PowerPoint presentations take hours to create - about an hour a slide, I have found.  When I am asked to put on a training session these days or make a presentation at a conference, I am essentially required to release rights to the presentation for any one to look at or use.  Sometimes when I look for stuff on the web, I am referenced by my own presentation!  When I started in this crazy business we used overheads and 35mm slides and there was no way for people to get copies.  It's really convenient for attendees to be able to download and look at presentations at their leisure, but there should be a way to limit the use of the material.  Does anyone have any suggestions on how that might be done?  Converting to PDF makes it more difficult to copy, but certainly not impossible.

Tags: Powerpoint, presentations

Views: 252

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Paul - We know what you mean.  Lately, our presentations are a mixed media show and PowerPoint is only part of the information/education.  So, it won't help anyone to see the slides without seeing the entire presentation.  In those cases, we say 'no' to sharing because we don't want some of the info to be taken out of context with the other, supporting info.  Our presentations are "a system".... sound familiar? 

Brothers and Sisters

when it comes to education... I say "CopyLeft"

give credit to the source and SHARE

Building Science Corporation is very generous with their material...

and they still manage to make a living

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5JkHBC5lDs

You can post it on Google Docs.

Its free.

It lets you limit viewing to only those email addresses you invite and it lets you prevent downloads and printing. Online viewing only. 

The problem for presenters is with the hosts such as ACI and others. They require a PPT copy in advance and they distribute same to attendees.  I have no issue with attendees reading and printing it for there personal use. but theres nothing to prevent the attendees from redistributing it and re-copying it (pirating it).

One of our most important jobs as trainers is to share knowledge. And this sharing is the hallmark of our times. And those trainers who are the most respected seem to be the most generous. Yet it can be painful to watch your carefully-crafted slides and other handouts disappear into the hands and hard-drives of strangers who may well pirate the stuff and then turn around and use it for personal gain.

But I've watched my stuff get distributed informally like this for years, and I'm not sure that it has ever done any damage to me or my associates. I have often sat in the back of the room at well-known conferences and watch as one of my slides after another pops up "mistakenly" in the slide shows of people who should know better. I guess the piracy should be flattering, so I try to take it with a sense of humor, because in the end this leakage of intellectual property has never really hurt me.

BUT -- I offer this advice to those who would like to add a thin layer of protection to their intellectual property.

  • Produce all your slides and handouts as PDFs in the lowest resolution that still gives you the quality you need.
  • Add Acrobat security to the PDF, choosing settings that prevent printing and extraction of images.
  • Put your name and a copyright on every slide and page.
  • Add add statement in the front-matter of your document asking people not to steal it for personal gain. 

Then you can rest your head on your pillow at night knowing that you've at least tried to protect yourself. And if someone still insists on using your stuff without authorization, inform them nicely that -- just like their mother probably told them --it's not nice to steal things.

Contact me anytime if you questions about the security of Acrobat documents.

Paul, you said, "when I am asked to put on a training." This makes it sound like you are funding your curriculum development out of your own resources and giving away free lectures. We sometimes develop content on speculation (planning to recoup our costs at a later date) and also do some pro bono work from time to time. But more often we get paid by a utility or government agency to develop and deliver some specific content for hire.

In my experience, no client will hire you to deliver a training if they don't get to enjoy the use/re-use of the intellectual property they have paid for. Indeed, where public funds are used, to do otherwise would probably be a misuse of the funds.

If however, your content is self-funded and truly unique, you might try to declare it as "pre-existing intellectual property" when you negotiate a new training contract. Then I agree, it makes sense to take some commercially reasonable steps to copy-protect it (but more like Chris Dorsi than the MPAA).

I think a better approach is to always keep innovating and not worry too much when you see something you thought up being re-integrated by another trainer.

That said, anyone who rips off someone else's work without attribution and passes it off as their own should be ashamed of themselves. We may not be able to send them back to first grade, but we can at least call it what it is when we see it.

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