Browsing articles tagged with " theft"

It Isn’t Stealing, But I Will Respect Your Wishes. That’s the Bad News.

Jan 7, 2011   //   by Karen Lopez   //   Blog, Social Networking  //  3 Comments

Recently Jonathan Kehayias blogged about his attempts to use a script posted to another blog and the impact the use of a common anti-plagiarism/copying  technique had on his feelings about the SQL Community.  In Has the SQL Community Lost It’s Focus, Jonathan writes:

Now I am all for protecting your content, but if you are going to blog code it should be reusable without an abusive message like this.

We don’t know if the original blogger intended for the code he posted to be reused or not, as he did not mention that in his post.  But the anti-plagiarism/copying message seems to indicate that he considers all copying from his blog, be it one letter or the whole post to be theft.  I won’t copy the message here, but it says that any copying is theft and plagiarism…in not a nice way.  Copyright and plagiarism are two different concepts, although people tend to think of them together.  At the highest level, plagiarism is using pre-existing material (even material you wrote yourself) without proper attribution; copyright is a right granted to creators or publishers to control how their material is used.

Data "My-ning"

Knowing the blogger, I’m betting that he intends for items he shares on his blog to be used to spread good practices…anywhere.  He probably doesn’t want people taking his writing and pretending it is their writing, though.  Which is most likely why he has put such a harsh message in is script that “protects” his intellectual property.  I do understand there has been a rash of plagiarism itching through the SQL Community lately.  It makes me mad and sad that people can’t be bothered to do their own work.  I have paid consequences for standing up to plagiarizers and I don’t regret that for a minute.  Personally, I think the words “Take Down Notice” ought to refer the person who plagiarized, not the website where it was done.  This post, though, isn’t about the blogger; it’s about the anti-plagiarism practice that Jonathan blogged about.

I’ve had the same reaction as Jonathan had when I attempted to excerpt a snippet from another blogger’s content.

Fair Use/Fair Dealing

I am confident that my use of third party content is well within the bounds of fair use / fair dealing. I’m not a lawyer, but I do spend time on legal committees and have learned a bit about IP law and Copyright law, in hopes that I can be seen as a contributor to the communities I write about.

Even though fair use means that NO permissions are required prior to making use of the the material, when I see these "stealing" words in the content I want to write about, I almost always cancel the blog post.  If the original writer actually feels that ANY use of their material is stealing, I want to respect that.  Again, that’s not part of copyright law; it is trying to respect what the original writer feels about others quoting from and writing about their blogs.

Yes, I am well aware that other bloggers outright take an entire blog post and repost as their own work.  That’s not what I’m talking about here.   What I’m hoping bloggers will do is ensure that their anti-copy scripts/tools/doodads give notification that they will enforce their copyrights for uses that exceed copyright or plagiarism rules so that those of us who are concerned about both legal and community rules (etiquette) can write about each others’ posts.

If your doodad automatically accuses everyone of theft and plagiarism you could be calling your best marketers those names. Is that what you really want?  Do you really want the social side of the community to stop talking about your blog posts in a meaningful way? 

I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to find an outstanding blog post, get started writing about what a great point is makes, only to have to abandon it because the author thinks that any use is theft.  Please take a moment to review what messages you may have posted to your site or these fancy scripts and see if they send the message you really want to say to the 99% of the people who do play nice with your content.


24 Sept 2012: updated to add more related articles shared with me today. I also fixed a formatting issue with the headings.

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