UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

Sites Which ‘Rip Off’ Marketing Videos

Posted by Brian Kelly on 16 May 2008

A few months ago there was an email message sent to a national list from a member of a UK University institutional Web management team who complained that “We’ve come across an outfit calling themselves Unitour who have ripped one of our marketing videos“. The message went on to add that the institution had requested that the video was removed from the site – and it seems that this has been done. The Web site in question is Unitour and they do indeed have a video tour guide of UK Universities – from which it does seem possible to opt out of.

But how should an institution go about ensuring that its marketing videos aren’t ripped off’? Well my suggestion may be regarded as rather radical in some circles – I’d suggest that you provide a Creative Commons licence for such videos and encourage people to reuse it. After all, we are talking about marketing materials. And if you are concerned that organisations may be ‘ripping off’ your bandwidth, why not make the video available from YouTube or Google Video – so that your institution doesn’t even have to provide additional bandwidth when potential students view the video.

Is this really a radical proposal, I wonder? Shouldn’t this be an approach which all universities use as part of their institutional marketing?


11 Responses to “Sites Which ‘Rip Off’ Marketing Videos”

  1. Paul Walk said

    Seems like an idea… choosing the right CC license would be important – e.g ‘derivatives’?

  2. dammit kelly, that’s pretty much what i thought when i saw that message on the mailing list, but was too lazy to post.

    it’s a marketing video…be grateful if it’s being distributed, at no extra cost, to an even wider audience. as long as the site redistributing it isn’t claiming ownership and copyright, and the video itself has at least the logo or similar brand mark on it, then it’s free publicity…not theft.

  3. Mike said

    lol. Funny that anyone could even think that it was a problem. And as for going to the effort to get it removed? Hilarious, if a little bit painful.

    But hey, that’s the Marketing dept for you – couldn’t possibly have any content out there that hasn’t been filtered to death via “their” channels… :-)

  4. […] Brian has written a short post about universities actively trying to stop promotional material (yes – promotional material) […]

  5. Les Carr said

    I don’t know the email to which you are referring, but the “Institutional Web Management Team” may not be a marketing outfit. How I wish more Web Management teams were information managers, or Had A Clue. At least information managers can map marketing problems (aka getting our message out) onto a solution space of navigation, indexing and links. SIgh.

    The other problem that Unitours create is that they are not up to date. Our university changed its brand identity (dropped its dolphin logo and swapped fonts) two months ago, and Unitours still have our old home page up. That’s not going to please anyone.

  6. @Les you’re right it doesn’t please us marketing people that it’s out of date, however, that’s easily solved – thanks for the tip ;-)

    As for the issue of ‘ripping’ of content – we’re not so bothered about this, if people want to do our job and promulgate our material for us then good on them! The next round of ‘corporate’ podcasts will have CCL so we’re covered but that’s about all the action we’ll take.

    I guess, it’s a bit like our approach to flickr, YouTube and soon to be lauched streaming of course reviews. I’d rather embrace the creativity that’s going and take a look at the forums people are using than become overly precious and obsessed about someone linking or embedding our material. In fact I’d prefer to have people measurably interacting with our content that passively absorbing it; measurement of social media and brand penetration as a result is a massively hot topic – albeit it outside of the sector.

  7. @Les I’d agree that maintainance of data which is not under centralised control is an issue which needs to be addressed. But I feel that, in many cases, the benefits outweight the disadvantages. And I’m pleased that at the University of Southampton you have a manager of your Web services, Helen Aspell, who is clearly prepared to engage with content which is hosted where the users may be, and not just on in-house servers.

    And note that Helen will be giving a plenary talk on “Web 2.0 and Brand: Theory and Practice” at this year’s IWMW 2008 event in which she’ll be describing the approaches which are being taken at Southampton.

  8. […] recently read with interest Brian’s post on how university marketing departments just don’t get it. Briefly, some have produced promotional videos; an enterprising firm has hosted and promoted […]

  9. I think basically this shows how increasingly unrealistic a demand is being made of our IPR laws, which lets face it where made to service a very different world. Fingers crossed the current Viacom Youtube lawsuit comes out with a reasonable conclusion!

  10. […] conditions, which give them a claim to ownership of content they host. Brian Kelly blogged about similar concerns at another institution, so perhaps this is […]

  11. very nice wordpress blog, i just love the design. some of the artikel i really outstanding..

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