn't absolve them from owing those fees, especially when using that content to generate revenue for themselves, as that just happens to be what it costs to license that content for that purpose.

That's my line and I'm sticking to it ;)

this is a pretty standard claus

used on photo sites:

WARNING: We vigorously protect our copyright interests. In the event that an infringement is discovered you will be notified and invoiced the industry-standard TRIPLE FEE for unauthorized usage and/or prosecuted for Copyright Infringement in U S Federal Court where you will be subject to a liability of up to US$100,000 statutory damages as well as our court costs and attorney's fees.


With respect it takes two to tango and the fact that they take the content does not make them contractually bound to pay the quoted rates. Its only a court who will decide the issue of quantum and I've no doubt that they would not be swayed by the nonsense that appears in these notices.


It's been working for photographers for years and I know a bunch of them that have collected lots of money via these notices. The problem is whether or not you get a deep enough pocket to pay, that's the real issue, otherwise the most you can get out of it is shutting down the website until they get rid of the content.

yes, they get paid.

Photographers who prove their images were used commercially without their consent do indeed get paid prevailing commercial rates * useage. There is strong precendent and they do get paid. They are held to a high standard w/r to filing copyright and following professional business practices, however.

Prevailing Rates

Of course a court would order prevailing rates to be paid. My only point is that just because you put up a notice demanding your own rates doesn’t mean that’s what you'll get paid. I can see a whole bunch of people now putting these notices up at exorbitant rates expecting some mug will, on threat of being sued, pay way over the odds. Dream on

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