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Never Content

Two advertisements being played all too frequently on cable tv this season drive me into Bah Humbug mode.

One of them burbles about "the content we produce".

"The content we produce..." said no one who ever Wrote a book, a recipe, a song, or painted a work of art, or wrote a thesis or a government bill (of the white paper kind), or even a legal brief.  When someone asks, "What are you working on?" at an authors group social, no one says, "Content!"

To this seething listener, even that which an advertisement writer writes is not "content". The proper name for what they write is "advertising copy", and for a really well-written explanation of what makes for good advertising copy, read what Studious Guy has to say about it.

Just to take up their collective "we" for a moment, if people who write adverts wrote "content", they would not have to pay for airtime. There are exceptions: the advertisements created for play during a particularly super, all-male sporting championship involving a so-called pigskin. 

By the way, according to Karyn Moyer of AgBlogs, "pigskin" is a polite euphemism for bladder.

In that case, those advertisements become news and entertainment, and are exploited by others for fun and profit.

"Content' is a created meaning of an old word, popularized since the advent of the internet by predators who exploit the work and works of others. 


"Content", depending on where you put the stress, is an adverb or verb for oppressed comfort with the status quo, or acceptance of ones lot, or is a noun.  
Examples in no particular order:
"I am content with my marriage/ the comfortable drudgery of my life/ the limitations that others impose on me"; 
"I content myself with the thought that I could not do better."  
Or,  " is the content of one's character, by which one should be judged adequate or wanting." 
And then, there is its derivative, "Contentment" (noun), "contented" (adjective).
The slop inside a tin/can of processed food is called contents (plural).  Not content (singular).

Other offerings from a dictionary or three:

Satisfy someone

Peaceful happiness (even an easy feeling)

State of satisfaction

Something contained

Acceptance  or assent

On the internet… something "available for download or reading by internet user."

With the exception of a game in which men play with bladders and their like, .... well, I take that back. One can probably find any advertisement on You Tube.

Legal blogger Brian Murphy who writes for Frankfurt Kurnit Klein and Selz PC's fascinating Advertising Law blog, wrote recently about a dispute over content ownership in the case of Miller vs the French Pastry School LLC.

Before your eyes glaze over (pastry pun!!!), authors who seek out a web mistress or web master can extrapolate a valuable lesson.

The business model of The Butterbook  is that subscribers pay just under two hundred dollars a year for access to recipes and baking how-to videos.

They hired Miller in 2016 to "develop content" for their website. Ms. Miller spent two contented years creating indexes and the sorts of matter that web content producers assemble and put into attractive form for websites. She was paid, but they never wrote up a written agreement of who owned whatever might be considered copyrightable.

When Miller and Butterbook fell out, Butterbook demanded all product and an assignment of all rights.  Miller countered with her own offer, and registered copyrights of her work.

Original link:
Lexology link:

For authors who hire website designers, or even who ask a friend to help them, there are differences between an exclusive license and a non-exclusive license. Some working arrangements might create an Implied License, or even joint authorship questions.  Sort it out in writing while you both want to work with one another.

 A question about what is an implied license is currently bubbling with Instagram's new terms of service regarding embedded "content". If the person who uploads a photograph or text does not turn off  the public button, are they thus by their omission giving away their right (or anyone else's right) to claim copyright infringment?  More on that another time.

As for that second advertisement, one of the motor manufacturers appears to be touting the lethal potential of their car as a selling point. It's the ad copy writer's fault, of course.

Oh, well.

All the best,

Rowena Cherry
Space Snark



This post first appeared on Alien Romances, please read the originial post: here

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