Last week, an otherwise very awesome week ended on a very strange note, as blog content stealing ran rampant. I’m fairly sure this is not what’s meant by The Season of Giving.
First, a new “mom” website, naively filled their entire site with other people’s blog posts in their entirety, sincerely believing (according to their emailed apology to me) that they were under the impression that was tooootally fine as long as they linked back to the original source.
That same day, a major (major) website-slash-search engine which should totally know better, presented a tech holiday gift guide, oddly with every single one of their suggestions straight from the Cool Mom Tech Holiday Guide and without attribution. I’ll give them we weren’t the only ones to recommend a Sony Cybershot for Christmas, but when you get into obscure laptop bags and crocheted Android amiguri dolls from Etsy artists, all signs point to Stolen.
Again, I got sincere, and far more prompt apology from a senior editor, attributing the uncredited “inspiration” to a junior freelancer who clearly got her J-school degree through the mail, from some Eastern Bloc online course.
Of course when some of us raised the issue on Twitter, our fine friends and followers got in on the action, because bloggers don’t like when people steal their shit; and maybe even more so, bloggers don’t like it when people steal other bloggers’ shit.
Two words: Cooks Source.
And yet, there were also people in my Twitter stream honestly surprised to discover that the entire web is not public domain.
Therefore, for those of you that still don’t understand how all this stuff works, I thought I’d put together this handy Blogger’s 10 Commandments of Don’t Steal Our Shit.
1. Stealing is wrong. So don’t steal our shit.
2. What we write here? On our blogs? Our shit. Don’t steal it.
3. As Alice Bradley wisely said, “go write your own shit.”
4. Blogs are not in the public domain. Mathematical formulas are, but blog posts are, most of the time, not mathematical formulas. If we were smart enough to write mathematical formulas, we wouldn’t be here, complaining about people stealing our shit.
5. Copyrighted material is protected by international law. Which is defended by lawyers. Therefore, don’t steal our shit.
6. Stealing shit is so 2008.
7. Stealing our shit hurts writers emotionally, not just financially.
8. Stealing our shit is wrong even on National Content Stealing Day.
(images sent to me via Sean at OStoryStory who is awesome.)
9. See how I credited OStoryStory for that image? That is the definition of not stealing someone’s shit.
10. Please don’t steal our shit. Which isn’t really a commandment as much as a plea for decency, should the first 9 commandments fail to make an impact.
I hope that maybe one person out there finds this helpful.