Wednesday, February 04, 2009

stick 'em up

Crime stalks the halls of blogdom.

No back-alley mugging this. No, sirree, Bob. This is theft with an electronic edge.

No Pink Panther. No Saint. Just a sleazy mind with a lap top and the limited intellectual talent to copy and paste.

The electronic era has played havoc with copyright laws. Prior to Chester Carlson's electrostatic glass rod, reproducing material from a book was prohibitively expensive. Then came the copier. The video camera. And the copier with its bunny-like reproductive system.

And that brings us to this episode of law and disorder. Fellow blogger
Nancy has been virtually rolled. Or, more accurately, her blog has.

Her fancy blog program (apparently, far better than the rudimentary tools this program provides) allows her to check on unusual usage patterns. Jane Marple has nothing on her. She tracked down a miscreant, who had the audacity to copy her blog content, and then claim it as his own. Exactly the type of behavior prohibited by copyright law -- and just plain old-fashioned Emily Post etiquette.

A friend of hers, Jennifer of
MexScape, discovered that some of her posts and photographs had also been lifted. Jennifer tells a good tale. Take a look at her post. I was most impressed with her creative way of fighting back against this 21st century version of Blackbeard -- and that is a polite term for this behavior.

This once again raises the question of ownership of blog material. Almost everybody I know who blogs spends a good deal of time putting together posts. I cannot really say my posts are my children. (Yes. I know. "They look just like their father.") But they are personal enough that I would be a little angry if someone lifted my words.

I have been pleased when some of my colleagues have asked permission to use something I have written. But having it show up on another site unbidden is a bit like seeing a relative's head piked on Tower Bridge.

On the other hand, I do not feel that way about my photographs. If I could capture images as well as
John Woods or Billie Mercer, I might feel differently.

The bottom line is that the thief Nancy encountered was using the material on a website that flogs condos -- among other things. My Daddy said there are some people you just do not need to lend your name to. And he was right.


Calypso said...

I find my photos and words in the oddest places - some seem to just need words filled? I too have the exotic checking system ;-)

That written I could care less who steals what - it isn't like I am getting paid for this - in a way it broadens readership ;-)

What I do make an effort to prevent and abhor is when people steal your materials and merely link to your site meaning your server is hosting for someone else.

We pay for bandwidth. I have had to expand mine several times over the years. I resent having to pay for someone else using my photos or words.

I had one Japanese company 'steal' a photo of a pan with chili seco in it. They were selling the same pan - I wrote over the photo that the pan was junk and the sellers were crooks - left it on there for a time - they stopped using the photo - go figure ;-)

Nancy said...

Steve, I have my blog registered at Technorati. They calculate a blog's rating by calculating the blogs that link to it. Just a way to keep track of how you're doing, really.

Here's a link to the info on how it rates blogs.

For example, my rating is 199,021. It's kind of fun to keep an eye on it and that's where I saw the thief had linked to me.

There are plenty of thieves out there though who wouldn't link...they would just copy your content and paste it elsewhere. That's why randomly checking some sentences from your posts in Google would uncover anyone who had stolen your content.

Obviously it's a complicated world out there!

Islagringo said...

I occassionally find a photo of mine on somebody else's website. People love la Isla and I think the temptation to steal a picture is just too great for them. The latest offender was actually from your state. I put a disclaimer up on my blog that all pictures belong only to me, but what's a fella to do? I wish people would play nicely.

Steve Cotton said...

Islagringo -- Oregonians are beguiled by bright shiny objects -- especially, those rare ones in the sky. Can't resist.

glorv1 said...

It doesn't really matter if you have a disclaimer or (c) or whatever, if they want it, they take it. That's the way it is when everything is open to the public. Have a great day.

Steve Cotton said...

Gloria is correct. Thieves are thieves. They steal from books. They steal from musicians. They steal from each other. We should not be surprised that they steal from our blogs.

I often use the analogy of a bicycle. If I leave it parked on the sidewalk in front of my house, should people feel free, because it is in public, to appropriate it for their own use? I am shocked at the people who say yes. If that attitude is growing, we may as well pack up our moral kit bags, and just leave the stage.

Babs said...

I'm with Calypso - I could care less if someone uses my blogs somewhere else - for goodness sake it's not rocket science, it's just for fun, isn't it? Heck, unlike you Steve, I just sit down and write spending no time in preparation......and in my case it shows! Ha......yours are always flawless, but isn't it just for fun?

Steve Cotton said...

Babs -- My blog is almost exclusively for fun. But it also represents my work. Most of what I write is hardly the stuff that would be pilfered.