Facebook has launched a Rights Manager tool to help monitor and protect copyrighted content on the social media network. The main focus of the discussion is “freebooting,” in which videos are easily ripped from the content creators and shared by Business Pages to grow their own online audiences to the loss of the original sources. People can use the administrative tool to upload videos to Facebook that they don’t want others using. It then scouts for copies of those protected videos, and if one is found, the tool can automatically report them as violations or can simply notify the original uploader. It can also maintain a whitelist of Pages that are permitted to use a person’s copyrighted content.
Parties interested in trying out the Rights Manager can apply to get access to the dashboard. No word yet from Facebook when the administrative system will get a broader release.
At first glance, this isn’t an obvious musical development. But the comparisons between Facebook’s Rights Manager and YouTube’s Content ID programs are obvious and point to the broader consequences of this initial action by the social media company. So far, Facebook’s efforts in music have been on the tentative side, with recent explorations of native audio posts with NPR and Deezer. It has also had connections with Spotify in the past, which were recently reignited in the Facebook Messenger app. If the company wanted to expand its rights management tool into the audio space, it could certainly make that shift. And with the built-in audience of many billions who actively use the social service and its peripheral apps (Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp), a decision to pull the trigger on music could very quickly put it on the same footing as the current frontrunners in streaming.
In July 2015, the social business said it had “no plans” to enter the music streaming space. Perhaps not right now, at least.