You Ask, I Answer: Why Have Content Statements?

In today’s episode, Rebecca asks why I include content authenticity statements in my newsletter. I explain the two key reasons – transparency builds trust with readers, and clearly stating what content is mine strengthens my copyright claims. Tune in to hear more about how these statements reinforce trust and protect your work in an AI world.

You Ask, I Answer: Why Have Content Statements?

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In today’s episode, Rebecca asks, “Why do you have content authenticity statements in your newsletter?”

This is a really good question because very few people are doing it. And it probably looks a little bit strange.

The reason for it is twofold:

One, transparency is the currency of trust. I’ve said this since 2007. The more transparent you are, the more trustworthy you are, because people invariably understand if you’re sharing something and explaining something about what you’re doing, you come across as not hiding anything, right? That I wrote x percentage of this newsletter and AI wrote x percentage of this newsletter and you can decide for yourself how comfortable you are with that.

And it’s especially important when the numbers change, right? Some weeks, it’s 100% of the newsletter that is mine, that was not in some way manipulated by AI. And some weeks 25% of it is mine. So those content authenticity statements help people understand really the outputs and what we’re doing with them.

The second thing, the second reason that you should do this, is legal reason. And Sharon Torek, who I saw at the Marketing AI conference this past July, confirmed this in her session about the laws around gendered AI. Fundamentally, if you want to exert a copyright claim, you have to disclaim things that are not yours, right?

So if you, she was saying, if you do a collaboration with somebody and you write the book and they do the art, you must disclaim the art because you didn’t do it, somebody else did. So that copyright for that art is held by that person. Machines cannot hold copyright. AI cannot claim copyright on anything. Copyright is exclusively the domain of humans.

So in my newsletters, part of the content authenticity statement is disclaiming the things that are not mine, which means not claiming the things that a machine did, which reinforces the rest of my claims, right? It reinforces what I can claim as mine, what I can exert copyright protection over, what I could sue someone for if they violated my intellectual property rights.

If you don’t have authenticity statements about your content, then the burden of proof is on you to say, “Well, this I made this, I did not make this.” Now it may be simple to do or it might be enormously complicated, depending on your organization.

If you get in the habit of having those content authenticity statements, then it becomes very clear what you are essentially laying claim to. If I say 95% of the newsletter is made by me the human, I am effectively saying 95% of this newsletter is copyrighted to me. And therefore, you can’t reuse it, right? Because legally, you can reuse something generated by a machine because there is no copyright attached to it.

And so exerting your copyright claims is easier if you have been disclosing all along what is and is not machine generated.

So that’s the other reason I do it – transparency and enforceability of copyright. Whether or not you choose to do this in your own publications, that is up to you. I’m not saying there’s a right way or a wrong way. I’m saying there’s the way that I’m tackling it. And it’s up to you and the qualified legal professionals that you work with to decide what the best approach is for you.

I am not a lawyer. I don’t even play one on social media. I cannot give legal advice that’s worth anything. So talk to your legal team about what makes the most sense for you.

But consider that disclosure and claiming what is yours, and disclaiming what is not yours, is not a bad strategy just in general, right? It’s not a bad strategy because it helps you reinforce your claims.

So that’s the show for today. Thank you for your question. I’ll talk to you soon. If you’d like this video, go ahead and hit that subscribe button.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


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