An Illustrative Hoax

View of the Facebook logo taken in Washington on May 10, 2012. Facebook, already assured of becoming one of the most valuable
View of the Facebook logo taken in Washington on May 10, 2012. Facebook, already assured of becoming one of the most valuable US firms when it goes public later this month, now must convince investors in the next two weeks that it is worth all the hype. Top executives at the world's leading social network have kicked off their all-important road show on Wall Street -- an intense marketing drive ahead of the company's expected trading launch on the tech-heavy Nasdaq on May 18. AFP PHOTO/MLADEN ANTONOV (Photo credit should read MLADEN ANTONOV/AFP/GettyImages)

A Facebook post making the rounds this week falsely raises concerns about whether the copyright protection policy for the social media site's users is being altered and describes how people can stop it.

While the substance of the post -- now being dubbed a hoax -- is almost comically inaccurate, the episode raises a critical point: At a time when personal and artistic content is just a click away, copyright protection is more important than ever.

The Facebook incident demonstrates that the average Internet user recognizes this fact, especially when they feel their personal content -- photos, videos, ideas, etc. -- is in jeopardy. But it also provides average Internet users with some insight into the point of view of the creators of movies, music or other artistic endeavors whose work has been subject to online theft.

The livelihoods of these innovators depend on strong copyright protection policies so they can benefit from their work and continue to create more of it. Without robust intellectual property protections, innovation has no incentive to thrive.

That's why it's critically important that we continue a collaborative conversation with the tech community about how we can protect an Internet that works for everyone. Protecting the free flow of information online while protecting a creator's rights to his or her hard work -- these are big issues and it's important that they are thoughtfully considered. We all have a stake in getting this right because we all share a belief that innovation is key to our economic future. The studios I represent call them audiences and the tech companies call them users, but giving people the best possible experience is a shared goal because at the end of the day, we all report to the consumer.

Intellectual property and copyright policies are, of course, important to the movie set designer, the lighting assistant, and the costume designer whose paychecks depend on these protections -- but they're also important to the millions of Facebook users around the globe, too. This latest viral post is a great reminder of that.