The Future of the Daily Zone **** PLEASE READ ****

Discussion in 'CZ Announcement Zone' started by Reality, Aug 17, 2010.

  1. Reality

    Reality Administrator Staff Member

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    As most of you have noticed, the Daily Zone has been missing from CowboysZone for a while now. The reason for this is due to a dramatic shift that recently occurred regarding the legality of user posts containing copyright content belonging to other sites.

    With the state of our economy being so poor for a while now combined with many printed publications attempting to transition from print to online publications, a lot of content sites are struggling heavily to offset their lost revenue. Most of these companies have had token websites for years but in most cases, they expected the market or larger publication sites to develop a legitimate revenue-based business model for them to follow. It is quite possible that had the economy not taken such a dramatic downturn in the last couple of years, that may have actually happened. However, it did not work out that way and most news and content publications are frantically searching for a solution.

    The internet works much like a free economy in that it is based off supply and demand. As the internet becomes less of a "cool thing to do" and more of a tool in our everyday life (consider transition of cellphones for example), we are finding that there are literally too many content sites available. The ratio has gotten so bad that the same non-syndicated articles appear on countless sites each day creating the impression of a redundant vacuum of our time that we spend online. For example, I used to visit ten or more sports news sites multiple times per day and now I rarely go to more than two including CowboysZone.

    This evolution of the internet from end to means is leading to less demand which affects most internet markets. In the past, new users were still entering the internet market each month and that helped offset (or rather delay) the inevitable point we have reached. There will be a thinning phase for the internet in the near future (some say it has already started) that will see many sites on the internet either consolidating or shutting down (the internet's version of going out of business).

    Like most internet markets where sites are struggling to find revenue, law firms are no different and it appears that a hot new business model has developed which has been getting more and more exposure over the last few months (Read Here and Here). This new model involves law firms purchasing limited ownership rights to content created by news sites. While I have not seen the details of such agreements we can assume the deals work sort of like this. A law firm contacts a news site and tells them, "Other sites are reposting your content without permission and potentially costing you considerable loss in revenue." Of course the content sites are desperate for revenue and to hear such things would appeal to both their old print world mentality and their desperation to obtain additional revenue from their online division so they fall for it completely. It is the equivalent of people with bad credit falling for credit repair agencies spewing promises of salvation.

    So the content sites agree to some sort of limited transfer of copyright ownership to the law firms most likely does not include any republication rights. In return, the law firms promise to help remove their unauthorized and republished without permission content from the internet. The law firms then troll the search engines looking for content posted on other sites and then send those sites letters of their intent to sue as the owners of the copyrighted content (since they are now "technically" owners of the content) instead of traditional Cease and Desist orders or DMCA take down requests. In the past, forum sites enjoyed a legal buffer of protection against content sites primarily because they were not direct competitors to the original content sites. Content sites viewed forum sites as an extension to their market reach and also knew that going after forum sites for user posted content would be hard to justify cost wise when compared to the negative publicity and marketing exposure they would receive from such action. However, with law firms now entering this process it changes things considerably.

    What the content companies do not realize is they are being used. It will not lead to additional revenue and in many cases, the negative publicity and sentiment created by the law firms, who have their own agenda and have absolutely no concern for the content sites' reputations or their future, will lower their chances of success with their online ventures. However, desperation tends to make us throw out logic and common sense and content sites are no different.

    This brings me to where we are now ..

    I created CowboysZone because I wanted Cowboys fans to have a centralized place to meet and talk about our favorite team in a family-friendly environment protected from obnoxious fans from other teams. CowboysZone costs me thousands of dollars each year even with donations because I use high-end servers and hosting. Even with that investment, it takes a great team of moderators who work well together and volunteer a lot of their time to help run this site.

    I know a lot of Cowboys fans come to CowboysZone primarily to read the latest news and rumors about the Cowboys. That is why I created the Daily Zone forum even when many users resisted it in the beginning. Over time, I think most of our users have realized there will be days or periods throughout the day where we cannot spend a lot of time on the site and having the latest news in one forum makes it a lot easier to read.

