Imagine this scenario: you’re a hobbyist photographer who snaps a breathtaking photo of a sunset. You then upload it to one of Reddit’s many image-based subreddits. And then someone who runs a popular Twitter account decides to download your photo and then re-upload it to Twitter without including any attribution to you. It starts generating hundreds of retweets. From there, it gets re-aggregated to Instagram, Tumblr, and Pinterest, where it’s seen by millions of people. Meanwhile, you, the content creator, receive no credit for the work, much less any form of compensation.
Scenarios like the one described above occur on a daily basis. In an era when so much creative IP — from images to text to music to video — is a simple right click away from being downloaded and redistributed, it’s incredibly difficult for content creators to maintain control of their work, and some would argue that this has led to a devaluation of creative content.
Jarrod Dicker is one of the people making this argument. And he should know, since he’s devoted most of his career to thinking about how to squeeze more value out of content. Dicker headed up the product team at Huffington Post and later took on similar roles at Time Inc and RebelMouse. Most recently, he was leading innovation and product development at The Washington Post, which has made vast technological strides since getting acquired by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.
But then, to the shock of all his colleagues, Dicker announced in February that he was leaving this prestigious gig to serve as CEO for a company called Po.et. “The Post was great because we had investments and diversified revenue,” he told CJR when asked why he decided to leave. “But it just feels like most people still aren’t looking at the real issues and how to fix them.”