Protecting Your Content From AI: A Contrarian View

Mark Schaefer
10 min readSep 13

There has been a flurry of panicked posts about protecting your content from AI. There have been lawsuits, probes, and new software that prevents sites like ChatGPT from accessing your content from being absorbed into large language models. Within 14 days of the availability of code that can prevent AI data scraping, nearly 20% of the top 1,000 websitesin the world began using it.

What should you and your business do? Should you keep AI away?

My advice today might seem counterintuitive. Maybe when AI comes to suck up your content, you should say, “suck away.” Actually, we need to come up with a better phrase than that. But you know what I mean.

Let’s pause, take a deep breath, and rationally examine the issue of protecting your content from AI in the context of your future business success.

Acknowledging complexity

First, I must acknowledge that this is an insanely complex and evolving issue. The legal, ethical, and economic considerations for large enterprises, newspapers, movie studios, and other media companies are unique.

When it comes to protecting your content from AI, any individual artist, author, or other creator may disagree with me, and I honor their right to make their own decisions.

My post today specifically aims at content creators, entrepreneurs, and businesses trying to rise above the noise and achieve business benefits from their content marketing.

The bottom line is, I believe that more business benefits will accrue to you by NOT protecting your content from AI, even if it is copyrighted. To understand why, let’s begin by reviewing an important content marketing philosophy …

Unleash your content

Here is a fundamental truth: The economic value of content that is not seen and shared is zero.

Chances are you’re working hard to create amazing content. You post on social media and engage with fans to build your audience. All good. Now, your job is to get that content to move through your audience and beyond, and that means focusing on content transmission (This strategy was the subject of my book The Content Code).

Mark Schaefer

Keynote speaker, marketing strategy consultant, Rutgers U faculty and author of 10 books including KNOWN, Marketing Rebellion, and Belonging to the Brand!