    In an effort to prevent future legal issues but also continue to provide the Daily Zone forum, it is necessary to change our policy on content posted that is from other sites. We are currently in the process of drafting the new forum guidelines regarding content posted from other sites and will make an announcement once those changes are finalized. It will involve smaller summaries or snippets of articles rather than the full articles, but our goal will be to encourage users to post summaries or snippets that include the real meat of the articles minus the fluff rather than the first part of the article then a "continue reading" link.

    While I know all of us will dislike this change (myself included), it is something that will happen on other sites even the ones who will likely boast of "never giving in". That may have been a viable stance to take in the past because sites, especially forum sites, assumed we had protection via DMCA and/or the "a user posted it" defense. However, with the huge increase in law firms obtaining content copyright ownerships, sites who continue posting or allowing users to post full content will most likely get sued quite possibly by multiple law firms for tens of thousands of dollars or more in the near future.

    I prefer to keep CowboysZone online and avoid any legal headaches so I hope all of you understand why this change is necessary. In the future, it is my hope that we can establish some partnerships with content sites that will lead to better news integration on CowboysZone.

    For now, I would ask everyone please stop posting full or nearly complete articles on CowboysZone. Please limit articles to no more than one paragraph while we work out the details of the new policies. Summaries are fine but again, limit them to one paragraph. No matter which method you use, please include a link to the source article.


  2. Cowboy Brian

    Cowboy Brian Augmented. Zone Supporter

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    How about this idea:

    Post a topic, only including a link to the source and install a mod that when hovering over the link it opens up the site in a previewtype screen, therefor the site gets there view and ad money, and you dont have to go through the hassle of leaving the page, coming back to the page and then posting a reply. There are surly mods for VB that allow for page previews on links that you hover over. This solution surely is not the best one, but it is an acceptable one IMO.
  3. LeonDixson

    LeonDixson Illegitimi non carborundum

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    To paraphrase Shakespeare the 1st thing we do is kill all the lawyers! :D
  4. Reality

    Reality Administrator Staff Member

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    That may be something we look at ..

  5. Cowboy Brian

    Cowboy Brian Augmented. Zone Supporter

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    Awesome, I don't think discussing a article is off limits right? so that shouldn't really cause any problems.
  6. Reality

    Reality Administrator Staff Member

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    Absolutely not .. just the posting of the full articles cause an issue.

  7. Cowboy Brian

    Cowboy Brian Augmented. Zone Supporter

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    alrite so then that solution does make sense. Hopefully you can find a better longterm one, maybe a partnership with a news place, and something like flagging all topics with content from them ads that support then comeup or something.
  8. ZeroClub

    ZeroClub just trying to get better

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    Thanks for all you do!
  9. utrunner07

    utrunner07 Well-Known Member

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    Amen and amen.
  10. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    Because I don't know if this was made explicitly clear, DMN content can now be posted again on the Zone.

    And I just wanted to add, this will be as big a change to the staff as it will be to the members, so we would really appreciate everyone's patience as we transition to a new way of doing business.
  11. burmafrd

    burmafrd Benched

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    Ol Will knew what was coming 300 years ago.
  12. Gemini Dolly

    Gemini Dolly Well-Known Member

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    To be clear, because I enjoy posting articles from other sources.

    I cant post the full article with the link at the bottom??

    But, I can post a few lines from the article and then a link??

    Or can I no longer post anything from the article and just summarize and provide a link??
  13. WoodysGirl

    WoodysGirl U.N.I.T.Y Staff Member

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    You can post a few lines from the article with a link...OR...provide a summary with a link.

    Whole articles will not be allowed anymore.
  14. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    We always want a link from now on and no full article. Either a snippet, or a paraphrase of your own making.
  15. theogt

    theogt Surrealist Zone Supporter

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    Thought this might be the issue. No big deal having to click a link to read an article, IMO.
  16. CowboyFan74

    CowboyFan74 Cowboys Analyst

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    Yeah I just want the cliff notes anyways..:D
  17. Phoenix

    Phoenix Well-Known Member

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    Well written Reality!

    Hope you didn't have that excellent write-up copyrighted, because I reposted all over the internet :D
  18. Hostile

    Hostile The Duke

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    That was funny.
  19. Doomsday101

    Doomsday101 Well-Known Member

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    This should make for some good bantering as people will be accused of cherry picking parts of the article they agree with. :D
  20. Joe Realist

    Joe Realist No Kool-Aid here!

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    This is all Brett Favre's fault.

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