FairShare, a new site launching today in private beta, is looking to help bloggers keep track of their content online. The free service allows users to specify what kind of Creative Commons distribution license they’ve previously assigned to their material, and uses a vast index of the web to see where their content has been distributed and how it has been used. TechCrunch readers can grab one one of 1,000 invites by going here and entering the code “TechCrunch”.
In many ways FairShare is a toned-down version of Attributor (an enterprise-grade web service that helps large media companies search the web for copyright infringement). The two services share the same massive and frequently-updated index of the web, which claims to search 35 billion pages. But while Attributor features a suite of analytics options suited for large companies like the Financial Times and CondéNet, FairShare is a bit more bare-boned, offering a listing of every post that includes your content along with the number of words copied, the percentage of the original article copied, and Yes/No indicators describing if the blog is following the license rules you’ve set.
Getting started with FairShare is straightforward. After entering the URL of your blog’s RSS feed, FairShare will ask for the type of Creative Commons license you’ve assigned to your content (the most common of which will be the ‘Attribution’ license, which requires that other blogs link back to your article whenever they’ve quoted it). The system will then automatically monitor its large index of websites, flagging any sites that have included your content and indicating whether they’ve abided by the license you’ve set.
The service will appeal to two very different groups of people. Established bloggers can use FairShare to see where their content has been copied without attribution, and can respond accordingly. On the other end of the spectrum, fledgling bloggers can use the system to see how their content is being distributed and can use that information to form relationships with other blogs or change the focus of their writing to appeal to their audience. It sounds like FairShare is hoping to appeal more to the latter set – while it will help bloggers find possible cases of copyright infringement, VP of Marketing Rich Pearson says that it’s unlikely that the site will ever offer any tools to help them request take downs.
It will be nice for bloggers to easily look up when other sites are reposting their content, but I doubt many of them will have time to hunt down any offenders, and it’s already fairly easy to tell who is linking to your site using trackbacks. Still, the site’s future plans are promising: FairShare plans to eventually introduce a revenue-sharing system that would allow sites that have distributed their content under appropriate licenses to get a cut whenever their material is published elsewhere.