I used to fear that people would share my paid courses forward, without their friends paying for it.
I would try to lock down my content, putting password protections on it, and making people feel badly if they even considered sharing my paid content.
One day, I realized that those protections were futile.
Most people are honest and honorable, and shouldn't be made to feel like suspects. And the very few who might share my paid content with people who didn't pay for it, are going to find clever ways that I cannot prevent. Plus, karma always eventually comes around.
Also I noticed something interesting:
Every ounce of energy I put towards fear of theft/piracy was at the same time stifling my creativity.
The primary thought underlying the fear of content-theft is this:
"I am a limited creator. I’m only able to produce a few worthwhile things in my life, so I better protect the little creativity that I've got."
This is a lie, manufactured by our fearful egos, and perhaps reinforced by others in our circle.
Instead, I believe the truth to be this:
You are an unlimited genius in your field of expertise and passion.
If you have energy for a topic, you have the potential to generate unlimited ideas. There is a well of creativity within you that cannot be exhausted. If you've ever written a single sentence in your life, you have an inborn ability to create and that ability can grow.
Once you learn to consistently tap into your muscle of creativity, you’ll have more ideas than you know what to do with.
Today, I have many more video/blog ideas than I have time to create.
I have more course topics than I have time to teach.
If you need help growing your Ideas/Creativity muscle, consider practicing the “idea machine” exercise.
Unlimited Creativity is what no one can take or steal from you.
On the other hand, when you are in a fearful state of “protecting content” you are also stifling your creativity. (It's different with physical items, which by its nature are limited, and makes sense to be cautious with. Ideas are intangible, however, and can always grow beyond physical limitations.)
Interestingly, once I put my attention to creating more and better content, instead of protecting, I also started to attract more loyal clients, students, fans.
These wonderful audience members were more likely to care about my business’s well-being, and therefore less likely to pirate my content anyway, and more likely to encourage friends to buy my products. It seems that a generous stance attracts other generous people.
You generate a lot of goodwill when you liberate your mindset about content and commit to creative generosity.
By contrast, a fearful stance attracts more situations to fear.
So always remember: there’s no need to fear its theft, because content and creativity are unlimited.
Around the same time that I made this decision (2014), I was experiencing a shift in consciousness / my relationship to spirituality.
I became deeply aware of the Eternal Security that I now believe is the real foundation for all of us.
Here’s what I came to believe:
We are forever taken care of. We are inevitably on a path towards greater Good, despite the seeming ups and downs of life. We are always guided by a Wisdom and Love that will never abandon us, no matter what we do or how we fail.
Therefore, there is no need to fear, not ever.
I believe that we are being called to become more creative and generous through our content. By following that calling, we become better people and contribute to creating a wiser world.
I made the decision to put all my free content — all my videos and blog posts — into the Creative Commons. I choose the “CC0” license (No Rights Reserved) wherever possible. This means anyone can re-use or re-purpose any of my content, without needing to give me any credit nor attribution.
That means you are welcome to copy my entire, including all its blog posts, and call it your own, without once mentioning my name.
Of course, if you did that, it would literally be the opposite of authentic business ;-)
The point is that when you share any of "my" ideas or words, you never have to be afraid of forgetting to credit me. When it comes to my content, you are liberated to share anything that resonates with you, anywhere you'd like.
However, putting your content into the Creative Commons is a radical move, and is not necessarily good for everyone to do. You may have other needs or goals.
My purpose is to contribute to the possibility of a world where we can all focus on making ideas better, rather than always needing to claim credit, or be fearful we might have stolen someone else’s ideas. (Since we don’t live in that world yet, I try to give credit whenever I am conscious of using someone idea. However, in my own content I don’t want to give that burden to others.)
Speaking of giving credit, my original inspiration for making this bold move with liberating my content was Leo Babauta who has uncopyrighted his content and books since 2008.
Similarly, I’d like you to feel free to use or improve on any of my content. You don’t have to wonder whether you made it “unique enough” to call it yours. Whether or however you modify “my” content, you are free to publish it under your name.
May we collectively and diligently work to keep making better content, and thereby contribute to humanity’s progress more quickly, ease suffering sooner, and grow beyond our limitations.
George Kao is a Marketing Coach for small business owners, especially solopreneurs such as Coaches and Mentors. He focuses on ethical & effective ways to grow one's platform and build true livelihood.
All content on this website is Creative Commons CC0 license -- No Rights Reserved. Feel free to use or repurpose it however you like!
Here's why :)