Topic 5 : Free or Not? Fair or Not?


If I were a content producer, I would ponder over the decision to allow my works to be free for use. On one hand, it would be beneficial if people value my work for the effort I have put in by means of paying a fee, on the other, it means gaining widespread recognition and credits from the public without having any restrictions. Form free content means allowing open access of your work to the online world, for anyone and everyone to view and use.

Open Access?


What do content producers achieve from providing free content?


  • Rapid and extensive sharing/downloading of the works of a content producer since it’s easily accessible and available for further research and uses. This raises public awareness and acknowledgement of the author.
  • Enhanced web traffic due to increased recognition of the author by the public.
  • Increased search engine optimization (SEO) due to greater web traffic and people searching for the same content using similar keywords. As a result, the author’s content usually appears on the first few pages of the search engine results.


  • Violation of copyright by readers or users and they would then circulate or dispense the original works by themselves without crediting the original producers.
  • Monetary issues for the authors especially since they do not receive any fees from the public who use their work, thus they instead have to pay or find ways to pay for the publication of their own content.



An example of a drawback, would have to be the copyright infringement made by BuzzFeed writer Benny Johnson. Benny Johnson was thought to be a writer with impressive written works that many readers have come to enjoy. However, he was later discovered to have plagiarized the works of 40 other journalists without crediting or attributing them for their original content inclusive of photos. Since the content were free on the various sites, he decided to lift off them and not cite the product originators. He has since been fired and BuzzFeed was extremely disgraced over his issue. How would the original authors feel having their work unjustly “stolen” under the name of another “well-known” writer. Huge indignation and outrage for sure.


I feel that if the content producer has already achieved some sort of recognition and awareness of his/her previous works it should not be a problem to restrict their latest content for a fee. If readers are really interested or have enjoyed the previous works of that particular author they would not have a problem paying for the quality of the content. Unlike an author who is relatively unknown and has never publicize a piece of work before. These are the people who should allow open access to their content to amass readers, gain recognition and acceptance for their work before deciding if they should restrict their following content for the public.



Corey Eridon. (2012). The Pros and Cons of Form-Free Content (And Which to Choose). Available: Last accessed 11 Nov 2015.

Adam Geib. (2013). Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Access. Available: Last accessed 11 Nov 2015.

Site Administrator. (2007). The Pros and Cons of Offering Free Content Online. Available: Last accessed 11 Nov 2015.

Ben Terris. (2015). Benny Johnson got fired at BuzzFeed. You will believe what happened next.. Available: Last accessed 11 Nov 2015.

Paula Mejia. (2014). Ex-BuzzFeed Editor, Plagiarizer Benny Johnson Hired by National Review. Available: Last accessed 11 Nov 2015.



  1. constancetanpq · November 12, 2015

    Hello Stephanie,

    Interesting Post! 🙂

    I agree that it solely depends on the individual himself/herself – what is his/her motive for adopting an open or closed access and which would be more beneficial to him/her?

    If you’re an aspiring artist, you would probably favour open access. To be a successful artist, you would first need to market yourself. The best approach may be open access, which allows others to recognise and acknowledge your talent. The public will then be more willing to purchase tracks, albums and concert tickets.

    Now, put yourself into the shoes of a famous film series’ director (e.g. Harry Potter). Would you be willing to publish and share your work for free despite devoting 10 years of time and effort to film and produce it? Or charge viewers for a fee?

    If viewers are being restricted and have to purchase the film, majority may tend to download it illegally. What are your views on this? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. YS · November 12, 2015

    Hi Stephanie,
    Thank you for drawing your thoughts in an organized manner. If the author’s aim is to circulate his findings for sharing, I am sure open access system will be more than beneficial in reaching out to students or other individuals. The absence of barrier and the accessible internet will promote the idea of research and innovation through legal citations and viewership.

    On the other hand, I wonder if copyright issues arise due to open access information? Or would it be accounted to the nature of Internet? Although a paywall limits information access to the individuals, it does not stop individuals from not copying the content illegally. Any individual can still duplicate this content and post them online for public viewership (e.g. Music Privacy Issues).


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Topic 5 – Reflective Summary | Constance Tan
  4. Pingback: The evolving needs (Topic 5) | YISHIN

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s