Like every other major news corporation, the ABC wants users to submit content so they can reuse it as they see fit. I call it slave labour. Their terms and conditions are all about what they expect of you as a user in terms of labelling your content for their editorial convenience. There’s something missing from their lame proposition: incentive. They state:

In contributing to ABC News Online you agree to grant us a royalty-free, non-exclusive licence to publish and otherwise use the material in any way that we want, and in any media worldwide. This may include the use of your photos or video on ABC television, transmission of the material by our overseas partners and syndication to our Australian content partners.

Here’s the insulting bit:

You still own the copyright to everything you contribute to ABC News. If your photo(s) and/or video is accepted, we will endeavour to give you credit on publication, should you require it and where it is practical to do so.

What a lame, half-hearted statement. “We’ll give you a credit maybe if it’s convenient for us, but we probably won’t” is what this really says. A basic acknowledgement of my copyright and intellectual property rights as the creator of the content would be nice. It should be standard practice. However, the upload form does not have a box to tick that says:


I’ve said it before: don’t believe the ABC hype. While we pay for it they don’t think we own it. They’re wrong. The ABC has ambitious social media plans but these will fail unless they change their us vs them worldview. They should start by offering credit where credit is due.

how not to do social media – the ABC’s user generated content terms and conditions are a joke

4 thoughts on “how not to do social media – the ABC’s user generated content terms and conditions are a joke

  • 19 April 2009 at 8:59 am

    You ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait until News launces The punch. It will rewrite the book on this.

    • 19 April 2009 at 10:55 am

      Do you have an interest or involvement in The Punch to declare? For those who don’t know, read Mumbrella on The Punch. Like other sad News Ltd online ventures, such as Whereilive, it will be lame. They can keep on building more sites to get more hits to place more ads, but they will eventually see that online advertising is a failed business strategy, and collapse. Their mission has never been to publish quality news, but rather to make money from ads, so they don’t know what to do in the new media environment.

  • 1 June 2009 at 3:57 pm

    The ABC has form on this. I took a photo of Clem Jones (former Brisbane Lord Mayor) and put it under Creative Commons and when he died the ABC used it without crediting me. They did take it down as soon as I emailed them but it’s a sign that the ABC thinks just like the rest of the MSM in many cases. Imagine how much enthusiasm they’d generate if they promised full credit for all user-generated content

    • 1 June 2009 at 4:15 pm

      Agreed. What I find most confusing are the different terms and conditions for UGC across different ABC sites.


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