Copyright is not the right to copy.

Jun
20
2008

Pirate Flag!

The Web is wonderful it’s full of all this content, all this information. It’s a copy writer or blogger’s dream. You just don’t have to do any work at all. It’s all laid out there for you, all you have to do is find it and take it.

Maybe just write a small introductory paragraph and then simply cut and paste the rest of the article you have found and publish. Easy!

Oh isn’t the web great. It allows such theft of someone else’s work. It’s fine to do isn’t it as the poor suckers put the information online so we could steal it… NO STOP IT!

Now I know we have various scrapers and SEO blackhats that just love to steal real content of the legitimate source. It’s a problem we all deal with on a daily basis. Then you get the various slack web site owners, gutter bloggers or copy writers that insist on copying content word for word.

Professional Bloggers Go Bad

You would think that this wouldn’t be happening in the world of the professional blogging. Yes the people that get paid to write and research original content. Surely they wouldn’t be just cut and pasting. Surely they have ethics. Surely they are not bringing the entire professional blogging community down.

Well this week I ran into a major incident from a group of people promoting themselves as professional bloggers that are knowingly stealing content. We don’t have one or two instances here, but a stunning amount, all attributed to a professional who didn’t write them. It’s not like these people are new to the industry, they come from an established professional culture where copyright is a constant issue.

It’s an interesting fact that these professional bloggers should be aware that they are now liable (I would assume, usually legal disclaimer) to pay the original author royalty payments. I would normally name names here and shame them, but I have been asked to remain silent on who and where as the issue is dealt with.

The Right Thing to do

Now I just shouldn’t have to say this.

When you are looking for content for your blog or web site don’t copy it from elsewhere. Fine you can quote sections. That’s sections like a sentences, a paragraph or two, make sure you attribute the source, not the entire article. It’s acceptable to get inspiration from the content, or summarise it. But don’t copy it. It’s against the law. Go have a look at Meg Tsiamis’ Copyright and Plagiarism on Blogs.

Don’t go saying it’s okay under the terms of fair use as blogging is just news reporting. We are not talking about a part of an article here, but the entire article word for word.

Stop It!

Remember we still have the Australian Copyright Act (and others elsewhere), in which once it is published it is automatically copyrighted, copyright notice or not.

What about creative commons, isn’t that just an open licence to reuse it as you like. Well no, go read up on creative commons there is a range of licences. Creative Commons basically:

….provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.”

This still doesn’t give someone the right to resell and rip the author off completely.

So what would you do with these professional bloggers that are getting paid to steal other peoples content and resell it as their own.

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1 comment

  1. Hi Gary,
    I have been trying to teach my students about this because they tend to think, someone has put it on the web, everyone can see it, so I can copy it and use on my blog. In particular this is with photos, but it is hard to find any website that includes this information written in an easy format for younger students grade 6/7 to understand easily. Can you recommend anywhere as I would like to write a post about it for them to read?

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