I don’t know about other bloggers but I was really irked when those “RSS Feed” blogs used my posts rampantly without the common courtesy of including a credit line or a link. Some of these irresponsible blogs even credited my posts to someone else. I once wrote to a site owner via his comment box – since there is an absence of a “contact us” – saying that it is all right to use my post, however, I would appreciate that the correct authorship be reflected and not the pseudonym he/she used. To my chagrin, he/she chose to close down the entire comment section the very next day.
Do you consider this as ignorant or malicious? Is this sheer disregard of copyrights? Ignorance is not bliss but people are at least willing to shrug their shoulders and forgive those who err unknowingly. People tend to be less forgiving to those who plagiarize intentionally. Some blog owners cannot be said to be bloggers. Their intention of having a blog is to make money from advertisers and advertising brokers. To fill the blog with content and thereby attract quality traffic and eventually make the sales, they intentionally plagiarize by using multiple web feeds.
What Lillie Ammann said in her blog is absolutely right, just because it is online doesn’t mean it is in the public domain for anyone to reproduce at his or her pleasure. All information – from copy, graphics, images and photographs – are intellectual property and they belong to someone. They cost nothing to read and even write about but that doesn’t give anyone the right to reproduce at will Even though most bloggers would not mind their posts published elsewhere with proper authorship and links being provided, it is still polite to seek permission. It could be that the timing isn’t appropriate. This is very well explained by Travelinoma who commented in Jeanne Dininni‘s post. Whether you chose to reproduce the entire article or a portion of it, the original writer has the right to ask you to bring it down – even if you have included all the appropriate credits and links. It’s simple, he or she owns that intellectual property.
Laura Spencer has compiled an excellent copyright resources that every blogger should refer to for copyright information. I will encourage those who have similar experience to check out that site.
Am I offended that my post are being used? Not if proper credits and links are given. Not if they wait a week or two. Not if they have no malicious intentions. However, it will still be very nice if anyone who wants to reproduce my post to advise me in advance; I would like to meet and make a new friend. In fact, this is how I gained a new friend in Bokjae. He liked my “Sex in Advertising” post and he told me his intention to blog about it at his excellent blog.
I’m thankful to writers like Lillie Ammann and Jeanne Dininni who have shared their thoughts and experience on blog plagiarizism. Their posts are a great resource where I can direct anyone who asks us to outrageously “model” others’ online intellectual properties. BTW, whatever is discussed above is applicable in the off-line world too.